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Success with Stamina
Success with Stamina
A little blog about being a triathlon coach. Here you'll find a little diary about my activities as a coach, the performances of the people I work with and my thoughts and opinions on what makes athletes faster for longer.

Recovery... The most important part of training

AndyBby AndyBOct 25th 2010
Could it be true that recovery is the most important part of training? The body needs rest to be able to adapt and improve fitness levels and produce a better performance next time around. The mind needs a rest to be able to motivate, stimulate and focus on the task in hand. Lethargy, irritation, impaired performance, increased susceptibility to infection and an increased resting heart rate of more than five beats can all be indications the body is not recovered from previous sessions. Over the next few blogs I'll look at some of the different recovery strategies available and suitable times to employ them starting with nutrition.

An athlete should not need telling that food is of fundamental importance, even more so when training. Carbohydrate fuels the muscles, protein helps repair the muscles and fat plays an important role in provision of energy and delivery of vitamins to the body so therefore has an effect on the immune system. As a general rule our diet should consist of 60-70% carbohydrate (rice, wheat, pulses, fruit and vegetables), 15-20% protein (meat, fish, pulses, nuts and seeds) and 20-25% fat (unsaturated is best and is found in products such as oily fish and pumpkin seeds). It is worth remembering the all-important vitamins and minerals from fruit and vegetables (preferably locally-sourced for optimum nutritional benefit) which play an active role in recovery and maintaining a strong immune system as well as in other processes that help the body recover. Consuming enough food and at the correct times will help the body refuel, repair and regenerate. Carbohydrate during exercise will not only provide energy during training but reduce damage to the immune system. Protein and carbohydrate in a ratio roughly 1:4 (such as in recovery drinks, a tuna sandwich or chocolate milk) will help refuel the muscles and provide the right environment for the body to start repairing muscles. A large carbohydrate-based meal within two hours of training will continue to supply the sugars to refuel the muscles ready for the next session. Smaller meals or snacks (such as cereal bars or carrots and houmous) between meals will help maintain the supply of carbohydrate and a steady blood sugar throughout the day. This allows the body to repair and prepare for exercise.

When to employ this technique: Follow a healthy diet (within reason) â€" always. Consume carbohydrate drinks - during training. Consume a recovery drink consisting of protein and carbohydrate - within the first twenty minutes after exercise. Consume a meal containing a larger proportion of carbohydrate â€" within two hours of training.
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