Triathlon - Recovery
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02-06-08, 08:52 PM
Hi everyone, my name is Dan. I'm 18 years old and am in pretty good shape. I am doing some pretty tough training almost everyday so I can be as ready for this triathlon and a few other charity rides and races I am doing. I usually run anywhere from 4-8 miles a day and do 15-20 miles on a stationary bike or my bike on a resistance trainer. I find that each day it gets easier and easier which I suppose is good. But my legs are killing me. Its not a sharp pain or anything like an injury, its just muscle soreness and tightness I think. I don't want to overwork my legs and hurt myself. I take a day off here and there and do some light work like yoga or something. My question is would an ice bath help my legs? I was friends with a lot of the long distance track runners in high school and I know they took them frequently. I'm just curious what the benefits are and if its safe to be doing it after every run. If you have any thoughts let me know.
02-06-08, 09:10 PM
Disclaimer: I am not an expert.
I do not think that training hard every day is a good idea. The way muscle 'grows' is it is worked out, and is broken down, and then it rebuilds itself to be stronger than before to adapt to the conditions.
If you are training for an event, as you are, you must have a HRM. this is a good tool to use to detect over-training. If you are going much slower/producing much less power than usual at a given heart rate, then it is very likely you have overtrained.
To help your muscles recover, give them what they need. Once you have finished your workout, the half hour directly after it is very important. Your muscles are ready to absorb much more than usual, so they can begin recovery quickly. Companies like powerbar sell recovery drinks, but you can just look at the labels and replicate the ingredients of your own accord. I believe high quality (ie. whey) protein in large amounts helps most in muscle rebuilding, while complex carbs give them more energy, as there is not much glycogen (the product of complex carbs that gives your muscles energy) left in their stores. Protein is the most important, though, while complex carbohydrates are more important before the workout.
Do you have any structure to your workout at all? It doesn't sound like it. You need a plan.
there is information on the web about this. I gleaned all of this information from it.
And as for the ice bath, I have no comment or knowledge of its efficacy.
02-06-08, 09:12 PM
Well to start.....settle the eff down dude. I would say absolutley MAXIMUM 6 days a week. You need a regular day off. I did what you did once, after a couple months, i couldnt do a thing, my body gave up on me. You need to slow down, trust me.
Ice baths, the theory behind them is that when your body gets cold, it will draw blood from non important areas(mucles, skin, ect) to keep the vital organs as warm as possible. This will get the blood through your liver faster, which will purify it faster. Once you get out of the bath and warm up, the purified blood will return to your muscles.(if you dont understand why this works, look up stuff about lactic acid)
The other way to do this is hot baths with Epson Salt. Same effect, different way of doing it.
02-06-08, 09:26 PM
Well this is my second time writing this response for some reason my computer decided it would be best to freeze right as I went to post it.
Thanks for the quick response, its really helpful, I take in every bit of information that people give me about fitness and recovery. I am relatively new to this extreme exercise binge I am on. You said I doesn't seem like I have a plan. My plan is usually run (outdoors) and then go home and map it. I do take whey protine, I went to a health food store and the woman told me it would really help my recovery. On days that I don't run I ride..something. For right now, my plan is just get into shape. My work outs will become more regimented when I feel I am in really good shape. As for the heart rat monitor I think it sounds like something I should look into getting. I don't have a problem with spending money if it will actually help me with training. As for the ice bath I did a bit more research, it is supposed to be amazing for recovery. So I think its something I will try after tomorrows run.
02-06-08, 10:04 PM
Dan, here (http://marcofanelli.blogspot.com/2008/01/designing-bike-racer.html) is a helpful article you should read about the possible attributes of a racing cycist, although if you do only Triathlons, perhaps it is less pertinent to you.
"Many of us default to doing the same kinds of rides year-in and year-out, and we lose sight of the control we have. So few racers do dedicated sprint training, for example, yet most races come down to a sprint of some sort. Similarly, not many people do the gut-busting 1-2 minute intervals that train your body to endure the repeated anaerobic efforts you face in some races."
Its good info though. Good luck.
02-06-08, 10:18 PM
"Focus on your hard workouts ... and keep your hard workouts focused." (—Joe Friel)
Dan, your enthusiasm is awesome! Please post more!
I can't answer your question about ice bathes, but I can suggest you train a little smarter. Maybe you already are. If so, feel free to ignore me: my wife does all the time!
It sounds like what you're attempting right now is known as base training. Base training is very important. That's why you should give a little more thought to making sure you are doing it wisely. Base training is the foundation that you will build the rest of your training on.
