Prokit 10: Recovery and Sleep

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In this week’s Prokit 10 we brought together learnings and insights from pros and experts across endurance sports about recovery practices and the importance of sleep for top performance. For more details and context, check out our deep-dive podcasts and expert interviews with these pros and experts on Prokit. 

  1. “When I turned pro, suddenly my whole life was about training and recovery. I went from getting four hours of sleep a night to getting eight to 11 hours of sleep. The recovery practices I took up became really productive to my results, and I saw a huge upward trajectory in my training. Looking back, I would have trained less and focused more on recovery. Recovery is king…For me, the keys to performance are hydration, recovery, and fueling. Make sure you’re eating enough, eating at the right time, hydrating really well, and getting enough sleep. People are spending thousands of dollars on recovery devices, and then they’re only getting four hours of sleep or starving themselves and they’re wondering why they’re not performing well.” — Read the full interview: Sarah Piampiano, Professional Triathlete and Ironman 70.3 champion or follow Sarah Piampiano on Prokit
  2. “Sleep was one of my keys. I got a lot of good sleep, and I would take naps. Of course all I did was train, so I had that luxury. Finding the time to get enough sleep so that they can absorb the workouts is one of the biggest challenges for a lot of folks who have jobs and families. If it becomes an issue I tell them in the middle of the week don’t worry if you do twenty-five percent of what’s on your calendar. On the weekend when you have more time, then you get your long workout in, and that’s ninety-five percent of your fitness anyway. Make sure you get that sleep. Without the sleep, you don’t recover. When you’re not recovering, then you get sick. You get injured, whatever it is.” — Full interview: Mark Allen, 6x Ironman World Champion or follow @markallengrip
  3. “My number one thing for recovery is napping! Napping is amazing… I’m either separating sessions with a nap in between or just make sure that when I get off the bike, I do something immediately that switches on that parasympathetic nervous system and switches my body into recovery mode. Sometimes it’s a nap; maybe it’s doing some quiet stretching after you ride. Maybe it’s meditating.” — Interview: Kate Courtney, World Champion Mountain Biker (@katecourtney)
  4. “People often say, I’ll wake up an hour earlier and go to the gym and do my strength training. It’s so much better if you just sleep… Nowadays I sleep in as much as possible… Now that I’ve done four or five 50 mile races, my body knows how to run the 50 miles and I don’t have to over-train myself. I’d rather spend the time on quality because as I get older and as I put more miles on my body, there’s so much more that needs to go into recovery. Compared to five years ago, I do much more rehab recovery work. I need time for strength training, yoga, stretching, massage, body work.” — YiOu Wang, Pro Ultrarunner (@yiouwang)
  5. “I have a much stricter sleep regimen than I had before. I pretty much go to bed at 10:30 and get up at 6 every day. For me, that’s a pretty good night’s sleep. If I don’t get that, it’s harder for my body to recover.” — Nicholas Thompson, Editor in chief of Wired Magazine, 2:29 Marathoner at Age 44
  6. “I am so happy we have more sophisticated research on how sleep affects performance and recovery. Talking about sleep is essential when addressing factors that can easily improve or impair performance. Identification of a sleep deficit may be the easy part. Correctly identifying the trigger of the deficit and how to fix this trigger is the bigger challenge. For example, work-related stress may be a trigger, but most people aren’t in a situation where they can easily leave their jobs.” — Emily Kraus, Stanford Sports Med Physician (@ekraus)
  7. “Meditation 10-20 minutes each morning. Optimal protein intake daily, SLEEP. I’m a parent, I sleep as much as I can and know the value. Hydration, eat produce often and creatine every damn day :)” —Anne Guzman, Sports Nutritionist and former Pro Cyclist (@anneguzman)
  8. “One of the most common things I do with athletes is slow down. People who come to me for coaching, they usually have a big goal. They’re pretty driven. So it’s getting them to buy in and take their rest and recovery days a lot more seriously that’s important—otherwise they’re not getting as much as they could out of their hard workouts.” — Mario Fraioli, Running Coach and host of The Morning Shakeout Podcast (@mariofraioli)
  9. “I know the difference in how I feel between getting a great night of sleep—in my case I need eight hours minimum—and not getting a great night of sleep. When I don’t get enough sleep, I feel terrible, and I’m unproductive. It’s nonnegotiable for me.” — Rich Roll, Ultra Endurance Athlete, Author and Podcast Host (@richroll)
  10. “You make your gains as an athlete not during your workout but in between your workouts. That’s when the body repairs itself, and if you can use fuel to expedite and perfect that reparative process—to recover from the stress induced by exercise—then you’ll be better off. In other words, if I can cut that recovery time through my diet, that means I can train harder, I can train more frequently, and I’m going to recover faster. Over the course of a season or a number of years, you’re going to see tremendous gain. It’s not that eating plant-based is inherently going to make you a better athlete; it’s that these foods will help put your body in a position to regulate itself optimally and get your immune system doing exactly what it should be at a high-rev rate so that you can perform at your peak. — Rich Roll, Ultra Endurance Athlete, Author and Podcast Host (@richroll)
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