May2011 Volume 6‎ > ‎

May Recover

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What’s your recovery plan?

When preparing the body and mind for an event (running, triathlon or for life in general) 
almost everyone creates a game plan. For endurance athletes this usually means following a training plan in order to ensure preparedness and to maximize performance.  Typically the plan ends with the event and goes no further.  I’d like to make the argument that we not only need to train for that event, but we also need to train the body to recover from that event.

Here’s a simple mantra that I would love to have catch on...

”Train your recovery, just as you train your event.”

So many individuals train hard for an event and in doing so develop an amazing level of fitness only to be lost following the event when they completely stop training.  I have been one of those individuals so I know what I’m talking about!  Perhaps they stopped due to over training, fatigue or even injury.  Then a few months later they’re signing up for the next endeavor only to be starting back a ground zero with their fitness.

The performance research is clear... the body simply cannot maintain a constant progression of HIGH
Frequency, High Intensity, High Time/Volume and singular Type (i.e. running, cycling, etc.) (F.I.T.T.) training.  The body simply needs time to rest and recover, however, it’s been proven that complete rest makes rust.

So if you would like to avoid getting rusty while you rest and recover here are some simple activity modification guidelines that you can try.

Initial Recovery: 0-72 hours following event it’s important to follow the P.R.I.C.E guidelines.
P: Protect against further tissue damage
R: Rest
I: Ice
C: Compression
E: Elevation

Day 3 through Week 2 or 3 (may vary depending on event distance or intensity):
R.E.S.T (Resume Exercise below Soreness Threshold): To do this properly just modify the components of F.I.T.T.  This implies reducing the frequency, reducing the intensity, reducing the time and volume of training as well as the type in order to allow the fatigued and/or injured structures to heal after initial inflammation has subsided.  So if you participated in a marathon you should spend the majority of your recovery performing other activities like cycling or swimming for example.  Here’s a sample guideline:

-Reduce Frequency : 25-50%
-Reduce Intensity: 10-20%
-Reduce Time/Volume: 25-30%
-Reduce Type: 50-75%

If symptoms persist after applying the R.E.S.T principles return to P.R.I.C.E and seek a medical consultation with a Physical Therapist.

So when you're planning for your next event remember to plan your recovery just as you would for the actual event.  You may just find your future performance improve!

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