Sunday, March 14, 2010

Let's talk recovery

I want to talk recovery.

I have bitten off a lot this season. 3 Half Ironman races and my first marathon will define this season, not to mention a slew of running races and probably 1 or 2 smaller triathlons thrown into the mix.

This means that my training load currently is and will continue to be through the roof this year!....which means that my body is gonna be hurtin!..... A LOT!..... ALL THE TIME!

So far this year I have racked up 56,800 yards in the pool, 783 miles on the bike, and around 207 miles running. These #'s are significant to ME because last year it took me till the very end of April to reach the same yardage in the pool, the middle of April on the bike, and the very end of April to reach the same running mileage.

So I am 4-6 weeks ahead of last year, and so far my body is feeling it. Thankfully a lot of you have given me a lot of recovery tips including stretching more, foam rolling, ice baths and protein shakes. Between those 4 things and general rest, I think I am winning the battle. (famous last words!)

It really is a battle! The war is the entire season, and all of these little battles are doing a super long and hard workout or race and trying to recover in time for the next battle.

So far this is my recovery method after a long run or ride:
  • Make Chocolate Banana Protein Shake
  • Stretch (drink shake)
  • Foam roll (drink rest of shake)
  • Ice bath!
  • Let legs warm up
  • Shower
  • Hit the water and food
  • DON'T stop moving
I make the shake as soon as I get in the door to get some food into me. While drinking it, I stretch my hamstrings, calves, glutes and quads, then hit them all again on the foam roller. For the ice bath, I hop into an empty tub wearing my cycling or running shorts WITH a jersey and arm warmers. Wearing layers on my top half makes the ice bath really easy to do. The cold isn't that bad really! After getting out of the bath, I like to warm up naturally as I find turning on the hot shower immediately is too much of a shock. After I do take a shower, I hit the water pretty hard to rehydrate and to flush out the crap in my muscles, and I eat some more food.

I wrote, "DON'T stop moving" because after my 25K two weeks ago, I went to the movies and sat for 2 hours. Standing up and walking was an overstatement of what my brain wanted to do, and yet my body couldn't. Just standing or getting up and walking around to keep the blood flowing is enough I think to prevent the dreaded soreness. Good luck during the night!....ya gotta sleep at some point!!!

I'm interested in your take on my process. Should I rearrange my process? Do anything additional? Do you any of you use compression tights?

Thanks to you all for giving me the above tips. They ALL really do help.


  1. YES! Don't stop moving is soooo true! as much as i want to kick my feet up after a marathon, i force myself to keep moving...especially the next day. even thought i don't and usually can't run the next day, i get on the bike and it really helps work some of that deep soreness out. you have really improved over last years numbers. gotta love the numbers...they don't lie! keep up the great work!

  2. Your numbers are great Jon!

    We have some similar recovery techniques. My foam roller is my best fried. I start and end each day with a visit to the foam roller.

    I only tolerate ice baths if I run over 20miles -- but I might take your tip and go in with clothes on - the boys will be much happier!!

    I drink a Protein Shake every morning with breakfast and feel additional soreness if I don't. One thing I do different after my workouts is immediately drink First Endurance's Ultragen(Going to do a Product Review this week). Aside from the protein and amino acids it also is 340 calories which my body just absorbs up big time!! I have tried Hammer's Recoverite but prefer Ultragen. Check it out, it may help over the long season.

  3. Congrats on your rock!

    Your recovery routine sounds great. I actually have Zoot recovery tights that I absolutely love to help with my recovery. So, this is usually my routine:
    1. Get home and make a glass of choco. milk
    2. Stretch while drinking milk
    3. Take a shower
    4. Put on recovery tights for as long as I can

    Like I said, I love my tights. They have the perfect amount of compression, so they're tight, but not uncomfortable in the least bit. Let me know if you have any other questions about them!

  4. That sounds like a really good process, I should probably get me one of those...soon. Hope you don't mind if I base mine off of yours with some tweaks here and there.

  5. You are really kicking some big time butt with those hard and challenging workouts:) I have never had to have an ice bath and think you were pretty clever to put on arm warmers:) It was fun to read the comments that other athletes left you...good to know! Have a good one little bro!

  6. u go in the bath with ur clothes? thats interesting! i have never taken an ice bath. they kinda freak me out!!! a lot!!! haha

    and i know what you mean about 'dont stop moving'. my fave thing to do after a long run or race is to go to sleep. and when i wake up, i am worse than i was before.
    i need to remember that for next time!
    great ideas for recovery. thnx!!

  7. Your recovery plan looks very similar to mine. I add an extra rolling in the evening if I'm still sore. Definitely keep moving. Have you thought about compression? I know someone else mentioned tights. I find my calves get lots of love from compression socks after a long day. Just a thought!

    And awesome numbers so far this year! Doesn't it feel great?

  8. sound like you have it all covered. I have my first ice bath (as per coach) this week coming up. I'm kind of not looking forward to it.

    I do own compression tights and socks (not the expensive ones, but the medical grade ones you get cheap on Amazon that work just as good). I like both and have actually slept in my socks once or twice; calves felt great int he morning.

    Hope you survived that awful storm. It forced my inside on the 'mill for two hours!!! Somehow my sanity is still intact.

  9. Your flat out impressive, keep it up


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