Cardiff Triathletes coach Patrick Lees reveals his top tips for maximising your training.
Each year, we approach the coming season with excitement, and the temptation is to get out there and train harder than we have trained before in search of a new PB.
In order to improve our training, we also need to make sure recovery is given a high priority so we can make the all important gains. On top of getting a good night’s sleep – we recommend eight to 10 hours a night to our triathletes – what else can you do to maximise that recovery?
1: Hydrate and Rehydrate
Your body’s cells depend on you being property hydrated. Lack of hydration through water and electrolyte intake can have an adverse effect on protein synthesis. Consume at least two litres of water per day, plus extra with electrolytes added during exercise sessions.
2: Eat Fast
In the drive to hit race weight, we often neglect to replenish the energy we’ve used during training. Consuming simple carbohydrates and protein in the first 30 minutes after exercise is key to kick-starting your recovery process.
Recovery shakes with a blend of nutrients are a convenient option tailormade for this.
3: Refuel Again
Around one to three hours after your training session, you should also ideally eat a healthy meal containing complex carbohydrates, protein and some fat, with an emphasis on mono and polyunsaturated varieties. This will help continue your recovery by fuelling your muscles over a longer period of time.
Keep this meal small if it is consumed soon before bed for less risk of a disturbed sleep.
4: Keep Moving
Stiffening up and losing range of movement is not the adaptation any triathlete wants, and will adversely affect technique and future performance.
To maintain the extensibility of soft tissues and the range of movement of your joints, ensure you do regular gentle movements, whether it be stretching, yoga or a light active recovery training session.
This will help maintain your range of motion, and prepare your body and mind for future training sessions and races.
I recommend cycling or swimming for active recovery because it’s easier to perform correct movement patterns than running on sore legs.
5: Use Recovery Aids
There’s a myriad of different aids available on the market, from compression clothing to foam rollers. Maximising these is an individual thing, so I recommend experimenting with different methods. Most gyms now keep foam rollers for their members, and you may wish to use specific compression wear on a problem area to ascertain what works best for you.