Right before we left I was asked a question. I have ridden this week more than in the last few months or perhaps at all. What do I do next?? The USMES Camp provided the opportunity to elevate your fitness level, but the camp is not what will make you fitter. It is the recovery afterwards.
For many of us, getting in 300 miles and 18 hours of riding is not something we get to do every week. So the first few days should be very light in terms of training stress incurred. Also try to limit any outside stress or additional training stress. This means do not go to the gym to start that new weight lifting program since your intensity on the bike is lower. Your body needs to absorb all of the hard work over the last week. If you push too hard, you could put yourself in a season-limiting hole.
It is normal experience a sense of let-down through these recovery days. I know just getting on the plane did that to me. Returning from sunny and warm days on the bike with free hotel cookies to normal life requires a training strategy….just like your camp preparation. Relax and focus on good recovery tools. The goal should be to put yourself in a position to resume normal training by the weekend.
Here are some tips for the next couple of days:
1. Get the heart rate up, but just a little (75-80% of your LTHR): of us damaged our muscles during the last week and they need time to heal. Blood flow is the body’s healing method. Inflammatory metabolites and damaged proteins can be removed more quickly, while carbohydrates and amino acids can be delivered. Just sitting around for the next couple of days is even worse than if you went out and tried to train hard next week. However, avoid any high heart-rate or high power efforts till at least Thursday or Friday. Thus, your training should be “restorative” and not more of a stress load. Ideally you will want to focus on whatever hastens recovery, rather than that which delays it.
2. Focus on Recovery Eating: This means taking in plenty of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy food as possible. I like to say, eat like an ape. I haven’t seen many McDonald’s in the jungles, lots of fruit, vegetables, nuts, all the things Jim and Lori told you about. As Jim said, you should not try to lose weight during camp but the week after camp can affect the denominator in your W/kg. If weight loss is an early season goal for you, use this next week to take advantage of your ramped up metabolism combined with the lighter training load. Your body does not need as many calories as Mt. Lemmon and Kitts Peak demanded, so watch your dietary intake.
3. Hydrate more often than usual. Lots and lots and lots of water. I will even add a little Osmo to my water to provide flavor and sodium.
4. Ugh sickness! So one of the things to think about is that your immune system has been suppressed over the last week. You are ripe to get sick if under the wrong circumstance (yep like all of those sick people on the airplane). Think sanitation, be a germaphobe this week and get LOTS of sleep.
5. Healing hands at camp, recovery hands at home. Go get a massage, this will hasten recovery and allow you to feel (and perform) better that much sooner.
6. Reflect. Take a few days and reflect on what you just accomplished. Take this time and see how you are going to parlay it into a great season. Book your flight for next year.
Every camp I do I learn more about our sport, athletes and myself as a coach. You have learned a lot and accomplished a lot. Take the time and go back to your TrainingPeaks account or your Training Log. Write what you have learned so you can reflect on it late in the season and at the beginning of your next camp. The big thing for you right now is to focus on post camp recovery or you won’t reap the benefits of your fitness bump.
We had a lot of great coaches out in Tucson this week. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me firstname.lastname@example.org, ask the question on the internal Facebook page, or reach out to Jim, he has an email address for all of the USMES Affiliate Coaches.