That moment when you cross the finish line of a challenge you have been training towards for a while can be one of mixed emotions. The huge surge of endorphins make you feel almost euphoric amongst the exhaustion, the elation and relief that it’s over.
Even though it’s all done and dusted you owe it to your body to recover properly.
1: ENJOY IT.
Savour this feeling. If you are anything like me sometimes the preparation for these events be consuming. In a good way. When it’s all over taking the time to reflect on what you have achieved is so important.
2. REFUEL + REHYDRATE.
Despite daydreaming of smashing a big juicy burger, fries and a thick shake I actually find it quite hard to eat a huge meal after a big bout of exercise. I usually opt for a nutrient dense snack with a balance of carbohydrates and protein within an hour of finishing. Your body is primed and craving a replenishment of it’s glycogen stores and the protein is vital for muscle repair. Its tempting to reach for processed sugary snacks like jelly snakes and a soda BUT this is defiantly not what your body needs right now.
Following this I continue to try and load my body with good macronutrients through the day. I’m not impartial to a celebratory cocktail BUT water and electrolytes need to be taken in too. Given that water is needed for almost every cellular function in our body it’s vital we replace all that we would have sweated out.
3. ASSESS FOR INJURIES + MANAGE PROMPTLY.
Here comes the physio in me! As soon as I feel the slightest niggle I act swiftly to get onto to it. This can be as simple as she extra stretching or release work with trigger ball or a recovery massage (I tend to find a massage a bit better on day 2-3 of my recovery). I don’t want it to linger around and impede my recovery or my ability to get back to training when I am ready. If you aren’t sure seek a professional opinion for an assessment and get an appropriate management plan in place.
4. STAY ACTIVE.
Don’t worry I am not suggesting you get straight back to training bur rather say moving! Our bodies are designed to move and personally I prefer engaging in a gentle active recovery such as a long walk. Swim on the ocean or even a light plates flow because it helps with post exercise muscle soreness and recovery.
5. SET A NEW GOAL.
When the initial excitement of achieving a big fitness goal slowly starts to wears off you may find yourself in a bit of a mental slump. You may lack motivation and not be really sure of what to do with your training especially if the lead up to the event was really regimented. My solution (which may not work for everyone) is to find your next thing. It doesn’t have to be something big, just a new focus. In the meantime while you decide, have a bit of fun with your training. Ditch the gadgets, jog for fun not for distance, play tennis… you get the idea!