I’m getting old.
Not saying this as a bad thing, just a reality. Which means I need to reevaluate how I do things. Especially when it comes to recovery.
2017 will be the year I
run attempt my first 100 mile race. After a successful 70 miler last year, this is the next logical step up for me. However, I noticed some tweaks needed to my training schedule. The biggest being more focused on recovery.
To start off, I am really hoping that this is not just in my head. According to the inter webs, researchers are still not 100% sure why we take longer to recover as we age or if we even do. Studies are conflicting. For instance this study on young and master trail runners would indicate that the masters recovered slower. While another study, would indicate that recovery rates are similar in both young and master level athletes.
So, what are you supposed to believe. I feel like in most things, that this is not a one size fits all. Every individual is different, so we should expect recovery time to be different. So it is up to each of us to monitor our own recovery time.
There are certainly a number of common symptoms that you are not getting the recovery time you need. If you are experiencing any of the following, you might be over training.
- Elevated resting heart rate – you do know what your resting heart rate should be right?
- Insomnia – this is the one that gets me. I can often go 3 or 4 nights without a good nights rest
- Increased injuries – Getting injured more often? In particular, are you re-aggravating old injuries?
- Decrease motivation – let’s be honest, getting out at 4 in the morning in rain is never fun. But, are you finding excuses on perfect days?
- No progress – are you not seeing any gains? Or worse yet, going backwards.
These are just a few of course. A quick google search for “over training” will add dozens more to the list.
More importantly, is what can you do about it? I mean for most of us taking more time off is simply not an option.
Well option or not, time off is the simply the best thing to recover. This may mean altering your workout schedule, maybe adding a two a day, just so you can add another day off. Also don’t discount the benefits of a good night’s rest. Sleep is an essential component of proper recovery.
Protein has also shown great benefits. Eating protein right after an exercise is a common practice to aid in muscle recovery. But older athletes simply need more. As much as twice as much as younger athletes. Specifically proteins high in leucine ( an Amino Acid). Low-fat dairy, such as yogurt and milk, is a high-quality protein source, as are eggs, nuts, peanut butter, soy, fish, and chicken.
For endurance athletes, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of long easy workouts. As we age, this is the exact opposite approach. In fact, it has been recommended that aging athlete should do the majority of their workouts above 80% intensity factor with an emphasis on muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance and sprint power.
Aging athletes have to be aware of both testosterone levels and bone density. One thing that will aid with both of these is Strength training. Remember to load the weights though, especially if you are concerned with bone density. Body weight exercises can be good but not quite as effective.
Join the discussion
What about you? Any tips, tricks or advice you would like to share on recovery?