In the lead up to an event, it is ideal to have 12-16 weeks of training up your sleeve, focused on the specifics of that event.
Usually this is broken up into 3 periodization phases
1. the base phase – building muscle and getting some kilometres under your belt
2. the preparation phase – your endurance is still building but tempo is brought into the picture
3. the peak phase – this is where all the fine tuning is done, miles are decreased as intensity increases.
Recovery is an aspect that is often overlooked but just as important as the physical side of program BUT it also should increase as the training phases head towards race day. Of course if you are battling an injury such as back pain then this should be managed with treatment between sessions and by adapting the workload.
There are ways to help with recovery but basically in the early weeks of the training cycle (1-6 weeks) you should be allowing your body to take a more organic approach to the stresses of training by allowing the muscles to repair and rebuild without the assistance of anti-inflammatories or ice-baths.
The focus here should be on rebuilding muscles with high protein post workout snacks and limiting the empty calories. Rest your body at least once a week and place emphasis on stretching each night.
By the time you are hitting weeks 7-12 your fitness levels have increased as has the workout intensity. Focus on foods that are high in antioxidants (berries, acai, chai seeds etc) or take a supplement. Compression wear will help after long sessions and plunge into an icebath after high lactate speed sessions.
Once weeks 12-16 comes about then this is the time to really amp up the recovery side of things. Increase ice-baths after each hard session and book in massages to help aid recovery and release any tight muscle fascia adhesion’s. Self massage through foam roller and pressure release balls will be beneficial also.
Anti- inflammatories can help with pain relief because now it’s about being ready and pain free on race day (don’t go overboard and seek advice from your doctor). Don’t neglect your warm up and warm downs either..now is the time to tick off all the boxes and pay attention to the small details.