Recovery – Too much of a good thing?


There is a lot of literature on various forms of recovery, and a great number of different modalities that can be used to recover. Perhaps most well known are the dreaded ice-baths, where athletes submerge themselves in very cold water (usually about 5 degrees Celsius) for a certain time period, in order to dampen inflammation post-training. Then there are also the new compression garments, which are supposed to help recovery. Recovery nutrition is also a big field, with the discussion of antioxidants (substances which “mop-up” free-radicals, preventing muscle damage) playing a large role.

I am very interested in recovery. But some emerging research has got me thinking. Can we be too recovered? Adaptation to training requires the body to put under a great deal of stress- how the body deals with this stress then causes adaptation. By prematurely removing or reducing this stress, do we alter the adaptation response? Recently, I have been encouraged by my support staff to avoid antioxidants around training, and to reduce the number of ice baths that I have during a heavy training cycle, in order to hopefully increase adaptation.

Don’t get me wrong; there is a time and a place for maximal recovery. During the competition, and pre-competition period, I will have a great number of post-training ice baths, increase my antioxidant consumption, and wear compression garments. But in general training, I am taking a step away from this. What are your thoughts on this, and what are your optimal recovery tips?
Discuss entry

Craig Pickering
Craig started athletics in 2000. He has ran successfully in multiple European and World events. Craig represented his country at the Olympic Games, and in 2009 he ran a very slightly wind assisted time of 10.08 (+2.1) to finish second to Usain Bolt at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava. Craig is also a Sports and Exercise Science graduate from the University of Bath.
Craig Pickering


Olympian. Scaremonger. Looked after by @big_suze. Uber rating 4.81. All opinions my own.
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