The wait is over. World Cup season if finally here, my second season with the World Cup team. The races start on Sept. 26 in Shanghai, then Seoul Korea right after. That means we will be spending about two weeks in Asia. I’m looking forward to seeing the cultures, getting some deals on merchandise, trying new foods. My favorite thing about traveling to Asia is the jet lag (hint of sarcasm). There will be a period of about a week that time has completely flipped. China is 15 hours ahead of where I’m from in Salt Lake City.
Last night we arrived in Shanghai for World Cup 1. It’s still a little difficult for me to make sense of where the time has gone since mid- April. A lot has changed for me with training, my recovery techniques, my mentality has changed. For the first time I’m feeling familiarized with international competition and the demands that are made on my body. The jet lag, changes in diet, competition layout, the racing and resting schedule. I have started working with more people (Doctors, trainers, therapists) to help keep me healthy and ready for anything.
Some of the best recovery tools you have are right in front of you. I’ll say that nutrition and hydration are the most obvious parts of recovery. I have learned a lot about these in particular since I am sensitive to gluten and have a tough time staying hydrated. When it comes to my sport (speedskating) I take all of this to the next level. Without letting my body rest and recover, I would never have gotten to the World Cup stage. That’s why many world class athletes use massage therapists, athletic trainers, medical professionals and others to force the issue of recovery. Like a lot of the skaters in SLC I goto Ryan Yakiwchuk (massage therapist) with Ultimate Body Work. He is amazing with helping athletes, especially elite athletes. When I go in to see him there is always a healing and positive atmosphere, which is important for physical and mental well being. He’s genuinely good with taking care of injuries, special needs or anything regarding recovery. That is hard to believe coming from a speedskater, and trust me we are not easy to accommodate… The latest technique we use is called fascia stretch therapy. Visit www.stretchtown.com to see what it is all about!
So what’s the main reason to get this treatment done? Getting a massage and stretching/ unwinding your tight muscles is going to help facilitate recovery. But that means nothing if you aren’t taking care of yourself and getting to know your body. It takes a long time to learn how your body can handle different types of training and recovery techniques. By acknowledging how your body feels and removing any doubt, you allow yourself to fully recover. That’s why I say that my mentality has changed. It affects everything including my performance and lifestyle. When I’m not training I can also feel the difference in my energy and general health. So maybe I was a little overworked in the past, but the fact is that with rest and recovery I can actually extend the lifetime of my career.
If you are an athlete or a workaholic, it’s probably difficult to keep your body hydrated all the time. Drinking more than you think you should is the best bet to make sure dehydration isn’t an issue. Other recovery tools I would like to stress are sleep (lots of sleep, zzzzzzz) and active recovery. Your body is constantly playing catch-up with muscle and tissue breakdown, so getting enough rest is the only way to let your body recover fully. I don’t have to preach about how important sleep is, but Americans are notorious for being sleep deprived. And when you’re not sleeping, another way to recover your body is light, low heart-rate exercise. That can be an easy spin on the bike, swim, jog, yoga, whatever suits you. Your body is a amazing machine which can filter out lactic acid, toxins, and anything you put into it.
Now that trials are over we have actually kicked it up a notch. There is only a limited amount of time to get good training in which means its time to work! But not only are we working hard, but recovering as well. That means cooling down after workouts, stretching, eating well, massages, etc. It’s amazing how much we can accomplish during the week. When I started with the national team it seemed like I had a lot to do. But now we can accomplish so much more as a team. When we decide as a group that it seems ridiculous. This experience has been truly remarkable and shows me that so much more is possible. I guess that is what the Olympic movement is all about!
Here are a few photos from the past couple months of training. They are pretty interesting since I have been all over the place for training, sponsor events, traveling, so enjoy!
Look for an update after World Cup 1 coming soon
2013 USANA Convention.