The above quote by Friel is one of the best pieces of advice I've ever read. There are many reasons to distinguish each workout with a specific purpose, but maybe the one that will appeal to you most is that you will accomplish so much more. Getting on a specific training plan will steer you clear from burnout, and give you different goals for each day.
Many of us find this helps keeps training fun. Actually, gratifying is a better word. It also prepares you for the different aspects of preparation for race day, as an above post mentioned.
Personally, I used to run a lot of "junk miles" because they weren't focused, and didn't accomplish anything. Actually, they kept me from workouts that could have made a huge difference in my Cross-Country years, FWIW.
You can find Friel's books on amazon. My favorite is "Going Long." But you might find his Triathlete Bible more relevant.
Dan, best wishes for a great year of training and racing! Let us know how it goes.
02-06-08, 10:45 PM
Thanks. Yeah, I try to keep my training fun, I have mapped out 5 different routes that I can do depending on how I feel that day. They range from a 1 mile extreme hill to 8 miles bobbing and weaving through all of my friends houses and streets. I really like that quote too. I know some people feel that I am way over working myself and its probably true. I think if I can find the motivation to get out there almost everyday and try something new I should be. Maybe I'm wrong. But when I have nothing else to do I'll go on my favorite 4 mile loop and try to knock off even 10 seconds. Since the start of my training I have taken over 10 minutes off of it. So its just more of a reason to work harder. So far this thread has attracted quite a few people, none of whom know about ice baths. Oh well, there is always google =]. Just was curious if it was as widely used in the cycling world as it is in the running.
All of these tips and criticisms have been so helpful. Any thing else you can add on how I can train smarter and recover quicker is hugely appreciated.
02-14-08, 08:27 PM
You might want to check out spending the first fifteen minutes warming up, at a slower pace, and the final fifteen minutes cooling down, again at a slower pace. This allows your body to adjust to the changes involved in your workout and means you'll suffer from less tightness. I'm no expert, but this is mostly what I do, and I hardly have any discomfort, even when I am doing pretty intense training. I've been doing this for about 15 years. The other thing I suggest is swimming a couple days a week. I do this with a pull-buoy, which allows me to work out while resting my legs. (I also find the pull-buoy has some resemblance to a wet-suit in providing a lot of buoyancy), and in any case, I don't kick during my swim in tris, so it feels fine not to kick in training. It certainly allows my legs some rest.
02-15-08, 01:35 PM
"I don't kick during my swim in tris, so it feels fine not to kick in training."
Sorry to get off track... but you don't kick when you swim in your tri's? Please explain that one if you could. I get the idea of saving your legs, but isn't the point to race and compete? Maybe by kicking when you swim during your training your legs would be trained, therefore allowing you to be able to kick when you compete?
If there is a secret out there to not kicking when you swim, I want in on it.
02-15-08, 02:29 PM
I don't kick when i swim either... Some people do, some people don't, depends on how much energy you want to conserve really. Whether your legs are conditioned or not, kicking is still going to use energy/calories which you may need later.
02-16-08, 06:33 AM
First off, I'm not going to win the race in the water, but I can lose it there (and I have, when I first started doing sprints and got out of the water totally exhausted), so I find it better to conserve my legs for biking and running, and use my upper body for the swim. The buoyancy provided by my wet-suit allows me to do this without any difficulty - and incidentally my swim times are now in the upper third of my age group (and the middle of the pack over-all), so I feel this is right for me (maybe not for others of course).
Second, by not kicking in the water I give my legs a rest, and this allows me to train harder when I run and bike, so I think it overall results in better training. I can do a swim day and count it as a rest day. So for example, on Friday I swam for 1.25 miles, then skied hard for four hours, and my legs felt fresh all day. I counted that as a rest day.
I do kick sometimes. For example when I am not training hard (during the fall and early winter) I will kick in the water, but as my training intensity mounts, I use the swim to focus on my upper body.
It has been my experience that if I go out too hard in the water (as I did in my early sprints), I easily exhaust myself (I feel like I'm going to drown in the middle of the lake - not a pleasant experience). So, I've gotten careful in how I approach the swim. This has worked well for me in Olys and I expect to to do the same in my first HIM, in June. If I do a sprint this year, I would probably kick in that (because my training is has made me strong enough that kicking in the sprint wouldn't be that big a deal), but the greater the distance, the more I look to conserve my energy.
I am 61, so I am very careful about allowing myself to have recovery time, and to use the swim in this way seems to work OK for me. I am curious about how other people see this.
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