5 Key Recovery Essentials For Runners and Triathletes

Recovery After Exercise is Essential to Muscle Repair and Strength Building

This is even more critical after a strength training session or key workout.  Muscles need from 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild, and working it again too soon simply leads to tissue breakdown instead of building.

5 Ways To Recover Quickly After Workouts

There are as many methods of recovery as there are athletes.  The following are a some of the most commonly recommended by experts in the triathlon and running community.

  1. Hydrate and Replace Fluids:  You lose a lot of fluid during exercise and ideally, you should be replacing it during exercise, but filling up after exercise is an easy way to boost your recovery. Water supports every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body and having plenty of water will improve every bodily function. Adequate fluid replacement is even more important for endurance athletes who lose large amounts of water during hours of sweating.
  2. Refuel and Eat Properly: After depleting your energy stores with exercise, you need to refuel if you expect your body to recover, repair tissues, get stronger and be ready for the next challenge. This is even more important if you are performing endurance exercises day after day or trying to build muscle. Ideally, you should try to eat within 30-60 minutes of the end of your workout and make sure you include some high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates. A diet of essential proteins and amino acids can help repair muscle tissue and help avoid injury and reduce muscle soreness. There are 8 essential amino acids that are not produced naturally in the body, but need to be replaced by foods or through daily supplements. Here is an article by active.com on nutrition recovery for endurance athletes http://bit.ly/1lSeOtm .
  3. Avoid Overtraining: One simple way to recover faster is by designing a smart workout routine that is designed specifically for you.  Excessive exercise, heavy training at every session, or a lack of rest days will limit your fitness gains from exercise and undermine your recovery efforts. 
  4. Incorporate Active Recovery: Easy, gentle movement improves circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body. This helps the muscles repair and refuel faster. 
  5. Sleep: While you sleep, amazing things are taking place in your body. Optimal sleep is essential for anyone who exercises regularly. During sleep, your body produces Growth Hormone (GH) which is largely responsible for tissue growth and repair.  Try to get 7+ uninterrupted hours of sleep per night. 

Listen to Your Body for Faster Recovery 

The most important thing you can do to recovery quickly is to listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, sore or notice decreased performance you may need more recovery time or a break from training altogether. If you are feeling strong the day after a hard workout, you don't have to force yourself to go slow.

If you pay attention, in most cases, your body will let you know what it needs when it needs it.