An alarming tale

Back in September, you may recall, I wrote a post on the importance of sleep in aiding recovery. Unfortunately this is a luxury that I have been deprived of this week. On Tuesday my day started bright and early as I had offered to drive Mrs Trihard's parents to the airport - at 4.45am.

By the evening I was exhausted so gave the club turbo training session a miss. Thinking that I could make up for it the following day after a good night's sleep I was mildly disappointed to be awoken by Mrs Trihard's car alarm at 1am. However this mild disappointment was superseded by increasing annoyance when it went off again at 2.30am. Soon after that Baby Trihard decided it was time for a feed and by 4.30am I still hadn't managed to get back to sleep.

As a result I wasn't particularly motivated to do any training, light or otherwise, yesterday. After a better night's sleep last night (and just the one interruption from the car alarm - it's now being booked into the garage) I decided it was time to get out for a short run to get my legs working once again.

However I think I have underestimated how much Sunday's endeavours have taken out of me as I had to stop several times to walk despite it being just a 3km route. With just ten days to my next 10km this is slightly unsettling as I want to get some good training sessions in before a short taper. Hopefully I should be able to get some good sleeps before then but I thought this might be a good time to look at other ways can you help facilitate recovery after a hard race or training session.

Joe Friel, author of The Triathlete's Training Bible, says that as soon as you finish your workout or race the most important thing you can do to speed recovery is to replace the carbohydrates and protein you just used for fuel. He says that in the first 30 minutes after an intense session your body is several times more capable of absorbing and replenishing those fuels at any other time. While there are lots of recovery products on the market Mr Friel advocates drinking chocolate milk.

Deirdre Pitney, co-author of Triathlon Training for Dummies, said that because the muscles absorb nutrients more effectively immediately after exercise you shouldn't wait for your next meal. She suggests fruit, beans or wholegrain bread. While I use carbohydrate gels when I am racing, and always have a drink high in electrolytes and magnesium for hydration afterwards, I usually wait to get home for a snack. Mrs Trihard did offer me a donut that her and Toddler Trihard had left me but I prefer my savoury goods and was feeling slightly nauseous after the run. By the time we had driven home and I'd had a shower it was at least an hour since finishing the race before I had some protein and carbs. So perhaps this has also impeded my recovery.

Mr Friel also recommends that you "be lazy for several hours" and stay off your feet for as long as possible. I've been doing this most of my life but I'm still feeling knackered.


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