Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or experienced runner, take advantage of these tips to start or improve your trail running!
Note that in every situation, the training prior to a race has an important influence on the post-race period. A well-trained athlete will recover faster than an average or poorly trained athlete. But staying well trained is not saying the largest volume of sessions or the most training days. Of course, it is important to have consistent preparation, but an overload of effort leads to fatigue that can lead to hitting your limit on the day of the race or even an injury. A lack of training is also detrimental to performance and jeopardizes results.
Nathalie says: I believe that harmony between body and mind is essential. You have to be self-aware and listen to yourself. If one day you do not feel good in training, it is better to not force it and to rest: the training sessions which follow afterwards will be more effective.
Do not worry if recovery after your first few races is painful, even our athlete has experienced difficult recovery:
"The first time I did the Grand Trail des Templiers (76km, 2011), I finished completely washed out. It was a horror, I hurt everywhere and for a long time after the race. Today, even with longer and more physical trails, I do not feel as much pain. It is proof that training and experience limit post-trail pain."
RECOVERY AND TRAINING
There are various ways to optimize and/or accelerate recovery. The most common are massages, cryotherapy and electro muscular stimulation. Stretching is also very important; trail running is a sport that exposes runners to many shocks and micro-shocks. Remember to stretch all muscle groups (remember; the legs are connected to the back and vice versa) to limit the risk of discomfort or injury. It's up to you to decide which systems to aid recovery are best for you.
Nathalie says: For massages, start with the legs which need special attention, but don't limit to just one area, help relax the whole body. Then you can do some electro muscular stimulation. Personally, I also do a little yoga, which allows me to do all-round stretching. I find my balance, my harmony. Also, don't hesitate to see a physiotherapist as soon as you feel a little trouble, take control of the problem at its root.
Do not be afraid of "complete rest" after a race. The duration of rest should be adjusted according to the length and difficulty of the race. But for a long race or Ultra Trail of more than 80Km, plan at least a full week of rest (no sport, not even the “famous” recovery jog). After your rest phase, resume exercise gently, either on a quiet walk, Nordic walking or "supported" exercise (cycling, swimming). At this point, you are in the recovery phase: don't rush things, it could be detrimental to you afterwards.
Nathalie says: We must respect the phase of total rest. These moments are part of the training. The recovery must be quiet. The risks involved in starting too soon or too much training can be frustrating because you are physically limited plus there is higher risk of injury.
Rest is both complementary and indispensable in training.
"Better to do one session less than one session too many"
RECOVERY AND DAILY LIFE
"You are what you eat." Like rest, nutrition impacts on an athlete's training and preparation. It certainly defines the trail runners’ abilities during the race, but also afterwards. During the race, stay hydrated! To do this, equip yourself with a hydration pack or Race Vest. It is important to drink plenty (water of course) after exercise, to re-hydrate the whole body and help restructure fibres. A healthy diet is also recommended, especially to help you reach and maintain your ideal weight.
Nathalie says: Note to food lovers; it is not necessary to limit yourself into too many food constraints on a daily basis, you risk becoming frustrated. Anyway, with the routine and training you won't want to eat too much of certain things as you will feel it too much afterwards. Drink plenty (energy drinks or water loaded with magnesium, salt, sodium) while racing AND training. This makes it easier to keep on going.
“I limit my diet only the final week before a race by limiting fibre and gluten (a matter of comfort) and dairy for potential risks on active bones. But otherwise I am not on a special diet.”
Depending on the level you wish to participate at, the post-trail recovery will be more or less painful. If you become a trail runner for pleasure and discovery of landscapes, you will be able to limit pain relative to effort. However, if you want to line up at the front of competitions, be prepared to deal with the aches and pains.
If the race is short, you will have a high level of intensity. If the race is long, you will have a high level of endurance. In both cases, and if you want to be successful, you must hurt yourself (in effort).
NATHALIE'S ADVICE FOR RECOVERY AFTER A TRAIL:
Physical rest is important, but do not neglect the mind. Take advantage of the time you need for post-race recovery to live normally again (social life, food), get away from any constraints. Whether the race result is satisfactory or not, unwind, enjoy. It's all about balance.