Some post-IM recovery thoughts have been going through my head this week... thought they might be worth typing out! Obviously how you recover from an ironman depends on a bunch of variables... so since I'm writing from my own experience I'll say this is how it's gone for me given this was an early season Ironman for which my fitness level was high but I did not end up burying myself with super deep effort. Parts of this could be quite different for an end of season Ironman where you absolutely ripped yourself apart...
~ The evening after the race should involve alcohol of some sort. Usually we do Guiness floats (vanilla ice cream in our Guiness) but we could not find Guiness in Los Cabos so we went with tequila instead. Ironman athletes are not known for doing anything short of excessive so I'll just note here that 4 of us downed the entire bottle in significantly less time than it took to do the race. Team BSC rocks in more ways than one.
~For the next 2-3 days, don't exercise at all. Eat a bunch of fried crap food that you would not normally otherwise touch. Spend time pretending you're not an athlete. Lay around and do nothing, go sightseeing if your race was in a cool place, and by all means, keep drinking.
~After you get home, it's normal to feel rather stressed as you try to get caught up on work/life that you missed while you were off torturing your body with excessive exercise then excessive alcohol. So, get up early, like 3AM, to make sure you have some quiet time to focus and get the most important aspects of your work out of the way.
~Day 5 post race all the fatigue might finally hit and you might be a crabby bitch with no energy for anything at all. Just go to bed. Your family has put up with you for all this time, they'll allow this too.
~By this time you're probably thinking you have no desire for any more tequila and just want kale. Go back to your high vegetable diet. You'll feel a ton better.
~Head out for a short/easy swim or bike ride. Don't start your watch. You really don't need to know. Really.
~If the weather looks like this, by all means, bail on that planned bike ride. You rode in enough rain when you were training, and today you're not "training". Go for a jog instead. Really.
~Jog super easy 5 miles and laugh at yourself at how slow it is (if you do indeed start your watch). Then make mental note that had you just jogged like this for the whole 26 miles last week you would have handed over a lot of cash to WTC for the opportunity to do it all again in October. Stop laughing.
~Spend your free time filling out race application forms for a bunch of little local races over the spring/summer. You're bored and the only way to cure that is to enter more races.
~Finally muster up the courage to use your Trigger Point roller and ball. Swear out loud a lot and hope your 4year old is not within earshot.
~Day 8. Back to business as usual. Show up at the pool and rip off a set of 10x200's faster than you've ever done them before. Where did that come from? #tequiladoesabodygood?
~Go for a bike ride and take note that you actually still genuinely like powergels. Wonder if that is more a testament to a great company making a great product, or simply proof that you're truly psychotic?