So your Iron Man race is done.
You’ve spent months training, obsessing over data, nutrition, bike gadgets, working on your goals and race plan.
But what about your post-race recovery, how long have you spent thinking about that?
It’s something that a lot of athletes don’t think about AT ALL and it’s an important aspect to focus on to ensure you recover quicker.
Here are a few short tips to help you feel better and move more freely post Iron Man.
Now we bang on this drum A LOT at Tri Force. It a fundamental aspect of your training, race performance AND recovery.
POST race it’s just as CRITICAL. Dehydration means your blood supply is running a bit like the London Underground at rush hour. Nothing can get on or off and it takes ages to get to your destination.
So, staying on top of your hydration and replacing electrolytes lost in racing through sweat is good practice.
The most straightforward advice we can give you is to drink at least three liters of water throughout the day. Make sure that two of these have the recommended dose of electrolytes.
Compression gear increases blood flow to the muscles delivering a rich oxygen and nutrient supply while swiftly removing waste metabolites such as lactate which inhibits the contractile effectiveness of the muscle.
There is good evidence to suggest that compression gear reduces muscle soreness, shortens recovery times and makes you look and feel a bit more pro after the event.
As tempting as it is to sit around eat ice cream and do nothing in the week after your race we don’t suggest it.
The day after keep moving. Ok so that doesn’t mean an early run before breakfast. It means go for a walk (or shuffle) and in the rest of the week directly after your IM a 20-minute easy swim or bike each day.
These are less stressful on the body than running and will improve blood flow to tired muscles.
You may not feel like it but trust us, you’ll feel a whole lot better for doing it.
Shhh don’t tell anybody about this. Ok, so it’s not a magical ergogenic aid. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant, can help reduce inflammation and restore energy in the muscle.
I used It on a 10-day cycling trip to the Alp’s. It didn’t turn me in to “RichyFroome” but my legs never felt stiff and heavy the morning after every tough day. Trust me we attacked everyone, every day, it was BRUTALY fun.
I suggest a spray because you can apply it directly to your fatigued muscles so it gets to work straightaway.
Stretch and Roll:
No one does enough of this pre-race let alone post.
Start now, spend time trigger pointing the soles of your feet, lightly rolling your hamstrings, quads, glutes and stretch out the tightest spots in your body.
Investing time into your mobility and soft tissue is more valuable than any aero helmet or fancy gadget.
Low Crab, Medium Protein, Higher Fat.
Let’s get this straight. High fat does not mean pizza, Maccy D’s and the like. I know, I’m a kill joy…BOOO!
So what I am suggesting is you eat a diet rich in natural saturated fats such as avocado, salmon, olive oil etc.
This will help reduce post-race excessive internal inflammation and increase intake of anti-oxidants to counteract the elevated free radical activity in your body.
I’m NOT suggesting go NO carb either. Taking on a minimum of 150g to 200g a day, all from whole foods, will help replenish lost glycogen stores, improve pre biotic fiber and nutrient intake.
Keep an eye on the protein too. Your body is repairing and needs the building blocks to restore and re-fashion its muscle and connective tissue.
Ok so I’m not saying don’t eat things like ice cream and cheesecake. Life’s too short to ignore such small pleasures, what I am saying is have a balanced approach to great food and fun foods.
In our experience athletes tend to be a bit hard on themselves immediately after the race.
You know what I’m talking about, “I could have gone faster in the swim”, “My bike split was slower than I hoped for”…..
A few days after the race you tend to be more emotionally settled. That’s the time to constructively appraise your race.
I know, it may feel a bit like a test but sit down and think what went well, what didn’t and what you need to improve on.
From a coaching stand point that helps you and us understand where tweaks and improvements can be made but more importantly it can show you exactly how far you’ve come and build confidence in your future racing performance.
More often than not you’ve performed better than you originally thought.
Thanks for reading
Simon de Burgh
2 X Winner of Gym Based PT
Level 2 British Triathlon Coach
Performance & Nutrition Director