With several meets upon us in a short summer season, recovering quickly from long competitions is important to maintaining consistency in your training. When you finish that final race on Sunday, take your recovery seriously in order to re-focus your energy heading into another week of training. Let’s discuss some tips about post-meet recovery.
1. Warm Down
It is tempting to warm down less or not at all following your final race, but this can be detrimental to your muscle recovery later. Unless you are rushing off to catch a flight, take the time to warm down immediately after your race with the same focus as if you had another race to go. This helps flush lactate out of the muscle, where it would cause greater soreness and stiffness if it remained longer.
2. Re-fuel with a Nutritious Meal
Swimmers love the release at the end of a meet where they can eat whatever they want. While it is nice to have a treat upon finishing, remember that your body still needs proper fuel to replenish muscle glycogen stores that were depleted during your races. Opt for a healthy meal that includes a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat. Gunning for the fast food can make you feel even more tired the next day, so try to avoid this following your races. Drink plenty of water to rehydrate—especially if you are about to get on a plane. If you feel lightheaded or exceptionally lethargic, try including a beverage with electrolytes to supplement your hydration. Swimmers may sweat out an excess of salt that can be replaced with these drinks.
3. Go to Bed Early
With travel this can be a difficult task, but try to hit the sack early. Your body needs sufficient sleep to recover from multiple days of high intensity exertion. This will set you up nicely for the rest of the week, and keep your immune system strong. If you get home late from traveling, set aside time for a nap the following day if it is possible.
4. Loosen Swim the Next Day
If you do not have a scheduled practice the day after a meet, jump in the pool for a brief (30 minutes or less) loosen swim. This is meant to further lengthen your muscles and reduce stiffness from racing and traveling. You do not need to do any speed work or high intensity sets. Just swim continuously and steadily for a short while to accelerate the muscle repair process.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to a better week of practices after every meet and a more consistent summer of training overall!
BridgeAthletic works with elite professional, collegiate, and club swimming programs to provide a turnkey solution for dryland training. Led by Nick Folker, the top swimming strength and conditioning coach in the world, our team builds stroke-specific, custom-optimized dryland programs for each of our clients. The individualized workouts are delivered directly to athletes via our state of the art technology platform and mobile applications. Check Nick and BridgeAthletic out as recently featured in SwimSwam.
Nick Folker is the Co-Founder and Director of Elite Performance at BridgeAthletic. Nick’s roster of athletes includes 35 Olympians winning 22 Olympic Medals, 7 team NCAA Championships and over 170 individual and relay NCAA championships. Megan Fischer-Colbrie works as the Sports Science Editor at BridgeAthletic. Megan was a four-year varsity swimmer at Stanford, where she recently graduated with a degree in Human Biology. The Championship Series by BridgeAthletic is designed to empower athletes with tips from the pros that will help them reach peak performance come race day. We will be covering competition-focused topics such as nutrition, recovery, stretching, and mental preparation.
Swimming News / Swim Training courtesy of BridgeAthletic, a SwimSwam partner.