You’ve just finished your triathlon. Now it’s time to start your race recovery.
It’s essential you plan your recovery carefully. This way you can make sure you are going to be up swimming, cycling and running as soon as possible.
A good recovery will not only mean that you have an easy few weeks of activity. It will also make you a better athlete in the long run.
However, failing to do the right things could actually damage your body. This may extend your recovery by months, even resulting in lasting physical damage.
Because of this, it’s important to follow some guidelines. Here are the dos and don’ts that will ensure a healthy triathlon race recovery.
What to Do for Healthy Race Recovery
To regain your strength after a strenuous race, follow these four guidelines in the hours and days after crossing the finish line.
1. Do Eat and Drink Right
Getting the right nutrition for your body is the most important part of your triathlon race recovery.
After the race, you need to replace the muscle glycogen stores by eating and drinking plenty of carbohydrates.
One of the most common things that happen when people complete a big race is that they may become dehydrated. During the race, you’ll have lost a lot of water through sweat. Immediately after the race, be sure to rehydrate.
Grab some water and a post-triathlon snack from the finisher’s area right after the race is over.
If possible, have a meal in the first few hours following the end of the race. However, if this is not possible, then keep yourself going with snacks that are high-carbohydrates.
2. Do Use Compression Gear
Many professional triathletes praise the race recovery powers of compression clothing and gear.
You can purchase compression gear for every different part of the body. This gear provides the most stressed and pressured muscles the protection they need.
After the race, put on some compression clothes. You don’t have to take them off for the rest of the day. Many athletes find that they are effective to sleep in too.
3. Do Get Some Sleep
Sports science has made great strides recently. And yet, there hasn’t been anything discovered that is more effective at improving race recovery than a good night of sleep.
In the first few days of recovery after a triathlon, you could even benefit from napping during the day. You only need a 20-minute nap to help you recover quickly.
4. Do Keep Moving
After completing an exhausting and difficult triathlon race you’ll have aches and pains. In these circumstances, you may only want to lie around in bed or on the sofa watching television.
Although bingeing on your favorite Netflix show is tempting after that hard work, you have to keep moving. While resting is encouraged, it’s also important to take short walks and easy bike rides to keep your blood flowing.
If you have to go back to work right away, try not to spend all day sitting behind a desk. Instead of emailing your colleague, get up and go talk to her. Take any opportunity to keep moving.
What Not to Do After a Triathlon
Avoid these four mistakes to ensure a healthy recovery.
1. Don’t Get a Massage
You may notice that venues often provide massage services for athletes. But there is much debate in triathlon and athlete circles about whether post-race massages are good or bad for your recovery.
If you really feel that you need a massage after your race, give it a few days. When you do get a massage, ask for gentle and light work.
Immediately after the race, your muscles are completely exhausted and the blood is still flowing. At this stage, you don’t want anyone working their fingers into your muscles.
2. Don’t Celebrate Too Hard
Completing a triathlon may have been your dream. Perhaps it is something you’ve had on your bucket list. Now that you’ve finally accomplished it, you’re probably ready to celebrate.
You have been on a strict diet and training regime in preparation for the race. Now you might feel it’s time to enjoy yourself.
However, you need to be careful what you put into your body immediately after the race. Your body may not be able to digest a full meal.
Instead, in the first few hours after the race, keep eating small amounts of food.
If you really want to celebrate your achievement with a celebratory meal, plan to indulge a couple days later. This way you’ll definitely be able to digest it all properly.
It’s also good to go easy on alcohol in the first days of recovery.
3. Don’t Neglect Your Immune System
You’ve finished the triathlon, now it’s time to make an assessment of any damages to your body. You should immediately inspect to see if your joints and muscles are intact.
Many people neglect their immune system. After any triathlon, your immune system is likely to be working on overtime. This means you could be vulnerable to catch illnesses and sickness.
Make sure you stay warm after the race. Eating the right foods will also help. Foods that include Vitamin C, such as oranges, are especially advised.
4. Don’t Carry on as Before
After finishing a triathlon, you might be itching to jump right back into exercising as before. But it’s important to listen to your body and take it easy.
Many experts argue that you should start your race recovery with short walks. After a week, you may want to start some light and gentle jogging. But it could be at least a few weeks before you are back to performing at your best again.
Finishing a triathlon is a great achievement. Reward yourself with the proper recovery so you can go out and start training for the next one!