As a recently appointed RMA Ambassador I thought I would like to write a little story and share some snippets of what I’ve learnt over the years with all you fit mummies! I was happy to take some time out of my crazy day to write, but in order to make these articles worthwhile I’d like to know what it is that you fit mummies want to know?! Connect with me on Instagram or Facebook and share your topics of interest. While I await your feedback I thought I’d start with a favourite of mine…recovery!
Since the Commonwealth Games team announcement last week it has been a continuous reference point to discuss my age and how I am the oldest in the athletics team, and how extraordinary it is that I’ve ran my best as the years progress.
It’s no surprise to me and my support team that I am running well now, as when I was a younger athlete I combined running, studying at University and a part time job and barely had a second to focus on recovery. From 18 to 28 I spent half of every year either injured or returning from injury (8 stress fractures and a few torn muscles later). As an older athlete I’ve learnt to read my body, understand the different signs prior to an injury and manage my load better. Most importantly I am a lot better at making recovery a priority, even as a time poor mum!
I found that there was a pattern with each injury. I’d get run down, get a cold, have low iron and then get a stress reaction; which I would turn into a fracture by trying to run through it! I’d run while the pain was minor and eventually I wouldn’t be able to walk on it! You’d think I would’ve learnt after the first few wouldn’t you!
My recovery strategy now is SIMPLE, as I am time poor; balancing work, mum duties and running I need a strategy which provides great results in as little time as possible. I am keen for you to share, “what is your favourite recovery strategy and why?”
Whether you are running a 10k, a half or a full marathon when that finish line approaches and you cross the line with pride the mind immediately wanders to thoughts of food, drink and relaxation. After a marathon I always crave salty hot chips and cannot look at another noodle, rice grain or bread roll for weeks!
The very moment you cross the line the body moves into recovery mode. The question is, can we speed up the recovery process, reduce the amount of soreness we experience and most importantly, how can we get back out there quickly to train for the next one? No matter how fast we run or what place we come, we always want more out of ourselves…please let us recover quickly!!
Growing up I spent every weekend at the VFA (now VFL) with my big sister, Mum and Dad of course! My Dad played for and coached the Preston Bullants, now the Northern Blues (affiliated with Carlton FC) for many years and we grew up watching the footballers perform at their best (occasionally their worst!), complete their post-game stretching routine and head to the social rooms for a few beers and a bowl of chips!
How times have changed! Last year we returned to the Bullants nest (Dad working for Collingwood this time) to watch the Magpies play on the same ground against the Northern Blues. Post-game, the teams are provided plenty of sports drinks, protein supplements, sandwiches, muffins and a trip to the ice baths. Recovery is key to ensure the team is ready for the next game and the training sessions in between. No beers and no bowls of chips in sight!
We have football teams choosing to fly home from big games at a lower altitude, daily remedial massage sessions, ultra-gravity treadmills, nutritionists testing radical products for new ways to recover quicker, athletes jumping into freezing cold ice baths and then there’s the old fashioned option, eggs on toast, a chocolate milkshake and a hot cup of tea! I resort to this old fashioned way time and time again!
One key component of recovery that is often forgotten is within the training program itself. A well prepared, physiologically-planned training program will build in recovery, keeping it simple for the athlete. Immediately following a hard track session last week and reporting the details back to my coach, Dick sent me an email; “Your run tomorrow must be easy!” It may have been a longish run the following day, but it was slower and easy on the mind and body…built in recovery and reward for a great session!
Check out your training program right now. Do you have built in recovery trots after big races and solid track or road sessions? Do you record how you feel each run and occasionally look through your diary to try to find any patterns where you feel a little flat? If you don’t, it is great to start doing it. Instant feedback on how you are responding to the training program allows you/your coach to tweak things to bring out your best! Don’t be afraid to eat well after a long run, your body will thank you!
Lisa Weightman x