Most of us have lost the ability to real listen to your »gut feeling«, the little voice inside, the real body perception concerning the needs of our body.
At Ironman Florida's Pro panel this last November, all Pro athletes were asked to answer the question, "what do you take for recovery after a race or hard training, how do you recover in the best way?"
Every single Pro triathlete on the panel answered this question with calling out an amazing product of one of their sponsors.
I was last in line.
My answer was: I try to find a peaceful spot and really deeply listen to my body, my body will tell me what it needs to recover in the best way. A good example, I rarely eat any meat after an Ironman.
I fancy, if my body needed it, I would have the appetite for it. It's so easy, listen to what your body is asking you for. If you feel the urge to take extra vitamins, well then do so. In the 14 years of racing triathlon I've managed to learn the language of my body.
It's a matter of being in balance with yourself and just carefully listen into you.
My body perception goes this far, that I tend to be better at it when I'm totally balanced and happy with my life. During a period in my life, I would say this was between 2011 and 2012, where I wasn't doing so well, my body perception wasn't good either, I tended to NOT listen to signals, or just didn't bother to.
In times like now, when I feel totally happy and satisfied with everything around me, I'm very sensitive and listen to my body with all my senses, whether it is how to perfectly do a specific training session not harming my body, or at what time I should eat best after the training is done or which extra supplements my body needs in every single moment of the day.
I think I've learned to really make contact within myself, understand the signals my body is giving me and understand the language she speaks :-)...
I've always been a very emotional person. It's good to have advices and standard amounts given, but I rather prefer to choose asking my inner self. When I don't train so much, I don't have the urge to take my extra vitamins and protein shakes.
The amount of BIESTMILCH is lower too (3 capsules a day). When my training volumes increase, like I do now in the preparation for the coming season, I do tend to increase the intake for example of Biestmilch in parallel to my training.
There are days when you train too hard or to much. If you have a good and well trained body perception, you will know when this is the case.
When I do a bike ride was too hard and too long, and afterwards push too hard on the following long swim, then I feel warmer than I would normally at the end of the day. My appetite is not what it should be after such a hard long day, all signals for me that I pushed it too hard.
You can now choose 2 paths, in my view the stupid one is just to eat whatever, stay up late and train the same or even harder on the next day.
For me the clever option is to do what makes you feel better. You should get out the utmost of this hard training day, even if it was too hard. Relax in the evening, eat healthy and wait until the next morning to decide, whether it makes sense to stick to your planned training schedule.
It might well be that you have take it a bit easier that following day.
An important parameter to monitor is sleep. I personally am a big sleeper. When I am training as hard as I can, I tend to have problems with sleeping in. Usually I don't have any problems with sleeping. If this happens several days in a row, I know that I'm balancing on the tip of the iceberg, a signal to take an extra day of rest, and I will do so!
I am usually always motivated to train. As soon as I opened my eyes in the morning, I am eager to get out in the morning. It rarely happens that I don't want to get up.
A tricky thing as I still find it hard to assess whether the lack of motivation is due to fatigue or due to laziness. After so many years of training and racing, this is the only condition I still find hard to differentiate.
In this case I decide to go out and start with my training. If I still don't feel for giving it a go after 30 minutes, I'll return home for a rest. With some extra rest the body is recovering fast and soon you will be fit for training again.