What is Recovery?
Recovery (or regeneration) is a vital part of training!
A workout can only be effective if the body has reached a certain degree of regeneration.
This doesn't necessarily mean "fully recovered", because there are certain long-distance training methods where incomplete recovery is preferred.
During a recovery phase, you give the body, the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, your heart and circulatory system a chance to get used to the new workouts for optimal results.
Steps to Recovery
After a hard workout, one should cool down (to help break down lactic acid) and stretch or do some exercises.
After that, the body calls for replenishment in the form of liquid and some sort of carbohydrate-rich meal and then, if possible, a short rest (lay down) or a nap.
What may also be helpful is to take a bath after a hard workout in order to relieve lactic acid build-up as well as tension in the muscles.
A regular visit to a sauna may also assist in recovery.
A plunge into a cold basin after some time in the sauna stimulates blood circulation.
Afterwards, it is important to re-hydrate due to dehydration effects from the sauna.
It is not recommended to visit the sauna the day before a race.
Another way to loosen tight muscles and to improve blood circulation is Massage.
Optimally, an experienced massage therapist should carry out the massage.
In this way, the athlete can relax instead of trying to massage him- or herself.
It is possible to massage one's self through slow, repetitive strokes to the muscles.
To massage a stiff muscle, one can of course use harder strokes.
The loosening and stretching of muscles can aid the self-massage's effectiveness.
Recovery During Training
There are also recovery workouts!
The body is at times able to recover more effectively through a recovery jog or a light form of cross-training than by doing nothing.
VICSYSTEM tells you in your training plan, when you should do a recovery-training with information about intensity.
This way, you'll be able to go ALL OUT in your next hard workout!