Recovery can often seem like a whole other discipline for triathletes, especially after hard sessions or during race season when you need to be top of your game for weeks on end.
So how do the elites manage to perform at the pointy end? And what are their secrets to recovering while remaining strong and injury-free come race day? To find out, 220’s Features Editor Rob Slade sat down with pro triathlete and serial middle-distance winner Holly Lawrence to find out.
Holly competed in her first triathlon at 16 and later had a go at short-course racing, before switching her attention to middle distance in 2015. Success has followed in droves ever since, including an Ironman 70.3 World Championship win in 2016 and many more race wins in the years that followed.
More recently, she secured a win at Ironman 70.3 Des Moines, a second-place finish at the Ironman 70.3 European Championship in Elsinore and was part of the winning team in the inaugural Collins Cup.
Now, she’s sharing her tips to help you recover after your training and racing…
220: How do you recover from hard training sessions?
I’ve been using the Hyperice Normatec boots for 10 years, because to me that’s the easiest solution. I’ve never been good at foam rolling or anything that I had to really force on myself. It’s so hard to do. I can go to my PT and he can put me through pain, but it’s very hard to do it yourself.
I get messages all the time asking me, ‘do you think the boots are a good investment?’ I’m like, ‘100%’. If you’re going to ever sit on a sofa, you might as well be sat in them because you just generally feel better for it. They’re always out. That’s probably the biggest thing I do for recovery.
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220: How do you recover after a big session?
After [a session], I eat as soon as possible. I’ll never wait an hour or half an hour after, I’ll always have something even if I’m on the go. Even if I have something in the car, whether it’s a protein shake or a made-up breakfast.
If I’m biking I eat straight away, shower after and then sit in the Normatec boots if I’m at home. I take them to races, too. I see my PT a couple of times a week. I feel like that’s important for my body.
220: Talk us through what your recovery looks like after race day.
If you’re racing and then going to another race, your recovery is super important. When it’s the last race of the season, you know, it all goes out of the window a bit. You might have a drink afterwards, which you never would usually.
Timing is the biggest thing. Eating straight away, then maybe doing a recovery run and just keeping your body moving. If you can ride your bike back to your hotel, it’s always a good thing. Straight after a race is when recovery is most important. If you can get a massage straight away, that’s great, but most of the time you can’t.
220: If you can’t get a massage, what do you do instead?
Moving first, then stuff like a massage gun and then a good hour straight in the Normatecs. I’m known to just be in them for two hours quite happily.
The Normatecs are like having a gentle flush massage but with gradual compression. You get the benefit of compression and massage. It’s pretty simple, but makes a big difference. I don’t use anything less than the maximum level you can get. You can actually customise it too, depending on what area you want it to massage.
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Holly Lawrence’s 5 top tips on how to recovery quickly during back-to-back races:
- Refuel: Eat something and drink something straight away. Have a recovery drink that’s a mix of protein, carbohydrate and water.
- Keep moving: Gentle movement, whether that’s walking or spinning on your bike, is perfect because it’s low impact and gets your blood moving. You can do this the same day or the next day.
- Active recovery: The next day, just do a bit of movement like a recovery swim or bike, but don’t run as you’ll probably be a bit too sore after hard races to run straight away.
- Use recovery tech: I use my Normatec boots and just lie horizontal, really put in some recovery time where you can turn your brain off and just relax.
- Reflect: Once you’ve had enough time to assess what went well and what you’d improve upon, that’s a good time to reflect.
Thanks to Hyperice for arranging this interview with Holly Lawrence. If you’d like to find out more about the company’s range of recovery products, head to the Hyperice website.
Top image credit: Getty Images