So, you just did your first triathlon this past weekend. Or maybe it was your first of the season and, wow, your sore. Here are some recovery methods you can implement following a triathlon or training session.
The first is compression. You may see people running around in high colourful socks, tight shorts or leggings. No this is not meant to be a fashion statement, although some may argue it is. Compression socks, tights, etc., are a useful recovery tool from a hard training session or race. Many people wear these after a race as they lounge around the house. However, some do wear the compression attire during cool downs or training sessions following a race. The rationale is that the compression increases blood flow from the muscles, back to the heart. Therefore, if you’re able to improve blood flow, you can clean out excess lactic acid in your muscles following a hard effort.
The second is ice baths. Now, these are not for the faint of heart, but they are effective. This recovery method isn’t as technological advance as compression shorts or electrical stimulation, but there is a reason why athletes have been using this method for years. IT’S BECAUSE IT WORKS! Also, it is cheap! Turn your bath tap to cold, fill up your tub and jump in. Ideally, you should do this following a race or hard training session to reduce soreness. Try to tough it out for 10 minutes. It is also effective to do a hot-cold contrast if you have the resources available (i.e. a tub and shower or hot-tub and cold pool).
The third is a massage. Now for this one you can book a massage with a sports therapist, or you can invest in a foam roller. Getting a message from a sports therapist is probably something you want to consider. It isn’t one of those relaxing messages; the therapist is going to go right where you need releasing and its probably going to ‘hurt’, but you’ll be thankful after. The foam roller is an effective way to keep your body in good health throughout the week. Try to ‘roll’ lightly before and session and implement it into your cool down routine.
The fourth is a light spin of the legs on the bike. Unlike running, biking is a non-impact sport, so you can spin at a high cadence without causing stress to your joints. This is a useful post-race recovery tool and something to do in the days following a race. It is also an excuse to go out for an easy spin of the legs with your friends and stop at a local coffee shop.
Lastly, sleep. There is no substitute for sleep. Make sure you are getting the rest you need so you can get back to training and the rest of your season.