Good recovery for improved fitness
There are many ways and means of recovering after training or competition. Key elements include drinking, nutrition and sleep.
“Training doesn’t improve performance, it makes you tired. Many recreational runners forget this and train too much”, says marathon expert Viktor Röthlin. The training effect, known as supercompensation, only kicks in during the recovery period after training. This is when your fitness improves and your body becomes more efficient. So, if you want to make progress, you always need a good balance between training and recovery. Recovery also plays a key role in preventing overstrain and injuries and strengthening the immune system.
Replenishing energy levels
Regeneration means giving the body back what it used up during training. “Immediately after training or competition you should drink something to compensate for the loss of fluids”, explains Viktor. To replenish your energy levels you need to balance your carbohydrate and protein intake depending on your performance or training objective. The third key element in regeneration is to get enough sleep so the body can recover. Once you’ve got fluids, nutrition and sleep covered, you can focus on other active and passive means of recovery:
Recovery doesn’t mean doing no sport, it means you’ve got to shake things up a little. Go swimming, for example. This activates new muscle groups, avoids unilateral strain and improves your coordination, too.
A professional massage eases tight tissues, tension and stiffness and accelerates the process of regenerating tired muscles.
The heat relaxes your muscles (and your mind), thus helping the process of regeneration. A session in the sauna also stimulates blood circulation.
Take a hot bath before going to bed to relax your muscles. The water temperature should be between 36 and 38 degrees, i.e. approximately your core body temperature. Special bath additives can increase the healing effect.
Doing yoga regularly will improve your flexibility and strength, which helps prevent injury. What’s more, focused breathing while running can also improve your performance.
Rolling helps soften hardened and overstretched tissues and muscles and helps you feel limber again. And rolling with a blackroll significantly reduces the chance of muscle soreness.
As part of the recovery process, it’s also important to treat yourself once in a while. As Viktor says: “If you do exercise, it’s fine to treat yourself to a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate now and again”.