I’ve got a series on recovery and the off-season running at Ironman.com. The first one asks, “Do you know the most powerful factor in the recovery equation?”:
In my book, The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery, I include in the appendix a post-race recovery chart. This chart lists the number of days an athlete should plan to recover, based on the race distance and other factors (such as whether the race was an “A” race or simply a stop en route to another goal race). Based on a fantastic table that Olympic coach Gale Bernhardt designed (available on Active.com), the chart clearly lays out the effect of training, race plan execution, and post-race care on the length of your recovery.
These life factors, which include your training progression, your daily stress, and your nutrition, play a critical role in your recovery. A foam roller or compression socks are not going to make up for deficient rest and stress management. But the most powerful factor of all is simply time. You must give your body time to repair itself, not only between workouts, but especially after a peak event like a long-course triathlon.
For more on recovery, please read The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery—also available as an e-book and in German, Spanish, and Japanese!