Recovery is one of the most important parts of a triathlon program, and there’s a seemingly endless array of often-expensive tools to choose from, all touted as helping you recover faster and more efficiently. While it can be useful to incorporate tools into your mobility and relaxation routines, you probably already own exactly what you need.
Here are five household items that can elevate your recovery game, helping you bounce back faster and hit the road (or trails) with renewed vigour.
Frozen water bottle
An ordinary frozen water bottle can be a dynamic massage tool, perfect for releasing tight feet or soothing plantar fasciitis. Roll it under your feet, targeting the arches and heels. The cold temperature helps reduce inflammation, while the rolling action provides a soothing massage, perfect for post-run foot relief.
Towel or rope
Your everyday bath towel or a piece of rope can double as a versatile stretching aid. Loop it around the sole of your foot for a seated hamstring stretch, or use it to enhance shoulder mobility. Incorporate towel-assisted stretches into your routine to improve flexibility and prevent injuries, or use it during your (free) YouTube-guided yoga class in place of a yoga strap.
Tennis ball or golf ball
Unlock tight spots with a tennis ball, offering precision release for specific muscle areas. Use it against a wall or on the floor to target knots in your back, glutes or feet. Applying controlled pressure can help release tension and improve overall muscle function. Try a golf ball for those tiny, hard-to-reach spots that niggle.
Rolling pin or PVC pipe
Turn your kitchen into a recovery haven with a rolling pin. Use it as you would a foam roller, being sure to use it gently—it won’t have as much give as many foam rollers, but can still provide some effective relief. Roll it gently over your muscles to mimic the benefits of a massage. This DIY approach may aid in breaking down knots and easing muscle tightness, promoting quicker recovery after intense runs.
Some runners swear by Epsom salt baths, others love ice baths. While the science behind the benefits of either is contested, there’s no denying the soothing benefit of easing your body into a warm bath after a long run. A bath can be a great way to bring your body temperature back up after a chilly winter run, and it can help you feel mellow and relaxed before bed.