Importance of recovery in Triathlon

No training plan makes progress without a good recovery plan. If you dont already have a triathlon coach, you need to direct your own recovery and start making the most of your training. As training plans can be personally engineered, recovery is also very personal. Use the below ideas as guidelines.

1) Unless your a professional athlete a rest day every week, is as important as your weekly workouts
2) Don’t always work at the same speed/intensity. Build, increase, build, and then rest.
3) Focus recovery with sleep, mental recovery, physical recovery, and nutrition.
4) Start to understand yourself physically, nutritionally, and mentally and how you understand training fatigue.

“Don’t recover to train, train to recover.”

Importance of recovery in Triathlon

For many new athletes in Triathlon, they think it is best to train every day but this is often the cause of mental fatigue, overtraining and injury. Most working class people should take one day per week as recovery. During this day you should forget about training, and focus on recovery.

– Sleep in! Focusing on getting an extra hour or two of sleep
– Stay off your feet. Allow your legs some time to rest and recover
– Focus on food that is nutritious, anti-inflammatory, and restoring your gylocogen content

Periodized the training:

Importance of recovery in Triathlon
At SportCoaching we endorsed a periodization based on the 4 week block for the working class.  Each period is split into 4 weeks and micro cycles. The first 3 weeks include prescribed duration of training at particular intensities. While the 4th week is typically prescribed a “rest week” where the training intensity and duration is reduced, in order to allow adaptions and recovery.

During training weeks:

Importance of recovery in Triathlon
– Recovery strategies are always needed. If you feel fatigued, sore, or injured, step back and allow the body to recover. Early signs of symptoms can eliminate the possibility of weeks off training.
– With a good structure, the workout load will constantly be building. The end of the 3 weeks, the goal is to be slightly over-reached, The excess in training helps your body make the physiological adaptations which improve your fitness.
– Train to recover. Focus on your workouts, and your recovery even better.
– Many athletes will feel overreached or tired after coming back from a recovery week. This is normal when the training load is dropped and the body usually adapts within a few days

During the recover week:

Importance of recovery in Triathlon
– The volume and intensity during this week is in place to keep you from losing fitness and form/technique or to test progress we have made from the current training block.
– Sleep in excess.
– Work to reduce inflammation, build muscle, help your sleep, and top-up micronutrients
– Repair your body. This is your chance to work on nagging injuries, correct poor posture, massage, increase muscle mobility, increase your
balance/proprioception, and drills specific to your sport
– Focus on things socially, physically, mentally, and nutritionally.

Workout Polarization and Recovery Workouts:

Importance of recovery in Triathlon
Triathlon is 3 sports, it can requires so much more training for 3 sports. It is important to understand the idea of polarization, a concept that is not foolproof, but a good guideline for most athletes. Most workouts should be done at “low intensity” or in your aerobic zone. This should be easy enough for you to perform the remainder of the works outs at “higher intensity” or anaerobic. A basic starting point is  80% of your time at low intensity, and 20% at high intensity. Low-intensity training can include some recovery workouts. Which should be short to moderate in length, and used as a tool for recover as opposed to accumulating junk miles.

Recovery workouts can serve a number of functions:

Importance of recovery in Triathlon
– Opportunity to do drills
– Improve blood flow
– Motions to keep you neuromuscularly familiar with the movements.
– Improving your coordination/mobility/balance and movement
– Give your fitness pursuits a social outlet – go for a bike ride to the coffee shop, or take a hike in
the woods
– You should focus on recovering instead of adding junk miles to your training week.


Some current resources out there for the triathlete: Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald, Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel, Nutrition for Endurance Athletes by Monique Ryan