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Recovery Tips by Tara Lazarski

November 15th, 2013

Recovery Tips

A hot topic of discussion, and one of my main roles as head therapist with the Canadian National cycling team, is that of post workout recovery. What should you eat? How long should you roll for? Are ice baths a good idea or a bad idea? What about compression gear? The questions are endless, and so are the products on the market and the literature on the topic.  

The most recent research is actually starting show us that as long as what you are doing  (massage, ice baths, rolling, etc) makes you feel better and decreases your perceived  pain, then it is working to do exactly that!

Below I define recovery and give various tips on creating a routine.

Recovery is the process that happens within the body to repair tissues, ensuring improved strength, endurance and performance.

The following are areas that affect recovery and should be considered when creating a recovery routine:

Nutrition

  • Balanced Diet
  • Pre Ride, During Ride, Post Ride all important
  • Find foods that work for you
  • Consult a specialist in this field for specifics

Warm up/Cold Down

  • Pre: Proper warm up to ensure prepared for workout
  • During: active recovery between intervals (interval dependant)
  • Post: active recovery and gradual decrease in heart rate and muscle activity
  • Consult your coach to come up with specifics for you and your workout.

Sleep

  • No shame in napping (20-30 minutes)
  • Most of our recovery occurs while sleeping

Stretching/Self Massage

  • Helps to flush lactic acid build up, maintain muscle length, prevent injury
  • Hold stretches for 30-60 seconds, repeat 2-3x each muscle group
  • Foam roller/tennis ball
  • Post ride is best, but anytime is better than never
  • Consult your therapist for guidance on proper technique and parameters.

Ice/Heat

  • Cold baths (bath tub as tolerated)
  • Contrast baths (alternate hot/cold)
  • Ice if pain, swollen, red, hot, new
  • Heat if tight, old

Be aware of your body

  • Posture (desk, sleep)
  • Bike Position/Fit
  • Don’t ignore injuries
  • Get help when need
  • Again, do not hesitate to consult a therapist for advice on posture, or with injuries, as it will effect your ability to recover

I am by no means a specialist in all of these areas, but that is the beauty of our team at Catalyst Kinetics. We have specialists in all of these areas, who can properly assess and give advice on what the best approach for you and your body are. I have touched on these various areas as they are all important to the body’s recovery process, which in turn affects the ultimate goal of performance.

Key Points

  • Your recovery should be at an intensity that you do not have to recover from. For example, if you are in pain after your massage or foam rolling, then it was too much.
  • Your routine should be realistic. If you only have 10 extra minutes after your workout, come up with a 10 minute routine, so that you actually do it!!
  • Post workout is best, but anytime throughout the day is better than none
  • If it makes you feel betterand decreases your perceived pain, it is helping you recover!

Sample Recovery Routine

  • Post workout nutrition addressed
  • 10 minutes foam rolling and stretching, focusing on the areas that are sore/tight at an intensity that is comfortable (and does not create more soreness)
  • Cold bath (as tolerated 30 seconds-5 minutes)

For more information, specific questions, or for help developing a recovery routine contact tara@catalystkinetics.com.