Professional triathlete and winner of this year's Escape From Alcatraz, Alicia Kaye, knows that quality recovery is the only way to continue making performance gains, so she takes her downtime seriously. Alicia compiled her favorite recovery methods that allow her to stay competitive with the world's best.
I often get asked for racing and training tips. While those are very important, equally key are recovery tips. Here are my “PERTs” – “Performance Enhancing Recovery Tips”! Get fitter and faster by resting!
Sleeping and Napping
Try to make sure you are getting adequate sleep for the amount of training you are doing. As a pro athlete, it is my job to make this a priority. However, this became much harder when I was a student or working a job and training at the same time. Everyone’s sleep needs are different. We all sort of know the ideal amount we need to feel good that day. My feel good amount is 8. If I get 7 hours, I just feel okay, but I feel downright sick if I sleep less than 7 hours. My ideal amount is 9+. Ironically, I am terrible at napping. My body just doesn’t want to do it, except at altitude! So I will just lie there - no electronics near me – and rest quietly. Someone once told me that lying there free from distraction is 50% of the value of actual sleep. Whether or not this is true doesn’t matter to me since the theory really helped curb my sleep anxiety as a kid when I struggled to fall asleep.
Make sure you are eating enough for the amount of training you are doing. Our sport is hard and demanding so it’s important to make sure you are fuelling it adequately. Thinking about food purely from a recovery perspective, make sure you get in a recovery drink or food within 15 minutes of a hard workout. I always aim for the 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. If I'm training in a particularly warm environment, I'll sip on Base Rocket Fuel to help replenish my electrolytes. Then within 60 minutes, I follow it up with a proper meal. After particularly hard sessions, I can feel nauseous so I really have to be disciplined about this timeline. I also simply listen to my body. If I’m craving lots of salt and fat then I will have a meal that is a reflection of that.
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so here are two of my favorite big session recovery meals:
Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Then let your recovery time reflect that personality trait
If you aren’t sure if you are an extrovert or introvert, ask yourself this: Would you rather “charge your batteries” by yourself or with a select few people or would you rather go out in a more public setting with a larger group of friends? I was pretty extroverted when I was in high school and college but now as an adult I am definitely more introverted. So when I need to recover, I make sure my downtime is a reflection of this. I like to write, read, bake, or watch a movie to mentally recover.
Body Work and PR Lotion
I firmly believe in body work that includes modalities such as massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, MAT, laser, etc. These require an investment of time and money but if you have both, then these will assist in your recovery, and general health and well-being.
My secret weapon isPerformance & Recovery Lotionto help buffer lactic acid before and after all my big training sessions. It works!
My husband (PR Lotion athlete and professional triathlete Jarrod Shoemaker) started working with NormaTec almost 10 years ago. I remember the first time I used them. I was a little skeptical. But sure enough, my legs did feel better. Then we had them at a masters swim meet and anyone that has been a competitive swimmer knows how the fatigue can really accumulate over a 2-3 day meet. I, along with the rest of our team, was using the NormaTec system in between events and that’s what solidified my belief. My legs didn’t feel heavy. I was recovering faster in between events and swimming consistently instead of feeling completely exhausted by day three. Now I use them every day as a pro triathlete to flush my legs and get ready for the next day.
This product is phenomenal! Truly is a game changer. Used it recently for my 12+ Hour Spartan Endurance Race that required me running over 30 miles, climbing up mountains, and doing over 65 obstacle courses. Amp Human was critical in me finishing this race! Will continue using it and telling others about it
I am consistently surprised by how well this stuff works. I use it for all my long rides and am much less sore the following day than I expect to be.
I used this for the first time during a half marathon and absolutely loved it! I had almost no pain in my legs, WAY less than normal, and I was able to run longer because of it. Highly recommend this!
I’ve been so happy with PR Lotion. I can push through hard intervals and race with confidence that I do t have to overreach and burn out early. There are plenty other products that make claims, but PR Lotion has the research and results.
I love this stuff. My legs don't cramp, they aren't sore afterwards, and it's become a pivotal part of my pre-race routine.
I have been using the lotion mainly for my lactic threshold sessions. I get through the workouts with less pain and find that I am able to recover for the next day. The biggest plus is not feeling so much of the burning sensation in my hamstrings as much after high intensity interval runs.
The first two times I used PR lotion, I won two UCI cyclocross races! Of course, it's become a staple part of my training and racing routine since then. Recently, I competed in 4 events at Sea Otter in 3 days - using PR lotion before and after each one. I won the final event and was amazed how well my legs held up for all of the efforts.