"You train hard, so naturally you should chill hard too. But how much chill is needed?"
Training for triathlons is TOUGH. You’re out there running, biking, swimming, strength training and more for multiple hours a week. Some of you, depending on the triathlon distance, can be training for around 15 hours per week. You train hard, so naturally you should chill hard too. But how much chill is needed?
Recovery is a vital part of successful training programs and you should be implementing them into your schedule as well. I’m going to cover a couple different types of recovery strategies starting with a scheduled week of recovery.
Most athletes follow a plan of 3 weeks of hard training followed by 1 week of recovery. If you’re older than 40, some suggest taking more frequent breaks to allow for the body to recover more fully (i.e. 2 weeks hard/1 week recovery). The key is to listen to your body and judge for yourself when you need to take a break.
So, what does this recovery week look like? Despite what some may think, a full sedentary break is not what the doctor ordered. You may feel like you need to sit on your butt the entire week to recover but the best thing you can do for your training is an active recovery and you’ll feel better for it. An active recovery is accomplished by maintaining similar intensity with training but just decreasing the volume of it. During recovery week, focus on recharging your batteries both mentally and physically. Don’t eat as much as you normally would during your high intensity weeks but be sure to eat well. Take the extra time you have to pamper yourself. This could mean taking the time to see your friends, take a nap, get a massage, go to a yoga class, go for a hike, or simply rest.
What about recovery during the hard weeks? HECK YES! Every workout should not be an intense one. Those of you maintaining a daily workout or two should also ensure there’s a good balance of easy runs, rides and swims in the schedule to complement hard interval workouts. The easy workouts are there so your body can still get some work done but simultaneously recover from the hard stuff. If that means a “snail pace,” then so be it. Some days your body might entirely revolt, and you may feel like skipping a workout. Do so strategically. In addition, it’s not uncommon for athletes to schedule a day off during their hard weeks anyway. If you feel ok and you’re confident it wouldn’t negatively impact your future hard weeks, do one of your easy workouts. If you feel like you need an extra day off to feel better, do that! Again, it’s time to train smart and that involves listening to your body’s cues. There’s no better judge than yourself!
Triathlon training, or even training for any type of race, involves careful placement of rest and recovery. One of the biggest take home messages from above is to be truthful with yourself and your training. Listen to your body but, don’t self-sabotage (trick yourself into thinking you’re too tired to work out when you’re actually just feeling lazy)! Work an active recovery week into your training schedule and be sure to take a day off during your hard week if you feel you need it. A happy and healthy body and mind is a strong body that’s ready to race!
Written By: Missy Verhaeghe, Tri Sirena Siren Luminary
Follow Missy on Instagram @thiswildchildruns
Are you allowing yourself enough time to recover? Let us know in the comments below!
This blog was created for informational purposes only. It's content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or online.