How to Recover Fast Between Races

On the last two Spartan Race weekends I managed back-to-back wins (Ottawa Super and UltraBeast and Red Deer Super and Sprint). And I have been getting a lot of questions as to how I recover.

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Here’s my Top Five List:

  1. Training – I train hard and long days back to back so my body is pretty used to getting a beat down a couple days in a row. Usually I try to vary the stress if my body feels off like a long run followed by day of power hiking in the mountains or pulling the kids around in a bike carrier on a hilly route.
  2. Nutrition Window – Almost the first thing I try to do is get something into me. You have about thirty minutes to get some fuel in. Basically your muscles are like sponges during that time and primed to soak it up. You also want some protein to start muscle repair. Experts say 3 or 4 grams of carb to each gram of protein but really, just get a little protein in there and you’re good. You also need water to break those carbs down so drink up. Depending on the race I usually head straight to the Thirsty Buddha or chocolate milk tent. I also have a handful of bars and a bottle of water in my drop bag just in case.
  3. Active Recovery – Honestly, I’m too lazy for cool-down jogs but I do try to walk it out a bit before I hose down. I also spend a much longer time warming up and start off way slower on day two to give my body more time to get race ready. Plus, my kids love pools and we’re usually travelling race weekends so I end up spending the afternoon floating around in water shaking things out.
  4. Body Work – I a huge believer in doing your own mobility work. I have a pre-race and post-race routine. I’m also fortunate to pack around a registered massage therapist with me (my husband) who understands the sport. But if you didn’t marry into mobility, that’s fine. Just carry a portable foam roller and some balls with you.
  5. Relax – It’s not only your body that just took a huge hit, racing is also mentally and emotionally taxing. With two little bitty kids we don’t get to watch movies as often as I’d like so between races I look forever to curling up and watching one. It’s also important to remember not to take it too seriously if you have a double race weekend. Have fun out there and take the pressure down a notch. It may be normal in our sport, but being able to finish two races back-to-back is pretty darn amazing!

Another “No Excuses” Mom

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To check out the full article on Women’s Health Magazine, just click the photo.

I don’t know if your Facebook feed has been swallowed up with this new “no excuses” mom photo, but mine certainly has.

Those are nice abs Abby. And I get where you’re coming from Maria.

You’re trying to encourage more moms to take control and get active. That is empowering. You might even be considered a feminist.

“Strong is the new skinny,” right?

“Real women have muscles”

“Squat now, selfie later,” am I right?

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Is there even any weight on that bar?

The problem here is not that they are trying to recreate women’s ideas about how their body should look or how fitness can help them achieve “the new standard” if they only drop their excuses.

The problem is that they are reducing the amazing machine that is a woman’s body to a cheap made-in-china “for display purposes only” ideal.

Who cares what your abs look like? Mine aren’t great. I’ve had two children. But you know what, they weren’t all the great before the kids either. I make my living on being fit. Not having sweet abs.

One of my good friends sometimes gets her RDA of exercise by gardening and eats Nutella by the Costco sized jar. She has the nicest six-pack I have ever seen.

But you know what else? I don’t really care how my abs look. I care that they can stay solid while I carry both my kids up a mountain. I care that they are strong enough to help me traverse a set of monkey bars or pull my knees high enough to make the rope climb easier.

I agree that people, and mothers, have too many excuses and/or reasons (whatever you want to call them) in terms of prioritizing their own fitness. And I agree that we are at a crisis in terms of poor nutrition and more critically, low activity levels. I see moms all the time who simply give up after having a baby, or more often, two babies. And I’m a mom. I get why.

But a set of ripped abs doesn’t motivate me. The feeling of utter triumph when I make it over a 10′ wall does. The feeling of standing at the top of a mountain trying to catch my breath from the scenery, and the effort, does.

I have had the good fortune of racing with some of the best athletes (and best six-packs) in the sport of obstacle course racing. When I think impressive though, I have one image.

Waiting for my husband, who went into a later wave at the local Spartan Race, I saw a lady who must have been about 300 pounds hauling herself over the final wall on the course with some difficulty. I was amazed.

And then I saw the reason she was struggling. And it wasn’t the extra pounds.

She had her skinny, fit looking teenage daughter in her free hand.

Tears still come to my eyes every time I think about it.

We don’t need a reason not have excuses, we need a reason not to want excuses.

That reason for me is obstacle course racing.

BTW, if you haven’t read this article by Lauren Fleshman, you need to click the photo and read it now. It’s awesome – just like her.

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And then sign up for the interactive online OCR training community http://www.mud-fu.com and never lift your shirt in front of a mirror again.