Race Recovery Tips with Caroline Wöstmann
Powerade’s ‘Power to Beat Your Best’ aims to provide athletes with the tools to achieve a personal best time and will be working with a number of South Africa’s foremost running, cycling and training experts to challenge athletes to beat their best in 2017.
Multiple Two Oceans Marathon and Comrades Marathon champion Caroline Wöstmann shares her tips on race recovery:
Like all things in life, finding the balance between training and recovery is incredibly important for a runner. When you lose that balance, you often end up injured. You will often find yourself looking at your training load and thinking “well, it is the same as it was last year, so I should manage it again”. But you do not take into account what is going on in the rest of your life and the effect that has on your body and you forget about rest and recovery. Training is only part of the formula.
If you are having a stressful week, rather back off on training – do less mileage or no high intensity speed work because your body can only deal with so much. Physical training is physical stress – if you have emotional stress as well, your body will not recover properly. If you are struggling to fall asleep at night or are waking up during the night, it is a sign you have too much stress. Listen to your body.
The scope of your recovery depends on how much your training load is. You do not have to do as intensive recovery if you are not training as intensely. Making sure you get enough sleep is important. If you are training 200km a week, you should ideally have a nap during the day, after getting a solid 8 hours at night. I take a 1-hour nap in the day between my morning and evening sessions.
The second most important thing after sleep, is nutrition. If you are expending huge amounts of energy and missing a meal, your body does not have anything to rebuild with. You need to replace what you are expending, being careful not to eat too much, which can mean you put on weight. I find it is important that I eat something immediately after my session – ideally within 15-45 minutes.
In an ideal world, you will be able to take some time off work to focus on training and recovery. If you have big goals, taking a couple of weeks off after your heaviest training load means you will have more time to recover – and the time away should lower all the other stresses in your life, too.
Having an ice bath after a quality session really helps recovery, but I would only recommend doing that after a hard race or a long run, because it is not fun for anyone. It is only for when you are pushing your body to extremes. The optimal time seems to be immersing yourself for 10 minutes, at 8-12 degrees. Sports massage works well too – a 30-60 min massage every week loosens up the muscles.
Tapering is important to the recovery process too. Once you’ve done all the training, tapering reduces the load and gives the body more time to recover – and recovery makes you stronger.
For more information on ‘Power to Beat Your Best’ visit www.powerade.co.za , the official hydration partner of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the Cape Town Cycle Tour.
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