July 27, 2013
As you head into the heart of the racing season, your body will start to accumulate fatigue which can influence your performance in negative ways. Here are few tips for maximizing your recovery from day-to-day and week-to-week.
- Get adequate rest. This means sleeping at night and interspersing your training with appropriate rest days. Too many days in a row of intensive training will break you down. Be sure to listen to your body and take easy days or days off intermittently. Poor sleep quality will harm your body’s ability to restore itself. Make sure to avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, as well as stimulating activities such as television or exercise. Establishing a ritual behavior before bed will help to induce sleep too. Reading or a bath or shower will signal your body it’s time to start relaxing into sleep mode.
- Nutritional support. I have found that as I get older, if I put garbage in (fast food, fried foods, booze, etc), I get garbage out in terms of performance. So try to dial in your diet. If nothing else, try to have at least a basic awareness of what you should be putting into your body and what you’re actually putting into your body. Keep a three day food log (including one weekend day since people tend to relax the nutrition on the weekend) once a month and then review it. You’ll surprise yourself with what you’re actually eating. Periodically consulting a nutritionist has a lot of benefit too.
- Be proactive with stress in your life. Proactive behavior is less stressful than reactive behavior. Suddenly realizing you forgot a work commitment or having a task hanging over your can distract you from quality training. Plan ahead for training, eating, racing, work, travel, and any schedule aberrations you might have.
- Supplementation. You don’t need a huge variety of exotic supplements. It is recommended that athletes take a good multivitamin and quality post workout recovery solution. There is research that shows a recovery solution with a 4-1 carbs to protein ratio acts to maximize recovery at the cellular level and aids with muscle-building and repair. Remember your “magic” 30-minute and 2-hour time-windows after training.