All to often, I believe most people who workout don't take their recovery seriously enough. Whether that recovery is time or nutrients.
It is my belief that both are important and there is a lot of research that supports my belief.
First, let me talk about my post workout recovery from a nutrient perspective.
After each workout, I focus on consuming two things: water and nutrients. First and foremost, I take in ample amounts of water. To the point, where my body is telling me no more. Water is important because you need to rehydrate after sweating during the workout. Also it helps with removing waste products from the body. Next comes the neutrients. I focus on foods that have protein and carbs. I try to avoid fatty or fried foods. Although, I do admit my body craves them from time to time.
Primarily, I take in foods that are a good source of protein (beans or meats (chicken and fish)) because it helps repair the damage to the muscles that occurred during my workout. I take in the carbs because it rebuilds the energy levels that were burned during my workout. Between the water, proteins and carbs, my body feels better sooner and has the nutrients needed to rebuild the muscles stronger than before.
Next, let talk about recovery time. I know I am guilty of staking too many workouts to close together. Ultimately, if I don't allow my body to recover, I don't get in the quality workout because of my fatigue levels or I push my body to the point where I break something. Thus I end up injuring my self. And nothing is worst that coming up injured just before your big race.
This is exactly why recovery time is so important. Depending on the phase of my training plan, I try to limit my hard efforts to no more than 2 hard workouts per week. One workout is a high intensity workout. It could be a hill workout or tempo run or progressive run. It could be anything that pushes the body to work harder. The other workout is typically a long run. Now long runs are relative to the individual. In my case I am training for a marathon this fall so my long runs are typically 20+ miles. That is why I say the 2nd hardout out is a long run. For me running 20+ miles is a hard effort. On the other days, I generally run as I feel but I do focus on keeping a slower pace. To these days are active recovery days where I don't push my body hard but I do work it so that the blood gets pushed through the muscle used on the previous day.
So what does all of this mean. It means that each and every person should be concerned about their recovery. Whether that means getting the right foods before, during, and after a workout. Or it means giving your body time to recovery after any hard workout.
Believe me when I say "Provide your body with the right fuel and recover properly and you will be on your way to having a great race"