After racing professionally for eleven years in the sport of triathlon, I have realized that recovery post-race and training sessions are as equally important as the training itself. During time of recovery, the body repairs and gets stronger and faster. Without that proper recovery, the body is not able to recharge and bounce back. With a two year old, I am frequently on my feet and heading to the park or the pool with my daughter post training. I have to be more aware of when and how I am going to get in that quality recovery while being a parent. I have learned some tips over the past couple of years on how to successfully train hard and recover even harder!
1) Plan and Prepare: After hard and intense training sessions, recovery can be vital. I try to plan the hardest sessions in the morning, when I have the most energy and when I know I have a few hours afterward to rest. My daughter usually takes a 90 minute to two hour nap in the early afternoon, so I take full advantage of that time to rest. Also, be sure to have nutritious snacks and recovery drinks ready, post workout, to help your body heal and stay hydrated.
2) Active Recovery: I find that swimming is a great activity for the family. Its awesome active recovery for me and Caroline has a blast. After a really taxing day, swimming feels great because it’s non weight bearing and also gets the blood circulating through my legs and helps promote recovery. We also enjoy taking her to parks or taking walks around the neighborhood. What I find works, is incorporating some of the training in with the playing. If I have a short run on my training schedule, I will put Caroline in the BOB jogging stroller, and run down to the park. Caroline gets to have some fun and I get in a short workout!
3) Sleep: Naps have a whole new meaning in my life! I suggest trying to rest when your child rests. Even if I only have time for a 15 or 20 minute nap, it is amazing how much 15 minutes can revitalize you. I also try to get to bed shortly after she does. Although sometimes I would rather stay up and watch a tv show, I feel much better and more recovered the next day, if I go to bed early.
4) Supplements: Toddlers tend to pick up viruses as they are building up their immune system. I have found that supplementing with Vitamin D and zinc have helped me to boost up my immune system. Also, I have learned to tune into the body and when I feel like I am coming down with something, I back off a few days on the training and let the body heal! Speak with your doctor or a health care professional and see if you are lacking in any vital nutrients that aid in helping to keep your immune system strong. Getting sick can definitely impair your training and recovery, plus, it’s not ever fun to be sick.
5) Flexibility: Every day as a Mom is exciting, rewarding and fulfilling. Sometimes life may throw you curveballs and it’s important to not have a rigid training plan. For instance, if you had a couple of rough nights of sleep, move your key training session back a couple of days to prevent injury/illness.
Always listen to your body and give it time to recover and grow stronger. Be creative and flexible when finding activities that help your body bounce back, while allowing you to spend time with your children and family. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the ride!
Sarah Haskins is a professional triathlete and currently lives in Clermont, Florida. Nathan Kortuem is her husband and coach and they have a two-year-old daughter, Caroline. Sarah graduated from Parkway South High School in St. Louis, Missouri with two state championships (one in cross county and one in swimming). She attended the University of Tulsa and graduated in 2003 with a degree in elementary education and began teaching health to elementary students during the 2003-2004 school year. Sarah has also served as swimming and cross-country coach. Since 2004, Sarah has been racing professionally for eleven years and has earned 40 professional wins and competed in the Beijing Olympics in 2008. In 2015, she began racing long distance triathlon and won her first three 70.3 distance races. Sarah plans to race her first IRONMAN in the spring of 2016.