Recently I have been fortunate enough to train alongside some world class athletes here at Thanyapura. Cycling with professional triathletes such as Michael Raelert, Ruedi Wild and Andreas Dreitz has got me thinking about what professional athletes do that make them professional.
After speaking with a few of these athletes, one aspect that came up over and over again is recovery. Not only to prevent muscle fatigue but to keep restoring their energy so they can give even more in the next session.
The purpose of recovery is to allow the body and mind to repair after a strenuous session. This is primarily viewed at a muscular level, where adaptation to a previous training session takes place through the muscles rebuilding whilst reducing muscle fatigue.
Lack of proper recovery has been linked to injuries, tired/“dead” legs and fatigue. Therefore, proper recovery is essential for an athlete in order to train consistently and effectively.
While there is a variety of research available on different recovery methods, more research is needed, as there is no strong consensus for the optimal recovery method.
Moreover, training in hot conditions (as we experience here at Thanyapura) brings a new challenge for the body to overcome during the recovery process. Rehydration and cooling the body also need to contend with muscle damage and tissue repair.
Below I have put together five tips from myself and the pro’s, to help you recover effectively in the heat.
1. Post Exercise Nutrition
Timing is crucial here to make sure you start the recovery process as soon as the session is over. Consuming food/drink within 30 minutes after exercise, consisting of a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates and protein.
Examples include a yogurt/milk based smoothie, bagel with nut butter or an appropriate sports bar/snack. In the heat hydration is of more importance, so make sure you have fluid preferably with electrolytes to help wash the food down.
Adding in a pinch of salt will help to rehydrate effectively, which is especially important when training in the heat.
2. Cold Shower
During exercise in hot conditions, the body’s core temperature will be elevated. In order to recover effectively from a workout in the heat, bringing core temperature down is a priority and will help lessen muscle fatigue.
Studies have shown that even a cold shower can have this effect, so if an ice bath is not available you can still bring core temp down effectively.
Reducing core temperature can also help recover from the mental fatigue of a session sooner. A little known but important aspect of the recovery process.
A crucial component of effective recovery. Many pro’s take advantage of this with their own massage therapists. The good news is an age grouper or average Joe can also have these benefits without breaking the bank.
If you happen to train in Thailand, massage is very cheap and widely available. For those that don’t happen to live and train in Thailand you can make use of foam roller and trigger point equipment.
Rolling over tired muscles for 10-15 minutes, will help to reduce muscle fatigue and tightness.
4. Active Recovery
‘ Active recovery focuses on completing a workout at a low intensity,but just high enough that it gets the blood moving and helps reduceresidual fatigue in the muscle.’ – Alan Kipping-Ruane
Another aspect of recovery which the pro’s utilize consistently throughout their training program.
Active recovery should be at a low intensity and short duration, also preferably on a flat surface when riding or running. The most important focus of the active recovery session should be fun!
Here at Thanyapura it is very easy to do, swimming in the ocean, riding to a local coffee stop by the beach or running through pineapple fields. Make sure this session is done in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat.
5. Sleep (Beware Aircon!)
Sleep is incredibly important to athletes as it is during this time the body really gets to work, making sure you are rested for the next session. In hot conditions, sleep may be disrupted by the body not adjusting to the new climate (waking up sweating all over).
However, it is important not to put the air con on full blast bringing the temperature down too much. This will not help the body to acclimatize to the environment and you may be susceptible to illness from the contrasting temperature. As a guide try and make sure the air con temperature is not lower than 22 degrees.
It’s good to understand the recovery process and follow simple steps to ensure your body and mind is fully recovered after each session.
Training in the heat adds new challenges, but following these tips will help to ensure you recover effectively when the temperature cranks up! For more information or any questions on the topic email myself at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Tom Topham holds a 1st class honours degree in Sports Science (Human Performance) from Brunel University, England. He also comes from a triathlon background, competing as an age-grouper and holds a level 2 triathlon coaching qualification.
About the Author
Bochakorn began her education in conventional medicine as a nurse, then shifted to embrace natural healing and integrative medicines. Her training and certifications abroad include: Nutrition and Western Herbal Medicines, Acupuncture and Moxibustion.
During her therapeutic sessions, she may also incorporate other aspects of integrative medicines when required, including: acupuncture, cupping therapy, moxibustion, nutritional, supplements and herbal recommendation.