Updated: Jul 6, 2021
The top professionals have dialed in their recovery routine. As paddlers compete in race after race, they’re breaking their bodies down repeatedly. The top athletes in our sport need to stay in peak condition for their next race, and how they recover from the most recent race aids in that. Although, some professionals might have physical therapists, masseuses, and other expensive-looking recovery methods, the truth is many don’t… at least not in the stand up paddling world!
So what do the pros use to recover after a race? What are they doing differently that helps them bounce back, hop on that plane, and kick butt at the next big race?
How to Optimize Recovery:
1. Breathing: Learn how to activate your Parasympathetic system
How this relates to better training sessions and also better recovery
2. Mobility, Yoga, Myofascial Release
Grab a foam roller, tennis ball, or trigger pin. Right after your race is a great time to stretch out your muscles because they’re warmed. Even better than stretching is myofascial release, which can be accomplished by “rolling out.” A foam roller or a tennis ball rolling under overused muscles after a race will help fascia that has become restricted or inflamed release or relax. This will speed recovery and improve range of motion. (One of my personal favorites is a tennis ball between my spine and shoulder blade!)
3. Nutrient timing
Macronutrients, micronutrients, and supplements, OH MY! Pro athletes have all of their nutrition tightly dialed in. While many paddlers get their macronutrients in order, i.e. carbs and protein before and after a race, it’s the micronutrients that can really boost your recovery! Taking supplements to provide your body with vitamins and minerals will improve your performance, prevent illness, and shorten recovery times. Many protein shakes include micronutrients, but do your research to determine if you’re lacking any that you should add.
4. Subjective Journalling
How to Botch your Recovery
1. NSAIDS and other anti inflammatory methods
2. Not enough Sleep & Recovery (not resting properly - doing too much during "off" time.. 3+2)
Top athletes snag 9-10 hours of Z’s every night. They also have dedicated recovery days built into their workout plans. Even if it isn’t in your schedule to sleep for that long, you can still get the best night’s sleep possible. Try staying on a schedule where you hit the hay and wake up at the same times each day. Also, don’t use your bedroom and bed for work; leave the computers and phones off when you’re in bed. If your schedule is really busy, you may be tempted to work out each day just to log the miles. Professional athletes take a rest day each week. This day is just as important as all of your workout days – don’t miss it. Also, if you’re debating hitting an early morning gym session after a long night and not enough sleep, you should skip that workout in favor of sleeping and recovering.
3. Sherpas (Decision Fatigue)
We’ve all had our race Sherpas. Those valuable friends, family members, or spouses who come to our biggest races just to help us schlep gear and keep us organized. Whenever possible, bring your race Sherpa. Set them up with all of your post-race nutrition at the finish line so you can get it in your system faster. After a long race, the Sherpa can also help wrangle all of your equipment while you start on some stretching and foam rolling. If you do have to be your own Sherpa, be sure to pack a post race bag with all of your necessities that will be ready for you.
4. The Either/Or fallacy