James' Top Recovery Tips

Ask most athletes when they think they are getting faster and they'll probably tell you it's during the interval session they ran on the track or the long run they did on Sunday. In actual fact, the training you do in these sessions breaks your body down so you can get faster while you sleep and recover. Recovery is one of the most important aspects of your training and racing but is often neglected. My masters' degree in exercise physiology focussed on recovery during endurance sports and led me to some interesting findings. Use these tips to ensure your body is fully recovered so you can perform at your best day in, day out. 

1. Active recovery. By promoting blood flow in order to aid in the removal of toxins, active recovery is consistently shown to be the most effective recovery tool. Ensure you always warm down well and try to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time after a hard session to reap the rewards of active recovery.  

2. Nutrition. After breaking your body down during a hard session, nutrition is required to start building it back up. The best time to take in nutrition is within 60 minutes post exercise when your body is depleted of glycogen and readily able to uptake the nutrition you take a board. Good post exercise nutrition should have a carbohydrate to protein ratio of around 3:1. Some good post exercise foods include low fat chocolate milk, a peanut butter sandwich or a yogurt parfait. 

3. Stretch. After working hard your muscles shorten. Use stretching to reduce muscle tension, enhance flexibility and promote the repair of your muscles. Be wary of stretching immediately following an extremely hard session or race, however as your muscle fibres are often so damaged stretching immediately can do more harm than good. 

4. Massage/Roll. Self massage and rolling is also an important tool for ensuring a decrease in muscle tension and an increase in flexibility. On top of this, massage and rolling promotes muscle fibre regeneration and aids in the removal of toxins. Ensure you keep well hydrated while massaging to help this process.  

5. Ice bath. Ice baths have been shown to aid in the recovery process by decreasing swelling and slowing down metabolic activity as well as constricting blood vessels to help flush waste products out of your system. Ice baths should be taken between 12C and 15C for roughly 10minutes. 

6. Compression. The popularity of compression gear continues to grow. While there has been some mixed findings on compression gear in the literature, graduated compression gear has been found to give the most benefit to athletes. Graduated compression refers to garments that are tighter towards your ankles and apply gradually less pressure as they move up the leg. These garments aid in recovery by helping the muscle pump system in returning blood to the heart to promote circulation. Wear calf sleeves or tights post exercise to get the most benefit out of your compression gear.

If you have questions on how to get the most out of post exercise recovery or have some of your own tips please share them! For now, it's off to do some stretching! 

 

 

 

James' Top Tips to Ensure You're Race Ready

Last weekend was a huge milestone for me. It was the first time I competed in a race since September last year. As I lined up with the A grade riders in the final round of the Battle of the Bridge Criterium, my usually calm nerves were off the charts. Although I was confident in my fitness, competing in my first race in over 10 months on a new bike, with a new team on an unfamiliar course was a recipe for anxiety. 

As the race began I shifted my attention to the preparation I had done and my anxiety began to vanish like so many of the riders behind me. As I reflect on my race it is clear that the great result I had can't be contributed to one thing, but rather a multitude of things that my coach and I had done to make sure I was ready to go. With the Bay Run coming up this weekend followed by the City 2 Surf I want to share my experience in lending my top tips to ensure you're race ready. Here they are! 

  1. Know what you're getting yourself into - make sure you are aware of what you are signing up for. Not sure how long a marathon is? Make sure you know before you sign up! 
  2. Respect your body - Your body is the tool that is going to allow you to get to the finish line, treat it that way! Stretching and self massage go a long way to ensuring you arrive to the start line healthy. 
  3. Familiarise yourself with your equipment - Whether you're swimming, riding, running or doing a triathlon make sure you are familiar with your equipment. No new gear on race day! 
  4. Know the course - Hold yourself accountable for knowing the course. Most course errors are caused by the old saying 'I'll follow someone else!'
  5. Have a race plan - Use your training to gauge what you want to do on race day!
  6. Visualise your race - Take your race plan and visualise how you will be successful. 
  7. Practice your nutrition - Research the nutrition that is going to be on course and train with it. If you are going to be self sufficient make sure you have used it on some longer training days.
  8. Know your race day schedule and transport - Getting stuck in traffic on the way to your race can cause a lot of headaches, make sure you are prepared!
  9. Trust your training - By the time race week rolls around, the work has been done. Trust your training and put your feet up a little to make sure you are ready to rock! 
  10. Satisfy any superstitions - If you race better with your lucky water bottle, don't forget to pack it for race day! 

