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10 Shortcuts For Recovering From a Workout In Record Time

So, you just had a hard workout and you’re tired and sore. You’ve already checked out our recovery meal suggestions, I hope, but here are some additional ideas for you to try.

  1. REST! This sounds obvious but I know athletes that will hammer through a track session or hill intervals on the bike then go home, shower, eat, and go out for a hike with the family or some other activity. For easier workouts this isn’t that big of a deal, but for key/hard workouts you need to allow time to recover immediately after a workout. As a triathlon coach, when an athlete tells me they have 2 hours to train, I will give them a 75 min workout with a 45min session that I like to call a “chill” session. This is where they mostly just lay down and do some of the techniques below.
  2. COMPRESS. When it comes to the science of compression gear, research goes back and forth on its effectiveness. That being said I know 100s of athletes who swear by their compression socks or calf sleeves. I personally wear a pair of knee-high compression socks after all of my hard run sessions and notice a difference (especially when combined with Ice).
  3. ICE. Not only is ice effective for dealing with an injury, but its great for recovering from a sore muscle. I recommend taking it a step further than icing a muscle and taking an entire ice bath. Simply fill up your bathtub with ice and cold water, then get in. While it will shock you at first, soon it will feel ok. Try to stay in the cold ice/water for at least 15 minutes. If you live near a cold body of water taking ice baths is even easier (See me above sitting in Lake Tahoe after a XTERRA Triathlon).
  4. FUEL AROUND YOUR WORKOUT PROPERLY. Recovery starts before you even workout with how you fuel your body. Also what you eat afterward can affect your recovery. See How to Take Charge of Your Pre-Workout Meal and Post Workout Recovery Meals for more information.
  5. EAT CLEAN. Not only is eating before and after your workout important for recovery. But in order to bounce back fresh after a workout your entire diet needs to be good. By good I mean anti-inflammatory. I recommend including anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and cold-water fish. Also I recommend trying to avoid gluten and items that contain wheat as they cause a lot of inflammation in the body.
  6. SLEEP. If you can’t sleep like champion, you can’t train like a champion. Of all the shortcuts listed in this article, sleep is by far the most important. Take your sleep just as, if not more, important than training sessions and you will be well on your way to feeling recovered after hard workouts. See 10 Sleep Hacks for Any Athlete for ways to get better sleep.
  7. REST ACTIVELY: Every workout within a training week can’t be hard. In fact, scheduling workouts that way will quickly lead to overtraining and injury. Instead of taking days off after hard workouts, doing active rest workouts can have you feeling better faster. My go to active rest workout is 45-75 minutes of easy spinning on the bike. If I can hear myself breathing I know I’m going too hard and need to dial back the effort.
  8. MASSAGE. Ideally an endurance athlete should get weekly massages, however, this is a pretty expensive service to add on top of all the other money spent on endurance sports. Therefore you should give yourself a massage with a foam roller. I recommend foam rolling at least 5 times a week to really break up muscle damage and speed recovery.
  9. SUPPLEMENT. In one-way or another all the supplements I recommend in last month article Top 5 Supplements All Athletes Should Take help with recovery.
  10. LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE. Lastly, when recovering after a hard workout, look at the big picture of your training. How will today’s hard workout affect tomorrows? How much time do I need to recover? These are all questions you need to ask yourself if you’re a self-coached athlete. Assuming you have planned your season properly look at each workout within a week and see how they will affect each other when it comes to recovery

About The Author

Brad Haag is a Triathlon Coach, Personal Trainer, and a National Qualifying Triathlete. As a graduate of Ben Greenfield’s Superhuman Coach program, Brad specializes in coaching endurance and warrior class athletes to peak performance. He can be found at HaagsAthletics.com or as a featured coach at PacificFit.net


About Eric H. Doss

Eric is a triathlete and writer. He has competed in all distances of triathlons, from sprints to full Ironman distance races. He founded FitEgg.com in 2009 to meet the increasing need for professional, unbiased reviews of triathlon gear.

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