If you are a triathlete you are in peak race season. Currently I am trying to qualify for the Age Group World Championships and in June I competed in the ETU Age Group Championships. Last month’s blog forayed into when passion becomes obsession, my experience of being diagnosed with pulmonary emboli and coming back from an operation. From these topics we began looking at food as complimentary medicine to recovering health – for a scientific understanding of supporting injury recovery via nutrition read this blog post by the nutritionist I consult, Jo Scott-Dalgleish. This month I will lay out the training course I took to come back from my operation and also how I go about recovering after intense training periods or races.
Post Injury/Operation Training Plan
This plan, I must stress, was compiled with my coach who herself recovered from a major car accident when on her bike and has much experience in coaching athletes following trauma. The plan below was entirely dependent on how I felt each day and based on personal fitness prior to the operation and type of surgery I went under. For a more detailed, bespoke post-trauma training plan contact Fiona Ford. Should you be experiencing any health issues you must consult a qualified medical practitioner.
By way of context, my operation (an ovarian cyst was removed) took place on a late Saturday afternoon, I remained in a hospital bed until Monday morning, which is the first Monday on the above calendar. The (ambitious) aim was to build up to using a 5km Parkrun as a pure 5km race pace setter. To a great extent, the above plan was mostly beneficial for my mind. As someone who trains most days and often twice a day suddenly stopping all activity is utterly alien and stifling, therefore the immediate post-operation activity was really designed to keep the joints loose and trick my psychology into thinking I was still working towards my races rather than building strength or endurance.
Eating to Recover from Injury, Medical Procedures and Intense Training
Even if not recovering from medical setbacks, intense training and racing bouts need to be supported by appropriate nutrition to enable speedy recovery. Having suffered from varicose veins for four years following a period in retail where I was on my feet for 8-10 hours a day, I am acutely aware of the inflammation endurance feats play on the body. Favourite anti-inflammatory foods I incorporate into my diet are dates (in smoothies and cereal or with chocolate as dessert), cinnamon (added to smoothies, porridge and evening hot chocolate) and turmeric (combined with stews, curries, pasta and scrambled eggs for exotic kick). The body especially puts nutrition into recovery in the 60 mins following exercise but continues to do so for 24 hours, but I often struggle to eat meals straight after exercise as the intensity suppresses my appetite and I am also pushed for time travelling to work or home. This turmeric protein smoothie suits me as a post training dinner substitute on the train.
The nutritional benefits of this smoothie include:
The animal/plant milk, avocado, nut butter and seed mix supply the protein needed to support muscle repair.
Carbohydrates from the banana will replenish muscle glycogen stores.
I am always looking out for portable meals to help me go again as soon as possible, let me know of any ideas you put in to action that keep you going.