How to Recover Fast Between Races
On the last two Spartan Race weekends I managed back-to-back wins (Ottawa Super and UltraBeast and Red Deer Super and Sprint). And I have been getting a lot of questions as to how I recover.
Here’s my Top Five List:
- Training – I train hard and long days back to back so my body is pretty used to getting a beat down a couple days in a row. Usually I try to vary the stress if my body feels off like a long run followed by day of power hiking in the mountains or pulling the kids around in a bike carrier on a hilly route.
- Nutrition Window – Almost the first thing I try to do is get something into me. You have about thirty minutes to get some fuel in. Basically your muscles are like sponges during that time and primed to soak it up. You also want some protein to start muscle repair. Experts say 3 or 4 grams of carb to each gram of protein but really, just get a little protein in there and you’re good. You also need water to break those carbs down so drink up. Depending on the race I usually head straight to the Thirsty Buddha or chocolate milk tent. I also have a handful of bars and a bottle of water in my drop bag just in case.
- Active Recovery – Honestly, I’m too lazy for cool-down jogs but I do try to walk it out a bit before I hose down. I also spend a much longer time warming up and start off way slower on day two to give my body more time to get race ready. Plus, my kids love pools and we’re usually travelling race weekends so I end up spending the afternoon floating around in water shaking things out.
- Body Work – I a huge believer in doing your own mobility work. I have a pre-race and post-race routine. I’m also fortunate to pack around a registered massage therapist with me (my husband) who understands the sport. But if you didn’t marry into mobility, that’s fine. Just carry a portable foam roller and some balls with you.
- Relax – It’s not only your body that just took a huge hit, racing is also mentally and emotionally taxing. With two little bitty kids we don’t get to watch movies as often as I’d like so between races I look forever to curling up and watching one. It’s also important to remember not to take it too seriously if you have a double race weekend. Have fun out there and take the pressure down a notch. It may be normal in our sport, but being able to finish two races back-to-back is pretty darn amazing!