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How to Nail Recovery as a Triathlete

Be honest, do you prioritize recovery?

Every triathlete can probably be doing more in terms of recovery. For how much we like to train, this always seems to get put on the back burner. However, proper recovery is essential to allow muscles to repair, prevent injury and restore energy. Think of adequate recovery as the foundation of consistent training, adaptation, and overall health.

So, how do you promote recovery? One way is through massage or acupuncture. Massage helps relax muscles, reduce muscle soreness, and improve circulation, helping remove waste products like lactic acid. It also promotes relaxation and reduces stress. Acupuncture can help with pain and release muscle tension, also enhance blood flow and reduce inflammation. If you are in the Santa Cruz area, check out Root Acupuncture for quality care from a licensed acupuncturist.

But what can you do at home to supplement an acupuncture or massage appointment? Here are some simple yet effective strategies that every triathlete can incorporate into their daily lives (no excuses!).

Stay hydrated. This might sound basic, but proper hydration is so important. We often think about hydrating before, during and after training or in the context of race nutrition. But while you are at work or at rest, staying hydrated is needed for cellular functioning, digestion, cognitive function, energy levels, etc. Becoming dehydrated can lead to issues with your muscle tissue and increase the risk of injury. Make it a habit to drink enough water throughout the day.. if you are well-hydrated, your body is better equipped to handle the demands of training and racing.

Nutrition matters. Believe it or not, nutrition does play a role in athletic performance and recovery. For example, ensuring you get enough protein is essential for muscle building and repair. Whether you follow an omnivore, vegan, or vegetarian diet, focus on getting the right amino acids your body needs. Eat a variety of foods (“eat the rainbow”), include complex carbohydrates (ex: rice), and eat enough - don’t try to starve yourself, this will only negatively affect your training. A balanced diet fuels your workouts and aids in recovery.

Rest. Sometimes, the most productive thing you can do is rest. Pushing too hard without adequate recovery can lead to burnout and injury. Consider working with a coach who can help you find the right balance in your training regimen. They'll ensure you're not overworking yourself and they can tailor your plan to your individual needs.

Focus on sleep. Don't underestimate the power of a good night's sleep. When you're asleep, your body repairs and heals muscles. Aim for quality sleep to allow your body the time it needs to recover properly. Good sleep hygiene includes things like turning off screens an hour before bed, sleeping in a cool environment, not eating right before bed, having a consistent sleep schedule and managing stress.

Stretch. Stretching or yoga are often overlooked but this can actually improve your athletic performance. Stretching helps your connective tissues elongate gradually, making them more resilient during intense training sessions. It's helps prevent injuries, as muscles and tendons don't naturally like to stretch.

Explore herbs and topicals. Natural remedies like herbs and topicals can complement your recovery routine. These can be particularly helpful for addressing specific injuries, whether chronic or acute. Consult with a healthcare professional to find the right ones for you.

Looking to try massage or acupuncture? Contact Root Acupuncture if you are in the Santa Cruz area.

Want to join a supportive squad from anywhere in the world? Join TCMTriSquad and have the option of receiving personalized coaching.

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