Half Ironman distance – check! But now, Michiel needed to recover. What to do? Straight back to training for Ironman? Rest for weeks?
Falling asleep after the finish line..
Thing is, after a big event like this, the body has a LOT of damage, no matter how prepared you are. Especially with the half marathon run at the end!
The damage includes muscle soreness, systemic (whole body) inflammation, loss of muscle function and a reduction in aerobic capacity. So, in other words, your body has been stressed extensively, your working muscles have been damaged and you need to time to recover properly.
Directly afterwards, it is so important to stretch. For Michiel, he doesn’t really enjoy stretching, but it helps him tremendously. We had a good stretch session, and it even helps at this point to just lie on the mat, hands above the head and point the feet – a full body stretch that will release some tension and help to feel more grounded and a way to regulate the breathing again.
He’s not a huge fan, but stretching is so important!
Forcing some deep breathing meditation on Michiel
In the days afterwards – zero training. He definitely deserves it! Although, I do encourage him to move still, gentle walks, stretches – to loosen up the muscles and facilitate blood flow through the damaged muscle tissues. This will also help to not seize up and feel worse in the coming days.
I was quite surprised he could do this the day after
Taking a stroll through the beautiful city
It is vital to really listen to the body at this stage. It has taken a hit, and coming back to training too early is very detrimental. We had a swim scheduled for 5 days post triathlon, which was 30 minutes of easy swimming in the sea, mainly to get back into the confidence zone in the water, but also nice to ease the body back into training again, bit by bit, with some low impact to start with.
The first swim after 1/2 ironman – in the clearer than a Russian lake, Mediterranean sea!
Too much rest is better than not enough – really! And sometimes, after a gruelling training programme in the build up to an event, it can be hard to think all this rest is beneficial – but really, it is.
We have a great sports masseuse, Olivier from Kneading Bodies – who helps alleviate tension, spot any weaknesses, and push out knots in Michiel’s muscles. It’s a huge help and encourages the blood and lymph flow throughout the body, preventing muscle fatigue.
So, I encouraged Michiel to listen to how his body feels and recognise the motivation levels and energy levels he has, this way, it is easier to gage whether we need to take more days off if needed.
Also a sure fire way to recover quicker is to sleep more (lots!), eat well and stay super hydrated!
Greens can speed up the recovery process by flooding the body full of great nutrients! A good way to get 13 in at once? A SUPER SMOOTHIE!
Of course fresh fruit and vegetables are always on our menu!