Building a big triathlon base for the upcoming season also makes it easy to tell myself "oh, it's just a little swim, or I'll just take a day off next week" since there's always a discipline to be touched on; not to mention the numerous races where I watch my athletes and end up running around like crazy, even though there's no "official" workout planned for the day. Seriously, marathon spectating is an event in itself-especially in the cold rain!. Anyhow, I digress.
I know technology can quantify recovery progress (a' la Training Peaks), but being a big picture kind of person I'll attempt to qualify based on biased personal experience...
Being the "woman of science" that I am (ok that's an exaggeration, but let's go with it) I found myself thinking for some reason about the last 24 hours. Not that the last 24 hours was anything special or different, I guess I was just paying attention, or actually doing what was best for my body. I'm not as big as I was with posting numbers about my workouts but I did put in a substantial, even if steady and of lower intensity day: 2 hours 40 minutes on the bike, a 3 mile run afterward in my Pure Connect 2's, and then a 1200 meter recovery swim that evening-as much as a boredom buster than functionality and feel for the water. Total of a little over 3 hours and I was actually looking forward to taking a "Zero" for my Monday.
The workout aside, my thought processes were piqued this afternoon after waking up fairly sore and tired and progressively feeling better and looser as the day went on. I even felt some tightness in my L leg from my bike ride (likely due to seat height issue) that was present yesterday and has since disappeared. While we're all different and can handle different loads I can't help but think that I am starting to find a medium that works for me. Taking stock of the boxes I checked off yesterday and today, I find the noticeable effects of rest I feel today as a combination of at least these factors and principles I've learned in my years of training:
How does Adrienne recover from workouts (if you care)?
1. Sleep-gotta regenerate. My friends pick on me regularly, but I don't mind. Saturday night before my ride I made it known to my girlfriends that I had "9:00 curfew". Mentally it just helps me knowing I will be batting with at least half of a full deck the next day:)
2. Recovery is affected by what we do to fuel our workouts-especially the long endurance ones (usually 1:20 min run or 2:30 on the bike, give or take), or intense sessions. Getting enough nutrition in, whether that be a solid or liquid meal before the workout is important. Caloric requirements depend on athlete size and workout duration, but a good rule of thumb is a carb and electrolyte source, such as PowerBar or sports drink, or fruit/nut butter, or cereal. Starting in the "black" keeps you from getting too depleted in the first place. Easy for me, because I love breakfast!
3. Nutrition and hydration during workout. I've almost dialed in my bike nutrition. My aero bottle filled with PowerBar Perform, another two bottles filled with plain water. Sip each every 5 minutes alternating. Gel or Bel Blasts every :45. Simple as that and I feel great. Yesterday's ride felt nice and steady. Stable blood sugars keep the unnecessary stress on your body during exercise at bay.
4. AFTER-the most widely discussed aspect of post workout recovery. I drink my recover drink or chocolate milk almost immediately. Makes all the difference in the world for me.
5. Rest days-just as today. Like I said earlier in this post, I was actually looking forward to resting. Mentally, this is definitely an indication to take a step back. Also the soreness I had from hours in the aero position in my back and quads was definitely talking to me more so today than usual. Having a tight outer quad yesterday also was an indication. That to me is unusual-time to back off. Best part is that I actually am getting better at listening to these things. Today's example I practically felt like a dented coke can getting pushed back out to normal.
6. Governed Easy Runs. I run without a HR monitor when doing fartleks, hills, and usually longer runs, but most days per week are governed by my HR monitor. Usually when I do this I walk away feeling like I haven't run at all after a short amount of time. When not working out hard, I find that is ideal to keeping me on the roads.
7. On rest days, keep moving. I typically make it a point to walk around a lot when not doing any kind of workout. Sometimes an easy swim works too. Blood flow is good and you don't feel as much like a lazy bum!
Put it together and be surprised how rested you begin to feel quickly.
I gave a small seminar to Volte Endurance Saturday morning and part of the talk was on mental recovery. We don't have to be 'on' all the time, in fact-it's an impossibility. Once we accept that and dial in to what's important; including truly taking care of ourselves-the magic begins to happen. Part of it is knowing not just when you're physically tired, but mentally as well. In short, my best advice is to be mindful what you put in, put out, and think about when training. It's a lesson in patience, but worth it.
Back to today, nerdy me found it interesting to go about the day actually feeling my body get more energized. In this ongoing science experiment I call training-here's the latest qualitative data from the case study of Adrienne N. Langelier: runner, triathlete, and workout freak. Hope y'all learned a little something.
Stay the course.