What is the best way to recover after a race, adventure or just a hard effort on your own? We asked our ambassadors how they do it. From eating pancakes to paragliding, from secret smoothie recipes to stretching, their answers will help you get back on form more quickly.
Stay fresh by doing other sports
I like to do some mountaineering activities to feel different feelings than just running. I ran less than 200 km in the build up to Hardrock because I was climbing instead. I was keeping myself fit through mountaineering so when I came to the race I was mentally fresh and physically prepared.
Kilian stretches ©jordo canameras
If you focus too hard on one thing for too long you can get tired of it. You see people who are doing a lot of long races and who keep this up for one or two years and then, boom, they’re down and injured. It’s important to never do too many long races every year because after one, two or three years it can be really hard to recover. For me, 200 or 300 miles a year is the limit.
Kilian Jornet is a multiple record breaking trail runner, endurance athlete and world champion ski mountaineer.
Normally I rest the day after or if it is an ultra at least. If I do a 2-4 hour race I normally go for a small run just to get the circulation going. I also like to treat myself after a race, like foot bath, compex [electrostimulation] take time for yoga, things that are easy and good for the body. Then my mind feels recovered and is soon ready for another hard training week or racing. I think the mind is very important for recovering.
Emelie likes to practise yoga and eat pancakes. ©Emelie Forsberg
After an ultra, where you empty your body quite a lot and also eat chocolate or gels, I like to eat fresh and healthy, at least the first and second day. But pancakes is a standard the morning after, and yes I think pancakes can be pretty healthy..! Specially if I make banana pancakes :)
Emelie Forsberg is a European and world Skyrunning champion
Forget ice baths
I don’t go in for compression or ice baths. I used to jump in a cold rivers after training but I'm over it! Compression socks don’t fit well and science hasn’t really proven that ice baths work.
Old school fan: Conrad Stoltz doesn't go in for ice baths or compression. ©zooom.at/markus berger
But there are things that are proven to make a difference, fueling and rehydrating properly. Within the first half an hour of training you need to have so many grams of carbs and so much protein to start the recovery. [Advice varies but many sports nutritionists recommend following the for 3:1 carbs to protein ratio.]
Conrad Stoltz is a four-time XTERRA World Champion triathlete
Go on a very easy bike ride. It helps the circulation going and speeds up the recovery. If the weather is bad or biking is too much trouble (mentally), I sometimes go for an easy walk or stroll.
© Åsa Lundström
In big blocks of training, a massage every now and then is very good for recovery, muscle relaxation and preventing injury. It can also be considered a treat for your body after some hard work and helping you relax. I get the massage after a big day of training, as the thing of the day.
I use compex electrostimulstion and try to stretch a lot. Rest days are also good. I just had a rest day so I ran easy the vertical km up to Brevant in Chamonix. I had a drink with a friend then went paragliding.
Ueli Steck during his mission to climb all 82, 4000 m mountains. ©PatitucciPhoto
Warm down after exercise
I move between 7 and 14 h per day. You start easy the first 30 min and you end the same way. So you have your warm-up and cool down. If possible I try to get my feet in a cold stream.
Respect your body
I really have to say that in the adventure world at the moment recovery and nutrition is not taken seriously. People are strange about hydration. They wear a Suunto Ambit, have the best equipment and then they drink snow water and don’t take things like this seriously! Take electrolyte capsules with minerals to rehydrate properly.
Matthias front lifting weights. ©Tanja Schmitt
Avoid processed foods
Try to go as long as you can on normal food and then you can start to eat energy bars etc. People push the limits of eating concentrated food which can cause stomach problems. Eat a peanut butter sandwich.
Bring it down slowly
For recovery it’s important not to stop right away after an ice climbing season. I used to become ill in April when I stopped. Now I continue with skiing and in June and July I keep going to the mountains. I've found cycling helps me to mentally digest everything I've done over the winter. In a week I try to do at least 20 hours on the bike. I work on my films. That's my way of recovery.
Matthias Scherer is a professional ice climber
As a ritual I always have a smoothie after my sporting activities. As quick as I can I am at my blender mixing in my ingredients. Bananas, blueberries, protein mix, raw cacao, milk. That is the base for the majority of my shakes, each food is strong in its own way, combining for a strength building, body recovery, tasty beverage.
Greg making a smoothie at home ©zooom.at/Markus Berger
Another bit about an ageing body is balance. If over the course of your life you have created imbalances, they become more problematic in later years. To counter act I have been going to the gym to create an overall body fitness not just one designed for peddling a bike or skinning up mountains. Back problems, IT-band issues, all come from unbalance, so cross training is key.
Take some time out
Also to truly have days off. Not partial days off. But couch surfing, suntanning, doing nothing days. You can get away with just one but at least every two weeks to take 2-3 days completely off. This truly helps my body as well as my mind. I come back and feel so much better than if I had pushed through on that extra day of exercise.
Greg Hill is a pro skier. In March 2014 he skied 100,000m in a month
Sleep and eat right
“Recovery is as equally important as training. In freediving when you hold your breath it generates a huge amount of carbon dioxide which makes your body very acidic and means all those free radicals cruising around doing damage. Being able to target that with diet that's very rich in antioxidants and making sure you're sleeping right is important.”
Will Trubridge's recovery smoothie
My go-to recovery drink after deep training is a green smoothie, with the following ingredients:
1 frozen banana (makes the smoothie cold and creamy)
1 cup almond milk + water added to get the right consistency
2 tbsp Manitoba hemp protein (the best vegetal protein source)
1 tbsp cacao powder (great antioxidant qualities)
1 tbsp Hawaiian spirulina (nature's multivitamin, with many other superfood ingredients like chlorophyll, omega 3,6,9 fatty acids and more)
1 tsp beetroot extract powder (great for blood-building)
Everything is blended together, and topped with a dusting of granulated bee pollen.
Will Trubridge is a multiple record breaking freediver