We all know how it works. We train hour after hour, day after day for a championship meet that literally takes everything out of our bodies. Once we’re finished, we feel like rag dolls, ready to crash and sleep for days. The big question is, how do we recover from such an energy-zapping event? There are different ways to rest and recharge your body, and it may be different for everyone. But there are a few basics every swimmer must know.
Eating well and right
When it comes to recovering, first and foremost you need to listen to your body. Most likely it will be telling you it needs nourishment – in other words, food! The first hour after a hard sesh, make sure to eat a healthy amount of carbohydrates. The carbs will work fast to replenish the energy you’ve lost. Be sure to include some protein in the meal to help you rebuild muscles that might have been damaged. Some common meal examples are chicken and rice or spaghetti and meat sauce. Anything that combines a simple carb with a hearty protein source.
Keep the blood moving
Wearing compression gear before and after your race helps increase blood circulation, to prepare your muscles for action or recover from fatigue. The tight-knight fabric helps pump blood back to your heart, removing lactic acid that may have built up during your anaerobic sessions. It also helps reduce muscle soreness and shortens the amount of time it takes for your muscles to repair themselves. A team of experts at the University of Bologna in Italy found that athletes who wear compression gear both before and after strenuous workouts have significantly smaller recovery periods.
arena’s range of compression clothing is specifically designed for swimmers. The design combines carbon technology for intelligent compression and strategic silicone taping for preventing injuries. Our compression collection works on the most critical areas of the body to help reduce the risk of injury and allow the body to prepare more effectively for racing, also speeding up recovery after intense exertion.
Check your head
Athletes focus so much on training and healing their bodies that some might forget the importance of mental recovery. You could train your body for months, doing all the right things. But in the end, it is really your mind that gets you through. So, why not train and recover your mind like you do your body? Bad races happen. It’s part of competition. What swimmers need to understand is one race does not define you. You may have swum a poor time, or you may have DQ’ed. Dwelling on it won’t serve you. Talk to your coach and ask what you can do better next time. Then, get your mind off it for a while by doing something you love or trying something new. The reality is, you’ve got to lose sometimes to learn how to win. It comes with the competitive swimming territory.