Here’s a thought: If you could recover faster after a workout, then you would be able to train for a triathlon harder and more often. Yes, that’s true…but there’s more to it than that.
Have you ever looked at it this way? Recovery is just as important as training itself. There is more truth to this. The fact is, if your body doesn’t have a chance to fully repair and grow stronger, then it will eventually break down. Eventually resulting in setback and injury. Never fun!
In this post we will not be talking about the rest days in your triathlon-training schedule, but how to make sure you recover faster and easier…meaning less pain and soreness after your workouts.
Stretching For Tri Workout Recovery
However much you are stretching right now, double it. Oh not stretching much? That’s exactly my point! Stretching and staying flexible is hands down the key to staying injury-free and feeling good post-workout. Stretch before, after, and even during workouts if possible. I’m making such a point of this because most of the clients I have ever worked with just plain don’t stretch enough. And while telling everyone else to stretch, I don’t even stretch enough. I’ll admit it.
Stretching more = better injury prevention. Period. I’ll talk more about this and why it’s so important in another post.
Rolling After A Tough Triathlon Workout
Ok so if stretching is the underused healing touch, this must be the biggest hidden secret of recovery and feeling G-R-E-A-T…even after a tough tri workout. First off, if you don’t have a foam roller, go out and buy one for 20 bucks this instant. I’m serious. Then come back, watch the free instructional DVD that it comes with, use it, and continue reading my post.
Rolling does what’s called self-myofascial release. In layman’s terms, it is the cheapest full-body sports massage and physical therapy you will find under the sun and this side of the Mississippi. It instantaneously sucks away pain, soreness, stiffness, and restricted motion. (By the way, you may find some tight, sore spots like my IT band in this picture.)
As a gift, I gave one of these to a friend on mine that trains hard for triathlons, and he completely agreed with my same thoughts of, “Why haven’t I used this long ago…?”
Again, we’ll go deeper into this tissue in another post.
Massage Ball Magic – Great For Hard-To-Reach Areas
After some good old-fashioned tri workout destruction, there is no better relief on sore spots than a spiky massage ball. I know that it look like the ball from medieval times, but those spikes help release tension, stimulate blood flow, and promote fast healing. I’ve had kinks in my back for weeks until I finally break down and roll it out. Instant relief! Why did I wait so long?
I personally like using the ball for places that are hard to target with the roller. For example, I can easily use the ball to find that bothersome little kink under my shoulder blades.
Tiger Tail – Release Tight Muscles Instantly
“Ahhh…does that feel good…” Sometime last week, I overdid it on a calf work. The next day I could barely walk with out a painful limp, and this was my instant cure. Similar to the other self-massage techniques, this little gadget is just like a mini roller and is called a TigerTail. If I recall correctly it only cost me 14 bucks at a health and fitness convention. There are other brands and variations, too; I’ve seen some with rolling beads on a stick. Exact same concept. Because it has two handles, you can’t quite use it anywhere on your body. But for areas such as quads and calves, it sure is stellar and releases tight muscles in a near instant. Sometimes my traps get tight after a swimming workout, so I’ll get Jess to roll it on my shoulders and neck.
Quick Recovery Conclusion
Let’s face it: We’d all rather be out training, but sometimes have to give the body a break. These are some great ways to get your body on the road to recovery quicker and easier after your tough tri workout sessions. Check in soon for How To Recover Faster From Your Tri Workout (Part Two) and I will share even more little-used and forgotten techniques to get you recovering faster so you can train harder and longer without injury. But first, put these tips into the mix of your triathlon training plan.