When it comes to training plans, gadgets and gear most triathletes can’t get enough. They have spreadsheets and graphs tracking workouts and recipe binders full of entire meals free of gluten and dairy. Unfortunately, there is little thought or effort put into recovery following a workout.
Combat dehydration and fatigue with this recovery protocol designed to minimize muscle soreness, reduce the likelihood of injury, and prepare your body for the next training session.
More: How to Measure Your Recovery
Skipping a good cool down makes it difficult for the body to remove blood lactate from muscles, which increases the likelihood of muscle soreness and swelling.
To cool down, allow the heart rate and breathing rate to return to normal levels following exercise. Walk for a few minutes or engage in static stretching to help reduce stiffness.
When sweat leaves the body valuable nutrients and fluids go with it. Be sure to consume water during and after training sessions. This helps remove waste byproducts from the muscles, prevent dehydration, and promote metabolic function, protein synthesis, and the transfer of nutrients throughout the body.
More: How to Avoid Dehydration on Race Day
Consuming a meal, shake or snack within 60 minutes following a workout will help the body and muscles refuel and repair. Look to include fast digesting carbohydrates like fruit, a protein source and electrolytes in your post-training snack.
Foam Roll or Practice Self-Massage
A foam roller provides the benefits of a sports massage without the hefty price tag. A type of myofascial release, foam rolling can be used to target specific body parts, knots and trigger points to break up scar tissue and fascia that has compromised muscular function.
More: Coach Jenny's 3 Foam Roller Exercises for Athletes
Use RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
For overuse injuries or muscle soreness use the ice pack for 20 minutes, every two to three hours. In between icing, apply a compression bandage, brace or apparel to the desired area. Elevate the injured area above your heart.
Icing and compression techniques can also be applied to help prevent injuries and reduce soreness.
Take Ice Baths
Fill the tub with cold water and a bag of ice. Sit in the waist-deep ice bath for 10 to 15 minutes. This method will help increase blood flow to the iced areas, which will speed healing.
More: 8 Ice Bath Dos and Don'ts