Recovery is the key to the success of our performance. This is the phase during which our body will recover from its efforts and eventually heal certain wounds or alleviate possible pain.
This phase is absolutely essential to feel fit again and to achieve good performance during your next training session. And the sooner your body recovers, the sooner you can start training again. A body that is given enough recovery time will be less prone to injury and more likely to work hard because it is after training that your body will develop its performance.
It is important to understand that your body will get tired during the effort. Your bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons are under considerable stress and your energy reserves are depleted, which will first of all lead to a decrease in performance. But once the training is over, your body will start to restructure: “by giving it the necessary time, your body will use this recovery phase to develop its physical capacities and restore new quality resources. If your body does not have enough time for this process and therefore cannot recover completely before your next workout, your performance may stagnate or even decrease. ” explains Sascha Wingenfeld, our expert in running.
THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO RECOVER
Recovery passive : this is about resting your body based solely on your ability to recover and hoping that you will be able to regenerate yourself as quickly as possible.
Recovery active : it includes all actions (stretching, massages…) aimed at helping the body to recover more quickly and effectively. “In this way, you can resume training faster and increase its intensity, which will lead to an increase in your performance.
THE MOST EFFECTIVE RECOVERY METHODS ARE AS FOLLOWS
- THE CALMING PHASE
Always end a training session with a “calm down” phase. Over the last 10 minutes, gradually reduce the intensity of your run to reach a recovery rate. By doing this, your metabolism and cardiovascular system will slowly return to normal functioning. It will also allow you to limit muscle acidity and some accumulations. This decrease in intensity will accelerate the transition to the recovery phase and prevent the body from re-mobilizing too quickly.
- THE EXPANSIONS
Do a short stretching session after each workout to reduce the first muscle tensions and prepare your muscles for new performances. These stretches will soften your muscles but will also have a relaxing effect on body and mind during the calming phase.
- COLD/HOT SHOWERS (KNEIPP METHOD)
After a training session, you will have to shower anyway. So take the opportunity to do something good for your muscles: shower for 30 to 40 seconds, alternating very cold and hot water. Repeat this process about 5 to 8 times. Cold water will relieve muscle aches and pains that lead to aches and pains, while warm water stimulates blood circulation and relaxes your tendons and muscles.
- THE ICE BATH
A particularly intense running session can cause muscle microtrauma. An ice bath will reduce the blood supply to the muscles and thus reduce inflammation or stop the internal bleeding of these injuries. After an ice bath, the blood circulation of the muscles is considerably stimulated, which will also help the body to get rid of metabolic waste and other toxins. Simply fill your bathtub with water at about 8°C and immerse your legs completely. Stay in this ice-cold water for about 5 minutes and then let your body warm up on its own.
- ACTIVE RELAXATION TRAINING
There is a direct link between body and mind. Our thoughts have the power to control certain reactions in our body. This natural law is the foundation of all forms of active relaxation, including autogenous training, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, yoga and much more. A 10-minute relaxation program is sufficient to reduce tension and lactate concentration in the muscles. It is up to you to test these different methods and find the one that does you the most good.
- THE SAUNA
The sauna is also an excellent way to relax your body and mind. With heat, muscles relax and their blood circulation increases considerably. As a result, the pain is relieved and muscle regeneration in general is accelerated. Your body will also feel a form of inner peace and mental relaxation, which will also help reduce muscle tension and stimulate regeneration. But don’t forget to drink plenty of water to compensate for the loss of fluids due to sweating and also keep in mind that a visit to the sauna will significantly reduce your muscle tone, which may result in a decrease in your performance the next day. So avoid the sauna the day before a competition!
- THE FOOD Always try to fill your reserves after training to provide your body with all the energy it needs to regenerate itself. A good combination of complex carbohydrates (such as whole wheat products for example) and protein will stimulate the body’s recovery process. Proteins help muscles to regenerate and stabilize insulin levels. Also, be sure to hydrate well to compensate for fluid loss: depending on the intensity of your workout, your body will need 500 to 700 ml of water per hour of training. The performance of your muscles in particular depends on constant hydration. Also avoid drinking alcohol: your liver must expend a lot of energy during training and if it has to deal with metabolizing the alcohol it consumes, it will be twice as stressed. But that’s not all: alcohol slows down the regeneration process and therefore your chances of achieving good performance during your next training session.
- THE SLEEP Sleeping is the simplest and most effective method to allow our body to recover. It is when we sleep that our body will repair minor injuries or traumas related to training and muscle growth will take place. Depending on the intensity of your training, you should sleep between 7 and 8 hours a night. And be careful: a lack of sleep will slow down your metabolism, damage the regeneration process, your morale and weaken your immune system, not to mention the cravings you will have to fight against.