So you’ve just finished a hardcore training camp, you’ve put in hundreds of kilometers of blood sweat and tears. Awesome! The fitness gains you can make from short term ‘over-reaching’ are profound, but only if you give yourself the space to repair and adapt afterward.
But what does that look like in practice? What can you do to speed up your recovery?
- Don’t underestimate how much camps like this take it out of you – Even if you ‘feel’ OK after a couple of days I would encourage you to take the week pretty easy. A lot of muscle damage and also importantly, central nervous system fatigue, will have occurred… you need to respect this and allow for rebuilding.
- Be mindful not to over eat – You’ll have come from a period of eating more than you are used to and will probably experience some hunger cravings for the next few days. Some ways to mitigate this would be to eat a bit more protein than usual, (keeps you satiated and helps with muscle repair) and make sure you drink a bit more fluid than usual.
- Carrying on with the nutrition theme, focus on eating nutrient dense food – Standard stuff, but LOTS of vegetables, dark leafy greens. good fats high-quality protein. Give your body the building blocks in needs to build back up.
- Mitigate illness – Your immune system will be a bit compromised after this week and you might be more susceptible to sickness. As well a nutrient dense diet I would consider supplementing with vitamin C, zinc and echinacea. Stay away from sick people if possible.
- Mobility and recovery work – use this time to foam roll, stretch, do some yoga, etc.
- Get good amounts of sleep – Sleep is where the magic happens in terms of growth hormone and testosterone release, (important for physical repair).
- As mentioned above, your central nervous system will have also taken a beating this week – Consider a short meditation practice each day, (I recommend the ‘Headspace’ app).
- Body work – Get a massage, go to the sauna and use the time you would normally train to do as much restoration as possible.
There is also a good opportunity for reflection and learning. The questions below will help you think about what went well and what you’d like to improve on going forward. Please think about the follow questions from the perspective of all 3 sports:
- What was your personal performance highlight of the camp?
- What did you struggle with from a performance perspective at the camp?
- How did you feel physically towards the end of the camp?
- How did you feel mentally before the end of the camp?
- Did anything surprise you about your performance?
- If you could pick one think you’d like to improve on for each sport what would that be?
- Did you experience any pain or injuries, (beyond the normal soreness that comes from a hard week of training)?
Other than that, enjoy a well-earned rest!