What is recovery? A good practical definition of recovery is ‘the deliberate use of interventions aimed at enhancing an athlete’s capacity to adapt to the physical and mental demands of preparation and performance’. In other words, recovery is doing something that is likely to help an athlete recover more effectively from their training or competition loads.
How can you enhance recovery?
There are many, many ways to enhance recovery. A good way to remember the different recovery techniques is with the acronym WASHUP.
Water: Water is a great recovery tool and is relatively easy and affordable to access. Use water in various forms, including cryotherapy (ice), hydrotherapy (contrast showers, hot-cold baths, spas, saunas, swimming pools) and more.
Active rest: Do something physically active other than your primary training or competition activity; for example, walking, swimming or cycling instead of running.
Sleep: Ensure adequate quality and quantity of sleep.
Hydration and refuelling: Drink the right fluids and eat the right foods at the right time, in the right quantity to enhance recovery.
Unwind mentally: Mental and emotional recovery is just as important as physical recovery.
Physical therapies: Include massage, , osteopathy, physiotherapy, stretching and yoga.
Using WASHUP recovery techniques allows athletes to recover faster and more effectively, and thereby train harder and more often. It’s important to incorporate WASHUP recovery practices into your daily training program as well. However, it’s also important to monitor your mind and body for signs of fatigue and overtraining to help determine if you need to increase the focus on your recovery program.