On the Road to Recovery

News & Results

02/11/2005| 0 comments
by Mike Niederpruem, MS, CSCS

On the Road to Recovery

One of the most common training errors is training too hard on recovery days, and not hard enough on the "hard" days.

have regeneration weeks regularly placed every 4-6 weeks as an effective part of your training plan. Regeneration weeks include both a reduction in volume (as much as 50%) and intensity (no sustained efforts at or above lactate threshold). A typical regeneration week may consist of the following:

MON

TUE

WED

THU

FRI

SAT

SUN

Active Recovery

Active Recovery

REST

High Intensity Training (Reduced)

Active Recovery

Active Recovery

RACE

Some times, when you are racing at the end of a regeneration week, it is preferable to "open up" or activate the energy systems used during high intensity training and racing to avoid feeling flat at the beginning of a race or training session. Two or three short (3-5 minute) intense efforts, performed the day before the race, may help prime your systems for action.

MON

TUE

WED

THU

FRI

SAT

SUN

Active Recovery

Active Recovery

High Intensity Training (Reduced)

Active Recovery

Active Recovery

Energy Systems Activation

RACE

Additionally, there are a number of steps as athlete can employ to further facilitate recovery and replenishment of muscle glycogen as quickly as possible. These steps include:

1.      Employ active recovery as often as possible.
For most athletes and situations, active recovery (i.e., as light training below the level needed to introduce a training load or stimulus) is generally preferred over passive recovery (complete rest) as a primary component of training. Active recovery actually allows faster recovery from intense racing or training than passive recovery. Active recovery rides are relatively short (30 - 90 minutes), performed at moderate cadences (75-95 rpm), and low intensities (below 65% of HR maximum). Active recovery increases blood flow to the working muscles without causing additional fatigue. This increased blood flow helps restore nutrients (glycogen), remove waste products, and also helps facilitate a reduction in muscle soreness.

2.      Ensure passive recovery is both qualitatively and quantitatively high.
Passive recovery is also known as complete rest. The best form of complete rest is sleep, and athletes need 8-10 hours nightly. Be aware of changes in sleep patterns over time, especially when they begin to occur gradually and recur over time. Also, consider incorporating naps (45 - 90 minutes) into your daily routine. Sleeping heart rate can also be monitored and evaluated with downloadable heart rate monitors, further helping evaluate the quality of sleep.

3.      Develop an effective nutrition/hydration regime.

 

Common mistakes made in this area are numerous and include:

 

1.      Eating too few, too large meals throughout the day.
Instead, try to consume 4-5 smaller meals more frequently. This allows for more effective and complete absorption of nutrients.

2.      Meals that are not balanced nutritionally (excessive carbohydrate intake, too little protein and fat intake).
This type of diet actually inhibits the recovery process, and leads to insufficient caloric intake over time. It is O.K. for the composition of your meals to change throughout the day, depending on where they are with respect to training. However, your total diet composition over the long-term should be close to 60-70% carbohydrates, 15-20% protein, and 15-20% fats.

3.     

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