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Fri 22nd Mar 2019
Training research: Recovery and Adaptation
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Thursday 23rd May 2013

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The latest here from Triathlon Performance Solutions ( and Head Coach Ben Bright highlighting some science-based evidence from recent research highlights for endurance sports. This from a recent Elite Performance conference.

Today we focus on Recovery and Adaptation, tomorrow we bring you another piece on Periodization.


"More training is not better, better adaptation is better"

The goal for training and racing is to maximize training response and adaptation, not to maximize training just for the sake of doing more and more training.

Recovery aids such as compression clothing and ice baths do decrease inflammation and prostaglandin response as well as soreness in and swelling around the muscles. There is a strong belief that if these strategies can speed recovery and allow the athlete to train harder and train more then this must be a good thing. You simply feel better. But do they actually improve performance?

Do you run faster, push more watts or swim longer when using these recovery strategies? Conclusions based on recent science is that many of the acknowledged recovery strategies do improve performance in the short term but if used too frequently can hinder performance in the long term. You need to have an inflammatory response and to have some soreness (DOMS) as part of the adaptation process. Muscle soreness is your body rebuilding and adapting to the training stress and is one of the ways your performance improves. If training soreness is continually masked or minimized with healing modalities you can also risk over training. Your muscles may feel better and less sore, but there can still be residual fatigue.

So when to use recovery aids? When you have races that are close together or if you know you are at risk of injury through extreme muscle tightness/soreness, then pull out all the stops in terms of recovery aids/methods and it will help your performance for that short time period. Just don't rely on these strategies every day. Successful athletes and coaches are finding that adapting training to incorporate muscle soreness into the program is reaping better long term gains. More is not always better.

The two ‘Gods of Recovery' are sleep and nutrition and these are the two main areas you should really be focused on. Getting good recovery nutrition in straight after sessions and making sure you have a good night's sleep will ensure you maximize the benefits of your training. Other beneficial ways to recover are to do some light water exercise, easy spinning on the bike or walking. Doing this at the end of the day helps recovery without compromising that necessary inflammatory process. Also, an easy cool down directly after hard training is beneficial for recovery.

Triathlon Performance Solutions

From the TPS Tri camp in Playitas, Feb 13.  All the athletes then completed the Lighthouse Triathlon Olympic race in it’s 2nd year with the infamous run up to the Lighthouse, 13km of tough strides.

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