One must prioritize proper nutrition, training and scheduling, time management, and sleep hygiene to improve overall health and performance. For me it is crucial to balance all of these critical factors. It takes some work, but with practice you will see incremental gains in your performance.
I use recovery in a structured fashion just as I do interval and load training. Just as a higher training load can affect my overall adaptation, rest and recovery also seems to benefit my performance gains. Hard sessions and tough training weeks means I must be diligent and focus on rest and downtime. Without this balance your body will go into a performance debt and the cost will be your performance at a later time.
Recovery is important if not more important that the miles and training.
My coach has me in mini-training periods after a big race. This gives my body the chance to fully recover before I ramp back up. Taking some easy days are critical to ensure my recovery occurs properly. Thus, permitting me to come back to training after 5 to 10 days off feeling ready and refreshed.
I incorporate foam rolling using a trigger point roll 1 – 2 times per week. Trigger points are those nasty muscle knots that can occur anywhere in your body.
There are two types of trigger points, active and passive. Passive trigger points simply hurt at their exact location on your body. For example, a passive hamstring trigger point will be very painful if someone presses on it. The pain will be felt right where the pressure is applied. An active trigger point transfers the pain to another part of the body. If someone presses on an active trigger point in your neck, you might feel the pain in your chest or arm.
I will foam roll religiously to “iron out” muscles in my upper abs and lower legs. I have found this to be vital and beneficial.
Another integral part of recovery is the importance of protein consumption throughout the day. I have found this to be my most important part for proper muscle recovery. This article in Runner’s World illustrates how protein post workout is vital to maintain and promote muscle repair. Why Protein is Important.
I drink a half of a protein shake made with Cocoa Elite Protein powder, ice cubes, and a half of a banana. I consume this daily and within 30 minutes after my session. This helps my muscles recover and recharge for the next session.
There is much science on how important protein is for athletes. In fact, recent research is also showing as we age we need more protein. So start making it a routine in your life and see for yourself the gains. I prefer whey protein. Here is an interesting study on why using a whey product would be of benefit to the recovery process.
It if critical, especially after after high mileage and marathons. Personally I average between 80 and 100 miles a week and my Whey Protein is vital to my recovery process.
I try to make my protein shake the night before. This also helps eliminate the stress of worrying about make a shake. I use the Cocoa Elite protein powder in ice cream as well! Yum!
My new favorite protein to use is the Cocoa Elite Sleepy Time Recovery protein powder. Twice a week I will mix this into ice cream and eat it before sleep- twice the recovery, sleep and nutrition!
Sleep and Rest
Sleep. You need it and don’t scrimp on getting the proper amount. In fact, there is some research showing that sleep may be more important than the training itself. This article below highlights the importance of sleep and the athlete. Sleep and Athletic Performance.
Another article from The Washington Post shows sleep as a “magic pill”. All the more reason to turn off my phone and rest. I have found my sweet spot is 6.5 hours although I can get by on 6!
I also found that having a good sleep hygiene is important. I try to get to bed at the same time every night and minimize my screen time prior to sleeping. Add in the Sleepy Time Recovery Protein before bed and my muscles will get a double dose of recovery. Additionally, the tart cherry has some sleep enhancing properties.
Here’s to proper recovery so I can be ready to run again.
Alicia Eno is a marathoner and a very accomplished distance runner. She became the 17th person to complete a marathon in every state; she has also completed a sub-four hour marathon in every state, and is the 3rd US woman to complete a Boston Qualifying certified marathon in every state. Alicia has a passion for working with Autistic children.
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