There you have it! If you have any tips of your own, be sure to post and let us know! 

Giving it my all at the Battle of the Bridge. Looking forward to some more racing soon!

Giving it my all at the Battle of the Bridge. Looking forward to some more racing soon!

Bluseventy Transition Bag- The Greatest Transition Bag There Is

I am usually not one to review products. In fact, as far as I can remember, this might be the first product review I have ever done. I am mindful of filling my social media with obvious plugs for products and companies I work with just for the sake of it… but the time has come. There is one product that has done such a fantastic job for me and stood out so far ahead of the pack that I can no longer keep it to myself. If you’ve seen me at any time in the last 2 years no doubt you’ve seen me toting it around. Ladies and gentleman- the BLUESEVENTY TRANSITION BAG.

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TZ_Front_orange_web_large

How can a backpack be so good you ask? Let me start by saying this. I first acquired a blueseventy transition bag at the start of 2015. I had been through numerous swimming backpacks and transition bags prior and quite frankly I had been disappointed. There were bags that had tears in them, bags with holes in them and bags that simply could not fit nearly enough. The blueseventy transition bag answered all these problems with flying colours.

Capacity

If you’ve ever traveled with me to a race, you would be well aware that I like to be self-sufficient with my gear. This means carrying everything that there is a slight chance of needing. An Asian race with a reputation of being the hottest swim on the calendar? I’d better take my helix wetsuit just in case. The transition area is 400m from my hotel room? I’d better take a spare tube and pump just in case I get a flat and don’t have the 2 minutes it would take to run back. This attitude leads me to carry more gear than most to races and to race sites. Thankfully, the transition bag has all the answers.

The bag itself contains the following compartments and features;

  • Soft outer pocket on the top for valuables with headphone hole
  • Large main section with inner zippers on the top and side and a rear mesh netting
  • Separate zippered wet section on the bottom
  • Mesh bottle holders on either side
  • Adjustable waist strap
  • Shoulder strap

Here’s what my bag usually contains while traveling to races;

While traveling to races;

  • Passport, wallet, phone, keys.
  • Sweatshirt, pants, beats headphones, phone charger, ipad, 17inch laptop and charger, running flats
  • Oakley sunglasses in case
  • Wetsuit, tri suit, bike shoes
  • Helmet
  • 2x water bottle

On race day;

  • Sweatshirt, pants, t-shirt, running flats, spare running shoes, scissors, duct tape, baby powder, body glide, 3x gel, banana, spare tube, travel pump, rubber bands.
  • Oakley sunglasses in case
  • Wetsuit
  • Helmet
  • 3x water bottle
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14274473_781063762033874_1428027630_o

As you can see, I don’t pack light. Even so, I have never had an issue having to ram the zipper closed like I have with other bags. My main concern then becomes putting too much strain on my back, not on my bag.

Longevity

To date my blueseventy transition bag has travelled with me to over 50 different cities in 10 different countries. Not only do I use my blueseventy transition bag every day for swim training and packing my run and work gear, it is also my bag of choice as a carry on for racing and holidays, taking my gear to transition for races and even as my only bag while travelling on crutches through France, Poland and Spain. You name it, my transition bag has done it.

But James, you baby your gear, of course it is still in-tact! Oh how wrong you are. Boarding a plane and finding room for my bag is possibly the only part of traveling that causes my anxiety levels to rise. For that reason I cram my bags wherever they can fit. This often means yanking it out of overhead baggage compartments. My point is, this bag has not been babied and the only damage to it is a hole in the side bottle holder netting and while this is the case, it does not impact the bag’s ability to hold a drink bottle at all.

I you are looking for a new transition bag, swim bag or just in the market for a new backpack, get one of these. Or maybe even two.

Click HERE to change your life.