After you’ve busted your ass on something this difficult, you need to give your body a chance to recover if you want to keep improving your conditioning. What recovery means is different for everyone, and, as hard as it is for Kris to admit, all of us need to find some way to dial it back and give our bodies a chance to rest as a prelude to further improvements. It also helps to have plenty of recovery tools on hand, such as rollers, lots of ice for ice baths, and the phone number of a good masseuse.
Kris has some advice on a non-physical level too: Keep your ego at bay. As he explains, it can be tempting after a bodybuilding show or a sporting event to keep pushing hard. After the rush of pressing 120 pound dumbbells, going back to 50 pounds can make you feel like a wimp. But that’s what active recovery is all about.
That’s why his post-race workout includes a leg-and-ab circuit that doesn’t hit any one body part too hard. By moving quickly through lighter exercises, he’s able to get more blood into his hard-hit body parts, wash out accumulated lactic acid, improve the elasticity of these body parts, and break up any scar tissue that may have been created during the race.
Five days after his Half Ironman, Kris is still a bit drained, both physically and mentally. You, like him, may want to go pedal to the metal to get ready for the full Ironman. But sometimes, you just have to force yourself to dial it back if you want those long-term gains.