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The Triathlete Blueprint newsletter #09-Recovery: How to Bounce Back After a Triathlon

Updated: Apr 8









Read time: 3min.

By Coach Yan Busset



Many athletes neglect the key aspect of proper recovery after completing a challenging triathlon.


The high physical demands of a triathlon can leave the body fatigued for long. Without proper recovery, athletes may suffer from longer muscle soreness, lowering performance in future races, and an increased risk of injury.


What if there was a way to optimise post-triathlon recovery, enabling a faster and more efficient healing process? By implementing specific strategies, athletes can be back faster to normal training.


To optimise your recovery after a triathlon, follow these key recommendations:




Rest and Sleep:

Get plenty of rest; sleep is the simplest yet most effective recovery tool. Your body needs time to repair and recover from the intense physical exertion. Aim for 7-9 hours of average quality sleep each night.



Active Recovery:

Engage in light, low-impact activities to promote blood flow and aid in recovery. Avoid running too soon, but instead, try gentle swimming or easy cycling. These activities help flush out metabolic waste and reduce muscle soreness. ( See connected article here: Are rest day overrated? )


Nutrition:

Focus on replenishing your body with healthy carbs and proteins. Proteins are essential for rebuilding damaged muscle fibers, which will reduce muscle pain in the days following the race. Stay hydrated, get electrolytes, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant properties.



Gradual Return to Training:

How long will the recovery period last? It will depend on the duration of the race and your training volume. Allow your body enough time to recover physically and mentally before resuming intense training. Start with light workouts and gradually increase the intensity and duration over several weeks. This approach helps prevent overtraining and reduces the risk of injury. Typically, you will have a period of total rest, followed by a light training period (Zone 1-2), before getting back to normal. The higher your initial fitness level was before the race, the faster you will recover. For a sprint, take 1-2 days off, and total recovery/ramp-up time might take 5-7 days. For an Olympic distance, it can take twice as long, and twice more for a half-distance, and for a full distance, it can take up to 1-2 months to be fully recovered from the race.


Mental Recovery:

After the highs and excitement of the race, some people experience "post A-race blues." Feeling a bit empty after accomplishing their goals, added to central overhaul fatigue. You can avoid this by having a gradual return to training but also by projecting yourself and, with the help of your coach, setting the next fitness or racing goal. If you loved that race flow and feel depressed after the race, an easy fix is to plan for the next one ;)




Remember that recovery is a highly individual process, and it's important to listen to your body. Also, remember that it took a long time to build your fitness to its current level. So, don't throw it away by indulging in junk food and completely stopping all training. Take time to reflect on your race, celebrate your accomplishments, and set new goals. Respect your body, rest, but also don't sit on your laurels for too long. After a few days, start thinking about your next fitness and race goals, so you can continue to build and ramp up your fitness to the next level. Triathlon is not just a bucket list item; it's a lifestyle.



SUMMARY:

-Get rest and sleep

-Start with light Z1-2 active recover activities

-replenishing your body with healthy carbs and proteins

-Recovery period will depends on your race length and fitness level

-To avoid "post A-race blues", project yourself with the help of your coach toward next goals


Thank you for reading and see you next week!


 

Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:


1. If you are looking for support for your triathlon journey, I recommend you book a 30min 1on1 video consultation with me here.


2. If you are looking for an online coaching service check here.


3. if you are in the Helsinki area and looking for the best training group check here


 

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