Let’s face it. Training for a triathlon is a huge time commitment. And if you want to get better, you’ve got to put in the work. But, what if we were to tell you that you don't need to add longer, harder workouts to be a stronger triathlete.
What’s the key to better triathlon training? Recovery.
Depending on your fitness level will determine the number of training weeks you’ll need to cross the finish line strong, and safely. But to train your best, you need to make sure you give your body optimal recovery between workouts.
Whether your goal is to set a new PR or finish the race, here’s how to recover for better triathlon training.
Set Your Recovery Day
No matter what triathlon training schedule you use, you should set one day as a full recovery day. A recovery day can be partaking in a yoga class, going for a long walk, taking a hike, using your Compex® device, or even indulging in a sports massage. You’re giving your body a break from the intense training, which you need to prevent overworking your muscles. So, choose one day a week as your recovery day, and stick to it. Your body will be happy, and you’ll gain more strength during training.
Foam Roll Post-Training
Also known as self-myofascial release (SMR), foam rolling is designed to work out the knots (also called trigger points) in your muscles. Myofascial adhesions can develop through stress, training, overuse, underuse, movement imbalances, and injuries. Mainly, the knots are points of constant tension and addressing them can have a positive effect on your workouts. Ignoring them can lead to muscle fatigue and may cause injury.
While foam rolling can be uncomfortable, you control the pressure, and over time, you’ll be able to release the pain and relax the muscle. Tension can be released from the affected area, increasing blood flow and nutrients to the muscle tissue, and improving range of motion (ROM) for a more effective triathlon training program.
Ice Your Muscles
Got a sore muscle or slight inflammation? Ice therapy (cold therapy) can help a minor muscle-related injury because it can help reduce swelling and improve blood flow to the affected tissue. According to one Harvard Health study, applying ice to the sore area for 10 to 15 minutes is one of the cheapest, simplest, and a most effective way to manage swelling.
Use Your Compex® Device
Electric muscle stimulation trains your muscles in a way that traditional workouts alone cannot. While you can use your Compex® device before or during your workouts, the recovery mode helps activate the muscle to contract based on the amount of resistance applied through the device. You can also use the TENS program, which helps to alleviate pain by either inducing an endorphin release (Low-Frequency TENS programs) or to block the pain signals to the brain through the Gate Theory (High-Frequency TENS programs). Regardless if you use EMS or TENS, your Compex device can help flush lactic acid, replenish muscles with nutrient, and get your body ready for the next workout.
Learn more on EMS and TENS.
Whether you’re looking to compete in a sprint triathlon or an IRONMAN, one of the most effective ways to train is to focus on your recovery, so your body is healthy, strong, and ready to compete.
The contents of this blog were independently prepared, and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the views of any other party. Individual results may vary depending on a variety of patient-specific attributes and related factors.
HyperIce® is a registered trademark of HyperIce, Inc.
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It’s Open season once again in the CrossFit community. As you train your strength and skills to prepare yourself for your best performance yet, remember the importance in recovery as a ‘next gear’ tool to earning your success.
The training leading up to the CrossFit Open is often a time of high energy, high volume and high stakes. This gateway competition gets increasingly more competitive each year as top athletes contend for a qualifying spot to Regionals. Even for those who are casual participants to this community affair find excitement this time of year and find themselves pushing harder through workouts. Because of this increase in volume and intensity, it means that it is equally as important to make sure that the body is adequately recovered from training, too. Though we may all try, you can’t ferociously burn the candle at both ends and expect to perform at your best.
Recovery can mean many things, but some key practices can help you structure a responsible lifestyle that maximizes the benefit of your hard work. Though you may spend four hours in a gym, the other twenty are the ones that count.
Simply learning to value and budget your time more wisely will have an impact on your sleep, work efficiency the relationship you hold to your responsibilities. How much time and energy are you wasting right now on social media? Do you drag through a 30 minute warmup everyday? If you are effective with the things you need to accomplish, you will leave more time for recovery practices and rest time.
Visualization and Mindfulness
The intensity of training for most athletes entering the Open season does a lot to tax the nervous system and the mind. Taking time to reflect on what is learned from training and how to increase a competitive mindset is just as important as the training itself. Take time to remember moments of success and visualize your goals.
Open prep often means repeating a lot of movements over and over in order to master efficiency. This can sometimes cause inflammation of the joints, tendons and ligaments and cause aching or soreness. Natural anti-inflammatories such as turmeric or beets can help with these pains, but also making sure that the connective tissues remain mobile.
