Brian Gregg is a member of the CXC Team Vertical Limit. Equipment Sponsors: Salomon skis/boots/bindings, Toko Wax, Polar Heart Rate Monitor, Swix Poles, Rudy Project Eyewear/Helmet, Marwe Rollerskis, Nordic Ultratune Stonegrinding.
Interval, strength and distance training are all good ways to improve, so why not do each every day? Training stresses the body and breaks it down which makes us weaker or tired. We actually become more fit, faster and stronger by allowing ourselves to recover and our cells to rebuild stronger. Recovery is what allows an athlete to improve physically.
Since recovery is such an integral part of training, it is important to plan for it. Recovery doesn’t have to be just when the training effort is over, plan for recovery before, during and after your workout. Incorporate recovery techniques into your everyday routine and utilize them throughout the day.
15 Way to Help Recover
The human body does a great job of recovering on its own. However, there are a number of things you can do that can speed along your recovery and get you feeling great and ready to work hard again.
In addition to improving flexibility and range of motion stretching helps blood flow to your muscles. When you stretch you make small tears in your muscles similar to a hard training session. For this reason I recommend stretching on easier days.
Using your own body weight to massage soft tissue can work well to release tension and improve flexibility. Myofascial release is a great way to recover. Foam rollers come in a variety of firmness, start with a softer roller and work towards a firmer one. An alternative is to use a PVC pipe or rolling pin. Additionally a tennis ball works well to roll the sides of the hip.
Icing your muscles is a wonderful way to reduce inflammation. The cold constricts the blood vessels and when they warm up again it helps to flush your system and remove toxins. An ice pack works well and a cold lake works even better.
Trusty ‘Vitamin I’ works as an anti-inflammatory and can reduce muscle soreness. Beware of overuse though as the drug can be hard on the stomach.
The simplest and greatest way to recover is with a good nights rest. This is the body’s natural recovery method both physically and mentally. Additionally a short 10-20 minute nap can do wonders.
A light ‘feel good’ massage will relax you but a deep tissue sports massage will really loosen you up and help your cells rebuild. Massage can be expensive but by the end of a session you know it is worth it.
Give yourself a break from training/skiing. Many great athletes operate best under a healthy balance of training, work, friends and family. Focus on training when training and then relax between workouts. You can still think about recovery but do other things to help keep the mind fresh and happy. Studies have proven that a happy person is less likely to get sick and recovers more quickly.
Have a light snack and/or recovery drink within 20 minutes of finishing your workout and try to eat a full meal within an hour. Include carbohydrates to replace the fuel you have burned as well as some protein to help your cells rebuild.
An easy walk, jog or spin on the bike is a great way to get the blood flowing. Get out with your friends, family and pets and move around.
The human body is 70-80% water and hydration has a strong correlation to performance. Hydrate well before, during, and after a workout. It can be fascinating to weigh yourself before and after a workout on a hot day to really realize how much water weight you can lose during exercise. Use an electrolyte or sports drink to help replenish your carbohydrate stores simultaneously, particularly during longer workouts. Remember that when you are thirsty you are already dehydrated.
A good soak/sweat can help relax your body allowing you to sleep better. Take advantage of your muscles being warm and stretch them out.
Leg Drain/Head Stand
Relax and put your feet up, preferable above your heart. Reversing blood flow for several minutes helps remove toxins.
A warm shower feels great. Keep your body clean and relaxed. Aroma therapy can go a long ways so invest in some good body wash and shampoo.
Make it easy for your body to stay a comfortable temperature. Dress appropriately when working out and change into try clothes immediately when the workout is complete.
Keep your room and home clean. There is a reason why your workouts clothes smell, bacteria. Hang them to dry as soon as you finish your workout, preferably not in your bedroom where you spend most of your time.
Recover All Day
There are a number of activities that can be done every day to aid recovery. Remember that you can recover all day long. Stretch while you are waiting in line, carry a water bottle and drink a sip often.
Plan for Recovery
An athlete needs to balance recovery at a micro level with hard days and easy days, as well as at a macro level with hard weeks and easy weeks. Most professional athletes take a mandatory rest day every week or every ten days. Taking two rest days in a row can really help to recharge your system. Your body needs time to absorb the hard efforts. Make sure you let your hard work pay off.
There are a lot of fun adventures to be had and don’t be afraid to go hard, but remember to take it easy every once in a while. It will actually make you faster.