Whether it’s following a hard workout or races, there are four recommended steps (via swimswam.com) that any serious swimmer should strive to adhere to. It’s important to take recovery seriously so that you can “re-focus your energy heading into another week of training.” With that in mind, here are some things SwimSwam suggests you remember for proper swim recovery.
1. Warm Down
It’s common to warm down between big races to keep muscles loose but it could be tempting to not warm down at all (or perhaps not long enough) after a final race. Be sure to take the time to warm down in the pool right after the race instead of going home or hanging out with family and friends. This (along with proper hydration) helps flush out the muscles so you won’t be uncomfortably stiff the next day.
2. Eat Smart
Avoid the temptation to gorge yourself on salty or sugary foods right after a big meal. Instead of diving into sweets and fast food, replenish your muscles after a race with a nice balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fat. You’re likely to feel more exhausted the next day if you eat something devoid of nutrients. If you’re feeling particularly lethargic, drink something with electrolytes in addition to plenty of water.
Treats are okay—just try to be moderate.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Between travel and physical exhaustion, it’s important to try and get tucked in plenty early. Sleep helps your body recover from previous workouts and high exertion. This is one of the simplest things you can do to prepare that will have a high impact. Sleep is also a good way to make sure you’re immune system stays strong and you aren’t derailed by illness.
4. Swim the Next Day
Even if you don’t have another event, plan to get in the pool regardless, even if it’s just for 20-30 minutes. This will lengthen your muscles and reduce any stiffness. Don’t worry about doing a difficult training routine, just do a steady and continuous swim to help your muscles snap back.
Follow these four rules and you’ll be a step ahead of the competition. Recovery is important and done properly, can really take you to the next level.