Simply put, 'the details' is the sum of all the little things we can besides our daily training to maximize our fitness gains, improve recovery and reduce chances for injury, An important part of 'the detail' are the 3 C’s of recovery” (3C’s in short hand!) and basically stands for Calories, Cold and Compression.
Calories/Carbs - it means that the athlete should consume the proper post workout recovery meal withing a 30 minute window after completing training. The exact numbers are not set in stone, and will vary from athlete to athlete but the athlete should shoot for: 1.0-1.5 grams of Carbohydrates per kilogram of body mass within depending on the intensity and duration of the session. This should be in addition to protein on a 3-4:1 carbohydrates to protein (approx. 0.25-0.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass). The source of carbohydrates should be moderate to high glycemic index. Today we have many convenient options for recovery meals/drinks, among those we have 1st Endurance Ultragen or Endurox R4. Other more nutrient dense alternatives are Greek yogurt with some granola, chocolate milk or soy milk or a bagel with almond butter and banana.
Cold - this simply means an ice bath, ice packs or a cold shower on the legs. While not the most fun thing to do post workout, the benefits are significant. The main goal is to reduce inflammation resulting from the muscle damage post-training. Acute and chronic inflammation can hinder the consistent training for athletes who are highly susceptible to both
Compression - This refers to wearing compression garments on the legs. While current available scientific research on the benefits of compression is divided, there is some available with encouraging findings that indicates it can aid a faster recovery. In addition, we have anecdotal evidence from many coaches/athletes which agrees with potential benefits. Most likely the mechanism is by helping venous return which in turn might speed up the recovery process.
Outside of the 3C’s, there are many other important components to the “details”.
- Diet: a moderate to high Carbohydrate intake (low glycemic, except during/post training) along with lean protein and healthy fats should be the cornerstone of every athletes daily eating habits. Nutrient dense, non-processed foods are always better choices.
- Sleep: an often overlooked or discounted aspect for optimal training. Great athletes are lazy…and sleep a lot! Rule of thumb. 7 hours base sleep, plus ½ hour for every hour trained. For many folks this is unrealistic…but it should be your goal when possible.
- Rejuvenation methods: I am talking massage, stretching and self massage. At the OTC in Co. Springs athletes have access to the “recovery lounge”, here there are steam rooms, ice tanks and hot tanks…along with a team of staff massage therapists. Unfortunately most of us are NOT at the OTC, and even weekly massage, while great, it is not realistic. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do it yourself every night! When you are watching TV or relaxing each night, sit on the floor in shorts and work from your feet towards your heart with steady, not too hard pressure making sure to work the tendons and soft tissue, along with the belly of the muscle. An alternative can be the use of roller foam or trigger point therapy. This10 minutes can be a small investment with huge gains!
- Stress reduction: If you have a job, family, kids, or any combo of these…you have “life stressors”. Stress makes our body release a hormone called Cortisol. In small batches it’s not that bad…but training just happens to add another stressor to that list. Reducing stress on all other fronts goes a long way towards improved training, speed up recovery, reduce injury risks and ultimately improved performance.