What is recovery from strenuous sports performance training about? People who exercise regularly and play sports often spend a lot of time preparing careful sports performance training programmes. These focus on positively building all the areas of fitness and technique important to the successful conduct of their favorite activity. Some enthusiastic runners, cyclists and triathletes plan their year’s activities around participation in races (marathon, triathlon, etc) or hoping to perform maximally at each race. In the haste to go faster and stronger, an important aspect of training is often neglected: sports recovery. From the experience of successful athletes though (particularly those in endurance sports) more time spent on sports recovery leads to improvement in the quality of sports performance training as well as optimal results in competition.
What is Sports Recovery?
Exercise at all levels of intensity acts to do one thing to the body: it depletes it. The depletion involves your energy stores (muscle glycogen, blood glucose and fat products in your blood), hormones, and muscle structures. In other words, you use up the body’s valuable resources as you exercise and something must be done to replace them.
In order to return to training and to continue conditioning your body to meet your exercise goals, it is
important to create time and take active steps to bring about a re-building of the depleted body resources. This is what sports recovery is all about: the conscious action to help the body return to its optimal exercise state. This is especially important if you are intending to exercise intensively or for long durations soon after an exhausting bout. This could be endurance programme training, multi-stage bike race, or sports competitions that are only 2-4 weeks apart
Why bother with Sports Recovery?
In the very simplest terms you need to bother with sports recovery to keep you physically exercising at the level that you want to. Even more importantly, to allow the body’s systems to re-charge sufficiently that your mental edge remains honed to that fine sharpness you desire. A blunted edge comes about from insufficient recovery and can come back to haunt you in these ways: staleness, loss of interest, reduced physical ability, decreased sports performance training tolerance. Yes indeed, the first steps towards over-training.
A good approach to sports recovery will ensure that the quality of your sports performance training and competition is high. This will contribute to you feeling satisfied with your efforts and achievements, and bring about continued confidence in your chosen endurance sport. Good recovery also enables you to exert a greater overall sense of control of your sports performance training destiny!
When should I think about Sports Recovery?
You should consider sports recovery at both macro- and micro-levels. An example of a macro level would be a period of sports performance training preparation time (e.g. a week or month), or the period between competitions on your race calendar. A micro-level consideration would be after a single very hard or exhaustive work-out.
At the macro level, the depletion of resources will have arisen as a systematic and progressive wearing away that parallels your rigorously planned training program. It is not the single mind-blowing training session that is involved here but rather the accumulated effect of all the sessions combined, and possibly inclusive of the race. While a single sports performance training session may leave you feeling fatigued, the depletion of body resources over a period of time (it can be as short as a week or as long as months) will leave you feeling that your ability to physically exert yourself is a little blunted. Your legs feel heavy and tired, and are unable to sustain prolonged effort in the way they used to.
The micro recovery level answers the body’s aching need following that supremely challenging sports
performance training session, back-to-back training sessions in some training camp, or the actual huge
effort put into a competitive event (e.g. marathon running) . The latter involves not just the event itself but also the mental stress, increased adrenaline surges, and even mundane activities such as travel to the competition venue. Visit https://rollygames.com
What are the steps I should take to recover properly?
Ensure that you take account of your macro and micro needs. Maintain an awareness of these using a
sports performance training /race calendar that allows you to visually assess the training and competition phases you are going through. Akin to the periodisation approach to training, this will help you to plan for recovery periods and make these an integral part of your sports performance training plan. Now consider the elements of the recovery: nutrition, structure regeneration, inflammation reduction, hormonal, and mental. Make plans for each of these.
Nutrition involves replacing the resources that you have used up in your prodigious attempts to go faster and stronger. This includes particular emphasis on replacing the following nutritional components: carbohydrates to re-build muscle glycogen for muscle recovery, and minerals and electrolytes to make up for loss in your sweat. The best time to re-build glycogen stores is within the first 3 hours after sports performance training as this is when the rate of glycogen storage is highest. Such storage remains elevated in the next 21 hours but not at the same rate as during what has been called the “critical re-energising window.” There is scientific evidence to suggest that the very first hour after your exercise bout is actually the time that your body responds best to glycogen replenishment.