I am approaching my 2nd week of unstructured exercise, simply choosing what I want to do and listening to my body.
The first week after Kona was simply to catch up on sleep, use sleep as a way to recover from my 140.6 mile adventure, to loosen my body with daily movement (walking, easy swimming, bike riding), to honor my body with fresh foods and to respect my body if it craved something different than what I typically put into my daily diet. Although I don't believe in being restrictive with the diet, I feel strongly that "sugar" cravings after a hard workout or race should not always be rewarded with ice cream and sugary treats. This time around, I believe that my plant-based diet and emphasis on WHOLE foods curbed a lot of my typical post-race "carb" cravings and I found myself gravitating to wholesome carbs such a whole grains as well as lots of healthy fats and quality proteins. I simply found a way to combine foods at meals and snacks in order to satisfy my cravings post-Kona (ex. pancakes w/ eggs) as well as continuing to provide my body with heart-healthy quality foods. I strongly believe that my ability to go into this race feeling "hungry" to race (aka - not overtrained) and fueled by plants was the best way to have a great race, put my training to the test and recover quickly. Now almost 2 weeks since Kona, I believe Kona worked to my advantage as a way to get stronger (with minimal training since the race) as my body is now healed from 11-hours of damage and my mind is in the right place to resume structured training for a few upcoming running races.
Also - thinking back to what helped me post-Kona, I was strict in taking 1 Hammer FIZZ (a day) on the 3-4 days after the Ironman. I believe that there is no other product out there that compares to Hammer FIZZ as a way to replenish electrolytes, in addition to providing the body with vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies.
Now that the tri-season has ended, I avoid saying that it is "running" season for it is simply a time to enjoy some running races...as a triathlete. I will continue running ALWAYS off the bike for all my specific run workouts. My bike workouts will not be as long, when the emphasis is run-training, however, I will continue to bike and swim to break up things when I plan to run 4-day a week throughout the next few months.
I also plan to dedicate 3 days a week to strength training for the next few months. Giving up strength training in my 2-week Ironman taper was tough for me. Although I only strength train full body (sometimes emphasizing upper body and sometimes lower body, but always including core, glute, lower back and hip exercises) and only for about 15-20 min at a time, I find it a necessary part in training (for all sports) as well as for body composition changes.
Lastly, now that I have ended a fantastic and enjoyable 14-week Ironman training journey, it is time to work on my mind. For a 30-mile ride is now "long" and that is OK. There is no reason to feel guilty or say that I "only" ran for an hour or biked for 90 minutes or swam 4000 yrds for that is all OK....because I am not training for an Ironman. This is often the hardest part for athletes when the Tri-season comes to an end. Feeling guilty that they are not doing as much training OR that there is a lack of control when it comes to food because the training volume no longer supports overeating. I believe this is the best time to work on the daily diet in order to understand what it is your body needs to maintain (or lose) weight as an active individual. Because recommendations are that to be healthy, we only exercise 30 min a day or 2.5 hours a week, for most of us - we really exceed recommendations for daily exercise and health benefits.
My suggestions: After you give yourself a little needed recovery from your event (I encourage to sleep in and to give yourself an hour a day of movement for the first week post race), try to get back into a structured routine at least 3 days a week for the 2nd week post workout (ex. exercise at your "normal" exercise time every other day in week 2 post workout but keep the exercise fun and different. For example, I water jogged and did the elliptical twice in my 2nd week of training for 30 minutes as my "exercise" for the day). In week 3 post race, try to get back to structure, but still keep the exercise fun and different. Get back to exercising when you feel the best and allow yourself to be OK with around an hour/day of exercise. Feel free to do more on the weekends but continue to keep it fun and be OK with Only x-amount of miles or yards. I recommend not using a garmin/GPS, power meter or heart rate monitor in the first 2 weeks post-race so that your focus is just on moving your body and you don't put pressure on yourself to be fully recovered and to be able to swim, bike and/or run as fast as you did during (or before) your event. If done properly, you should find yourself bouncing back from your race quicker than ever and a lot stronger...with a new outlook and desire to set new training goals.
To keep your tummy happy during the fall months, I hope you enjoy my NEW creation. Although you may be adjusting your pre and during training nutrition due to less volume and a slight decrease in intensity, be sure to always focus on your recovery nutrition....this is where the performance and body composition gains are made!
1 scoop Vanilla whey protein powder
11 ice cubes
1/2 cup skim milk
1 stalk celery
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (canned - no sugar added, NOT pie mix)
1/2 - 1 cup water
1 tbsp flax seeds (ground)
dash of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ginger
small piece of dark chocolate (optional, but perhaps necessary :) )
1. Mix all ingredients in blender - max ice crush speed.
2. Add more/less water or more/less ice to meet your consistency needs. The above recipe makes a smoothie similar to the consistency of a milkshake(Pending your blender - I have Oster Fusion blender)
3. Recommend to place smoothie (in glass) in the freezer for about 10 min to thicken up the smoothie.
A few substitutions depending on your dietary needs:
(may need to adjust recipe)
-Vegan - use tofu instead of milk, use hemp or soy protein instead of whey protein
-For kids - use non-fat plain yogurt (or greek yogurt 0%) instead of whey protein powder
-For dairy-free - use soy milk instead of skim milk, use hemp or soy protein instead of whey protein
-For lactose-free - use lactose-free milk instead of skim milk, may opt for soy protein however whey protein isolate has less than 0.1 gram of lactose per tablespoon (20 grams).