Soft Tissue Mobility
Not only do our primary muscles get tight from training, but also the interconnected fascia that surrounds all of our nerves and organs, too. Exercises with a lacrosse ball, foam roller or yoga can be a good practice to maintain health of the soft tissue. Types of compression therapy or the use of an NMES device can help maintain blood flow in the tissue as well.
At some point, you will have to take responsibility for the fuel you put into your body. Supplements alone will never do the trick and learning healthy and sustainable lifestyle changes to the way you eat will help you increase the impact of your training. Find experts of the field and learn to test things for yourself to find the best building blocks for your body.
The Open isn’t just a test of will power and strength, but about who is able to sustain health and focus through five tough weeks. Make sure you’re prepared for this years excitement by committing to your recovery as much as you do your training.
IRONMAN Arizona is one of the most popular triathlon events in the world because the spectator friendly non-ocean swim, atypical flat and fast bike route and its relatively flat running course. Compex athletes Jordan Rapp, Timothy O'Donnell, Amanda Stevens, Mike Zafirovski, and Neily Mathias competed this year under unusually adverse conditions ranging from cold temps to high winds on each leg of the race. Learn more about how Compex athletes Jordan Rapp and Timothy O'Donnell incorporated Compex into their post-race recovery programs after IRONMAN Arizona.
Congratulations to all Compex athletes:
3rd Place: Jordan Rappor
5th Place: Timmothy O'Donnell
5th Place: Amanda Stevens
10th Place: Mike Zafirovski
21st Place: Neels Mathias
Compex triathlete Jordan Rapp, who placed 3rd, talks about his IRONMAN Arizona post-race recovery and how he incorporated Compex into this recovery plan:
"Post race, I typically wait to see how the body sorts out for a few days. In the immediate aftermath, everything hurts. If there's long travel involved (not the case in this race), then I'd use the Recovery Plus or massage settings on a very low current just to keep the muscles moving my legs on the plane ride. I thought of this after racing IMMEL in 2013, and sitting on that 16 hour plane ride after the race and just locking up, I thought, "I have to figure out how to do this differently." And that's when I started experimenting, and the Compex is so easy in that regard. But since I fly to Tempe and it's just an hour flight, there's a lot of walking - too much! - at the airport and such and so I don't worry as much about keeping the muscles moving. This race is also different because as the last race of the season, I'm less worried about bouncing back as quickly as possible. I try to mentally unwind as well and just sort of let things flow. I take this approach with vitamins and stuff as well. I just sort of step back away from being an athlete for a couple weeks at the end of the season.
But I'm very keen to get back into swimming, since I find that is a great way to stay active, recover fast, and continue to work on my biggest weakness. So I'll probably start to getting back into swimming before the end of the week. For swimming, I personally have found the Compex to be great for obliques. All the rib muscles take a beating with the various demands and super long day of an Ironman, but I seem to have particular trouble with some of my obliques. So again, I'd start with using that to get those firing. Some light massage, recovery plus, and then maybe some potentiation before I swim. Mid-season, I'd probably focus more on doing something with my legs, especially in the peroneals and anterior tibialis to get my toes and sub-talar joint control working again. But since I'll take at least a week off of running and cycling, I'll just wait to use the Compex as normal and as needed once I start back up there.
I'm sure that as I unwind from the race, sore spots will crop up - like in my neck from lugging the bike box and suitcase on a beat-up body - and I can just get some relief with massage or recovery plus modes, again with super low current.
And, at least for this time of year, it's also good to use the Compex to get your abdominals working after you stretch your gut out to 5X its normal size at Thanksgiving!"
Compex triathlete Timothy O'Donnell, who placed 5th, talks about how he speeds up his post-race IRONMAN Arizona recovery with the Compex Active Recovery program.
"Recovering from an Ironman is never quick or easy, especially IM Arizona where the concrete run course take a huge toll on your legs. I rely heavily on my Compex post to get me moving and speed up my recovery. The active recovery program is my go to for my calves and to increase blood flow across my IT band and quads I rely on Recovery Plus Program. Thanks Compex!"
Compex is the Neuromuscular Electrical Muscle Stimulation (NMES) device of choice for athletes, coaches and trainers around the world. Pioneering electrotherapy techniques through extensive research and innovation spanning the last three decades, Compex’s flagship “Muscle Stim” devices are used to improve physical performance, speed recovery in preparation for the next performance, and for rehabilitating the muscle for peak performance.
Compex enables athletes to safely customize their training, exercise more muscle fibers in less time, and recover faster. The result is a more efficient workout with less risk of injury and virtually no cardiovascular fatigue. Learn more at www.ShopCompex.com