Recovery is essential, especially when going through demanding training cycles. Both your body and mind need a chance to refresh in order to avoid physical and mental training fatigue, help prevent injury and allow you to achieve the best possible results. Rest, recovery and rehab is as important as long runs, brick sessions or strength training and should be factored in to any plan. Here are my go to recovery tips:
Never skip a rest day
The temptation to train and keep building on successes is great, but rest is a vital part of your training plan and you must incorporate it. It is your choice how many rest days you take a week, and this is very personal to your fitness level, the type and volume of training you’re doing and other factors like your home life, career and family. For me two rest days a week are essential. My body needs rest to avoid injuries brought on by tight muscles and my mind sometimes needs a break. Rest days give you a chance to come back stronger and I love the feeling of a big training session on fresh legs.
Have a recovery nutrition strategy
I’m a massive fan of the Science in Sport Rego Rapid Recovery post workout supplement, it is a true game changer and helps my body get the carbs, proteins and minerals it needs post workout. I take this with water for quicker absorption and find it helps with that post training session hunger.
The most underestimated recovery tool. Sleep has been shown to increase athletic performance, boost recovery and improve immune function all of which help promote a happy and healthy body/mind. I aim for eight hours sleep a night and feel much more refreshed and ready to train after a good night’s sleep.
I find that light exercise often helps after a big session, whether that be going for a walk or having a very gentle recovery cycle.
Stretching and foam rolling
As well as seeing a sports therapist there are plenty of ways you can take care of your tired muscles. Stretching and foam rolling are both great ways to prevent injury and soothe tight and tired muscles. I stretch before and after every session using a mix of active and static stretches and foam roll every other night (usually whilst watching Emmerdale!). I also have a little massage ball which is great for getting into awkward places.
Find a good sports therapist
For many sports massage is a vital part of their recovery and I highly recommend factoring some sort of therapy into your training session (usually on rest days). I’m a huge fan of hypervolt treatments and regularly see a my physiotherapist Lewis at Fit2Function in central London who is skilled in sports recovery. Having a good relationship with your therapist is key, be open about your training volume and goals and let them help you, as after all they’re the experts.