Here is my Ironman recovery plan. I’ll let you know if it works well or not. This is the 5th day since the race and I’m feeling about 90% recovered now. I need to recover fast because I have another one in just over 2 weeks from now (Vineman). My main areas of focus for a quick recovery are 1) to ensure that my nutrition during and immediately after the race are well planned & executed and 2) to consume a high protein diet in the days following the race.
1. Ensuring my race nutrition is well executed.
I seldom lose weight in a long race, making sure I consume enough carbs but also some protein during the race. For IM Switzerland I used the bike leg to consume a lot of nutrition: in the first 40km I drank 750ml of electrolyte, 750ml water, 2 x gels and a bar. Thereafter I had a gel every 20-30 mins, which is the frequency that works for me. I also consumed about 2L of coke and another 2L of water. On the run I find it difficult to eat but I managed 1 or 2 gels per hour and energy drink at every station. Once I finished, I had about 4 cups of the Powerbar recover drink. I tried to eat but I just wasn’t hungry. About 2 hours later I managed to eat a cheese burger.
2. After the race: eat lots of protein
in the days following the race, I aim to eat as much protein as possible in order to aid muscle recovery. I don’t focus on carbs since the goal is not to replenish glycogen stores, but to repair damaged muscle. Despite what people may say, you don’t need a high carb diet to repair your muscles. I aim for over 2g of protein per kg of body weight per day, so for me the goal is 150g. To get there without eating a whole lot of meat, I supplement with protein drinks, egg whites and amino acids.
3. Training: don’t do nothing
I try to do some light exercise – “active recovery” for at least a week. This means swimming, and very easy running / cycling. This gets the blood flowing to your sore muscles, delivers oxygen to them and will help you recover sooner.
Anyway, that’s just the plan, I’ll let you know if it works out for me! So far I’m feeling good, I’m aiming to do a power test tomorrow morning in order to gauge how recovered I actually am.
[update: power test went well, 10 watts higher average power than my pre-IM test]