Day in the Life:
Secret to Elite Performance: Rest and Recovery
Even with an Olympic Silver Medal and Ironman World Championship under my belt, my athletic endeavors are far from over. I continue to race as well as coach athletes to personal bests and World Champion podium finishes. I am currently training for the Para Triathlon World Championships to be a guide for blind athletes. I’m also training for upcoming triathlons, running events and horseback riding competitions.
To train as much as I do, efficiency and time management are key. My typical day consists of an early workout, an afternoon workout, and plenty of coaching work in between. Below is a snapshot example of my fitness regimen on Tuesdays:
My “O” includes:
- Morning Run Intervals for 8-10 miles total
- Afternoon Swim 3000-4000 meters
- Evening Functional Fitness Session at CrossFit 760
- Oatmeal with granola in the morning
- Turkey salad for lunch
- Dinner is a large portion of protein (usually fish) with grilled veggies
- Snacks are nuts, sliced apples and my all time favorite Nutella and cottage cheese on rice cakes
In my coaching, I find that a tremendous number of athletes fail to fully utilize recovery as a training tool. Recovery is essential to muscle and tissue repair and increasing performance. To maximize all the hours of training you spend trying to reach your goals, it’s critical to leverage the power of recovery.
Here are my Top 10 Tips to Use Owaves to Aid Recovery and Boost Your Training:
- Replace Your Fluids (particularly as the weather warms up)
Ensuring you are fully hydrated before training can help reduce the stress of an intense workout. Keeping your hydration topped off during workouts also helps to enhance the speed of your recovery. Whenever you schedule Exercise into your day on Owaves, include a note that says “H2O” or “hydrate” as a reminder. Consider adding a 15 to 30 min Nutrition segment immediately after your workout as well totally dedicated to replacing the fluids you have lost through sweating.When it’s hot, adding a little sodium can not only help with potential cramps, but facilitate the hydration process.
- Eating 30 Minutes After Exercising (a combination of carbs and protein)
Most athletes put off refueling after a strenuous workout and don’t get the easy benefits of increased muscle building and a faster recovery process. Plan ahead by scheduling post-workout snacks into your Owaves routine to take advantage of this important 30-minute window.
- Stretching (Seriously!)
Yes, I know it’s boring and most people find every excuse in the book not to do it. However, having a simple routine that focuses on your tightest muscles can not only improve your flexibility but also help prevent injuries. No one likes to get injured, so make stretching a priority. I like to use an Owaves reminder to keep my stretching on track each day, typically in the morning or right before my workout.
- Get Enough Rest
This means taking a day or two off every week. Have a simple conversation with your body and ask questions like “How am I feeling?”, “Am I recovering from my workouts?”, “Is work stressing me out?” If you have difficulty getting through your workouts, are struggling to wake up in the morning, or are having trouble falling asleep, it may be time to take a day off. I save dedicated Routines in my Owaves planner for “Rest Days”, where I prioritize things like Sleep and hobbies.
- Active Recovery
Active Recovery is often overlooked but is a valuable tool to help flush out lactic acid and get your blood flowing. It’s best to plan active recovery after a more strenuous workout so the stiffness and muscle soreness are flushed from the body and you’re ready for the next day’s training. That’s easy to do using Owaves.
Active Release Therapy (ART) and muscle stimulation are all great therapy options to decrease your serious aches and pains. This recovery option is a great opportunity to break down training fatigue, muscle tightness and prevent injuries. It’s an opportunity to invest in yourself and ensure you are keeping on top of any potential problems resulting from your training or bio-mechanical imbalances that may arise during those heavier training blocks. I make sure to block off time regularly on weekends in my Owaves calendar for ART.
- Ice Therapy
Ice therapy is one of the better ways to speed up the recovery process by decreasing the blood flow to the injury, thereby decreasing inflammation. Whether it’s a ice bath, ice massage or even a ice pack, plan to have plenty of ice on hand to decrease muscle soreness and your chance of injury. Put “ICE” into our recovery plan notes on Owaves as an easy reminder.
Sleep is important for so many health and mental functions. It’s natures way of repairing and rebuilding the body. Use Owaves to ensure you get a solid 8 hours of sleep most nights and an occasional Granny Nap in the afternoon.
- Avoid Overtraining
It sounds obvious, but especially if you are highly motivated, you may get caught up in the notion that one mile farther or running just a tad faster will improve fitness levels. In many cases, this is not the case. It’s important to find balance, and as I like saying to my athletes that I coach, “It’s better to be underdone than overdone.”Owaves gives you perspective on how much time is going into your training. If you see too much orange on the screen, try to balance it out with a little red (time with family and friends) or perhaps some light blue (time to relax).
- Have a Recovery Plan
Finally, to really enhance your recovery process, try to incorporate as many of the above tips into your regular training routine. You have a training plan; so don’t forget to have a recovery plan in place to ensure your success! Make a point to plan to recover just like you plan to work out and reward yourself when you stick to your routine. Consider building in “Rest day” or “Recovery day” pre-built saved Routines into your Owaves calendar. Just having it there in the menu will help remind you to keep balanced.
Written by Michellie Jones, Olympic Medalist and Triathlon World Champion. For more tips from Michellie, check out Michellie Jones’ Web Site and follow her on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter.
Owaves 101 is a blog series showcasing tips for work-life balance from fitness experts and successful professionals. Olympians, Ironmen, inspiring yoga teachers, physicians, and clinical dietitians, among others collaborate and share ideas in a common mission of leading healthier, fuller and more balanced lives.
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