Recover faster

Home made smoothies – combining fresh fruit, natural fruit juice, milk, and other goodies – can be a great way to get those much needed carbs and protein into the system within that crucial 20-minute window post-exercise. During this time the body has been shown to be hyper-receptive to replenishing lost nutrients as it synthesizes glycogen and protein with optimal efficiency. Miss this window and recovery will not be as quick or effective.

I’ve tried several powder-based products, but over the last few months I’ve found my own smoothies work just as well – if not better – and I’ve been fighting fit ready for my next training session. I also love to wake myself up with a healthy breakfast drink; I’ve never been a big breakfast fan, but oats and a smoothie go down very well and set me up for a great day. Here’s a typical recipe post-exercise:

1 sliced apple, 1 sliced banana, 1/3 pressed apple juice, 2/3 skimmed milk, oats, 1 table spoon natural vanilla yogurt, 1 tea spoon flaxseed oil, 1/2 serving Base Amino

T minus…

…6.5 months, or 29 weeks, or 202 days.

That’s how long I have left until the big day. Ironman Switzerland, July 25th. Nervous? A little. Excited? Very. Now that we’re into 2010 what I’m embarking upon is suddenly far more real: the flights are booked, the hotel is paid for, my competition schedule is planned out, and the third phase of my training plan is starting.

Speaking of figures….. We all have ‘A’ races, ‘B’ races, time targets, PBs, and friends to beat… and there’s nothing wrong with keeping things on the low down [that’s down low – ed.]. But sharing objectives can be fun, it kind of makes them more real and makes you that little bit more accountable to them. So here goes:

Half Marathon: break 1h30. Olympic distance: 2h15. 70.3: break 5h10. Ironman: break 11 hours.

How am I going to give my self a shot at this then? Well, phase 3 of my training plan is focused on ‘strength endurance’, and looking at the sessions I’m in for a lot of hard work. There are 3 sessions of each discipline per week, with alternating quality run/quantity bike to ensure my fitness increases through pushing the boundaries followed by adequate recovery. This means pushing the pace one week then pushing the distance (or rather, time) the next to enable the body to adapt. The swim is also moving into a fitness build phase, overloading the system with harder and longer swim sets balanced with periodised recovery.

Keeping motivation through these cold, dark, and icy months is testing. But with stated targets in mind I feel I’ve got every reason to swim/bike/run every day, to work hard, eat well, and to keep my mind on the job.

And for anyone doing an Ironman this year and in need of a little extra motivation, check out this video!

New Year, Renewed Motivation

Ironman Switzerland, courtesy of Crystal Palace Triathletes…