Getting your recovery right is almost as important as the training itself – especially if you have a packed race diary. It’s also particularly true as you get older when the body is less forgiving of strains, bruises and stiffness.
So what’s the approach of the pros? Triathlete and XTERRA champion Conrad Stoltz is known as ‘the Caveman’ for his warrior spirit and ability to take hits – just the man in other words to offer some advice.
He is famous for being hard on himself and his gear and in his younger days used to sleep on benches and once (willingly) in a police station before races. These days, looking after his body is the number one priority.
“I believe in a good warm up and cool down after racing,” he says. “Plus regular massage and self massage on the foam roller.”
Gone are the days when Conrad would blast through injuries. These days he listens to his body. “If I have even a small injury, I’ll try to get it resolved as quickly as possible,” he says.
He adds that one of the most important things after a hard ride, run or swim is to take on fluids right away.
“When I get back from a hard training session I’ll have a drink with carbs and some protein right away to get the recovery process started.”
This is in line with the latest advice from sports nutritionists who recommend taking on fuel and fluids during a 30 minute window after exercise, or even within 15 minutes.
“Within 30-40 mins I will sit down to a good meal,” says Conrad. “Caveman style – meat, potatoes, vegetables and maybe some chocolate or ice cream.”
But some habits die hard. There’s no cross-training for Conrad.
“I’d like to say I ride my enduro motorbike for cross training in the off-season,” he adds, “but I race all year round!”