Big Training Week: How the Best Recover

Sue Aquila-1I had a brief moment of panic the other week when I found myself in a paceline on a bumpy, rutted road behind three champions. In front of me were Marilyn McDonald, Chris McDonald and Angela Naeth. The only thought running through my head was to not cause an accident as these incredible athletes do this for a living!

It was just another day at the Endurance Corner Tucson Camp. It was a terrific week with weather in the 90s, blue skies and great training leaders/partners.

This camp was designed as a simple way to get people together to do some quality training before their late season IM. I am not racing a late season IM but I joined the camp to do some training, learn from others and check out Tucson (triathlon’s version of Boulder in the winter).

I changed the camp training schedule a bit because I came in a day early and left a day later. My week:

  • Wednesday: Trail run at Starr Pass and climb of Mt. Lemmon (cycling).
  • Thursday: Swim at Archer Pool. Climb Gates Pass and time trial on McCain Loop (cycling). Evening run with hill strides.
  • Friday: Long run with threshold intervals on the Rillito River Trail. Easy ride.
  • Saturday: Climb Mt. Lemmon (cycling). Long Swim at Oro Valley Pool.
  • Sunday: Track workout at Pima Community College. Climb Gates pass and ride McCain Loop (cycling).

That made for a solid 20+ hours of training over five days. I felt very good after my week and came back healthy and willing to do more. Why? I watched what others (specifically our coaches) did for recovery. It boiled down to two things: training and preparing to train. It wasn’t glamorous but it worked.

  • Eat. Frequently. Good fats, protein and carbs. I eat clean at home but have learned at camps that I need to add a muffin/scone a day. Tough huh? I can’t emphasize this enough. Eat to train and then eat again I still lost weight but I was fueled to give it my best!
  • Sleep. Nap. At least once and sometimes twice a day. Quite possibly your sleep at night will be interrupted due to time zone changes or training fatigue. Use naps to push through.
  • Rest. Do nothing beyond your computer. I spent an a lot of time lying on my bed reading.
  • Massage. I had three during camp. I thought this might be excessive but I found that the masseuse put me back together at the end of each day.
  • Soak. Pools are good for recreation too. Rest in the water.
  • Laugh. I was fortunate to go to dinner with three other campers. Just laughing does wonders for recovery.
  • Caffeine. I can’t drink a lot of coffee but a cup applied before workouts was usually just enough to break through any residual training hangover.

Every camp I am learning the importance of being an “empty vessel.” No matter how much I think I know, I keep my mouth shut and learn from the coaches, pros and campers. I am constantly searching for that nugget of information, the last 1% that is the difference between the average and the best. No better way to do this than in the sun with coaches, teammates and friends.

Categories: Training

About Author

Sue Aquila

You can Sue on Twitter @fewoman