Can you provide some tips in regard to proper recovery from training and racing?

Recovery is crucial to allow athletes to become stronger from their training. Insufficient recovery will lead to plateaus and eventually overtraining and associated  performance reduction. Recovery time should be built into every day, every week, every month and every year!

What can you do to quickly recover after a key workout and be ready for your next training session?

1)      One of the main feature of a good recovery process is careful nutrition planning. The athlete should take in a recovery snack of high glycemic carbohydrates (with lower levels of protein and healthy fat mixed in as well) within 30 minutes of finishing a hard workout. Many prefer a liquid form as it is easiest to tolerate and consume immediately after the session. The mixture should be carbohydrate rich and with high glycemic index. Depending on body size and how hard and long the workout was, you will probably need between 200 and 500 calories (it could even be more for some). In the following 90 minutes, the athlete should consume a full meal that includes dietary starch (such as sweet potato, yam but can also consist of some grains such as bread, bagel, cereal etc) and quality lean protein. 

2)      If your schedule allows it, take a nap!! Thirty to sixty minutes is probably sufficient to help speed recovery

3)      There is some suggestion that cold  baths for 15 minutes within the next few hours after your session may help reduce the tissue inflammation that follows a hard training session (scientific studies on this are contradictory at this point)

4)      Although science is not yet conclusive, there also seems to be some advantage gained from the use of compression socks and putting your feet up after a hard training session!

5)      Drink fluids to completely satisfy thirst the remainder of the day. Water should be your number one choice past the initial recovery snack and meal.

6)      Finally the most important form of recovery comes in a good night of SLEEP following your hard day of training. If your life schedule allows it, you should sleep until you awake naturally the next morning meaning  no alarm clock! ( for most working athletes this will be most feasible on the weekend!)

Finally the day following your hard training days will often need to be a much easier day which will allow for recovery to continue in the form of an active recovery workout such as an easy spin on the bike for 45-60 minutes where you focus on good form and technique, high cadence and very light resistance for example. A recent study conducted by researchers out of the University of Western Australia found that a short (2000m) swim for recovery 10 hours after a strenuous run enhanced performance in a subsequent run by attenuating muscle tissue inflammation compared to passive (complete rest) recovery .This would be a time for the athlete to focus on technical work and the effort should be kept light and volume low .

In summary, a well balanced training program should include daily quality recovery time and techniques, as well as quality active recovery training sessions on days following hard training days, complete recovery days weekly, easier  recovery weeks on a monthly basis as well as periodization of the annual plan to allow for  rest and recovery during a transition period after the race season comes to an end  and before base work starts for the following season.


Rest up and get faster!!!


Sylvie Dansereau  (DVM honors, B.Sc honors) is a full time endurance coach at NRG Performance Training with over 10 years racing experience in short course and long course triathlons at the elite level including multiple top 10 finishes and races at the Ironman World championships  to her record and over 5 years full time coaching experience working with endurance athletes from beginner to elite level. You can find more information about Sylvie and her coaching programs by contacting her at or visiting