Among athletes and, in particular, triathletes there are many Type A personalities. There are also some big egos and macho attitudes even among the female triathletes. The more the better. There was a time when back in the 80’s and 90’s that the more miles you did swimming, biking, and running the more you should do. The more the better with little regard to recovery. It was almost a badge of courage to see how much more you could do with little rest.
Fortunately, those predominate attitudes have changed. Medical science has shown us what economists have always known that there is a law of diminishing returns. The longer you workout the weaker and slower you get. A person develops micro tears in the muscles and micro cracks in the bones. It is a natural process. Now after the workout(s) if you fuel your body with proper nutrition and give it rest, it heals itself. The body’s healing process will now make your body stronger and fitter. You become a better athlete and now you will be able to perform at a higher level for a longer period of time the next time you train or race.
A key is healthy nutrition with lean proteins, leafy greens, nuts and plenty of fruits and vegetables. And lots of water. Preferably give your body some protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes after exercise.
Another key is rest. Try to get 8 hrs. sleep and if that is not possible see if you can get a short nap in. If your body feels tired or worn down take a day off from working out. Your body will thank you. By doing this you will also avoid injuries and those micro cracks from becoming stress fractures.
What is great about being a triathlete is that you can swim one day, ride your bike the next and then run on another day. By doing this you automatically give specific muscles and bones some rest even while continuing working out. Don’t forget to give yourself a day or two of strength training, too, in particular your core. This form of training will help you stay injury free, also.
Recovery is a very important component in becoming a better triathlete. Cross training helps in recovery, too. It is active recovery. Play some tennis or basketball. This way you work your latitude movements, too, instead of just the linear training triathletes do. Yes, rest and recovery is good. You avoid, not only injuries, but also burnout and overtraining.
Relaxing and enjoying accomplishments is not only rewarding, but it is healthy.
USAT Florida Region Board Member