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Train hard, recover harder


Post by: Mackenzie Madison, Swiftwick athlete.

I constantly remind myself that resting takes confidence. Anyone can train like a mad man, but to embrace rest and to allow all the hard training to come out takes mental strength.” – Ryan Hall.

My training is important. How I train determines how I race. But I can only race when my body is recovering from the day-to-day physical efforts. The above quote by Ryan Hall is one of my favorites. It emphasizes how incredibly important it is to pay amends to recovery. Recovery is king. Always.

Here are a couple ways that I recover smarter and faster as a professional triathlete. I also consistently preach these easy, simple and practical methods to my athletes I coach as well. Too much of the time, we are all about the training hard but not about the recovering harder.

1. Correct Nutrition Timing

What you eat and when is everything. Literately. Nutrition is one of your biggest tools that helps aide your recovery and rebuilding process as an athlete. Some big nutrition mistakes include being dehydrated before, during or after your training, not having enough calories to sufficiently complete your training fresh and not utilizing the 30-minute post workout protein intake period.

One of the important things I’ve switched up this year is having someone else help me with my nutrition, especially help during training and racing, along with helping me figure out why I was bonking all the time! I started recently working with Cristina Caldwell, owner and head nutritionist of Fueled and Focused. We’ve worked on my day-to-day diet along with what I need to do to execute my Ironman and half Ironman training and race nutrition in a better manner. Having an outsider take a closer look at your diet, even if it already seems“healthy,” has been a huge help for me and my athletes as well.

Currently I’m totally digging the new PowerBar Protein Lemon Poppy seed Protein Bars that are gluten free and easy to grab on the way out the door. Or I make one of the many yummy, quick and easy protein shakes from my meal plan.

2. Energy Balance

I am not just a professional triathlete; I am also a triathlon coach, a teacher at the University of Oregon a writer for Freeplay Magazine and a devoted puppy-mom to Vizsla Roo. Life can get pretty hectic at times while owning your own business, your own house, your child-like dog and placing all the other fun job stuff on top. Plus, I like to have fun! But I’ve definitely learned over the past years that I can only do so much multitasking and go-go-going. I need to include several slow the heck down moments.

Another coach told me one of the best analogies I’ve heard as far as understanding daily energy: You have 100 energy/ body stress points each day to give. So many points go to training, so many go to coaching, so many go to my fireball fur-child, so many go to making meals, cleaning etc. Your body can only handle so much. Once you go over that amount you start taking away from the next day, and then the next and so-forth. If you overdo it one day, you will be paying for it in the upcoming days. Your body has a limit.

Understand your efforts and know when you have reached your “100” limit. Being mindful about not overdoing it or at least anticipating having a heavily packed 100 plus point day by adjusting for the following days. This is one thing I really strive to create for my athletes as well. Strategize your life and training together as they are both highly intertwined.

3. Recovery Gear

With recovery, all the little things do matter. In this case, here are some of the key gear pieces I own that really help me each day with helping my body recover more than just what good nutrition, sleep and managing my energy can’t. Every morning- before each and every workout I use my Trigger Point Grid Roller. I even take it when I travel. Everywhere. It is my bread and butter loosen-upper. It helps my body heal and release tight muscle groups helping keep me aligned and centered. It literately saves me from injuries, aches and pains and makes my workouts better. The same thing can be said for my NormaTec Recovery Boot System- except for that “Norma” requires less work than foam rolling as all I have to do is lay on the couch and chill while watching a quick T.V. episode or do some work on the laptop. I am an athlete that retains fluids easily. I get post Ironman “cankles” super easily and even after long days of travel. So using Norma daily helps flush my system out at a top-notch convenience factor.

This article originally appeared on Mackenzie’s blog.

Do you embrace recovery? What are your top tips?

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