Ed. Note—Last week Matt Dixon, head of Purple Patch Fitness and host of the Purple Patch Podcast, joined us to clear up ideas about recovery and how it is best utilized in the triathlon world. He set up the story of Becky, a hard-charging age grouper with lofty goals, and he returns this week to complete that tale.

Part Two: re-framing recovery helped Becky understand all of the process's nuances, but now it had to be put into action. Where was her best return to improve the underperformance symptoms? While modalities (stuff you can buy) are nice additions, most of her focus and value would be in improving sport specific and lifestyle recovery. She needed to adjust her lens on success and commit to making RECOVERY as a PART of her overall program.  In essence this meant:

  1. Going easy on the easy days — and incorporate more and commit to them!.  She was always on a quest to improve instead of allowing absorption and adaptation from the work.
  2. Fueling post work out. This habit had to be planned for and executed as a non-negotiable habit. Every workout would be followed with fueling following.
  3. Sleep: This was reframed as a critical piece of her performance in sport and life. It was previously the first thing to be compromised, but was now to be scheduled and adhered to, even if overall training hours in a week diminished. 
  4. Mindset: I asked Becky to buy into the simple fact that some effective training is better than too much training. Shift the barometer of success from accumulation to nailing key sessions within context of what life brings!
  5. Meditation/Naps: When I bought up this Becky laughed ("Impossible to nap at the office!"), yet now she commits to 15 min quiet time daily, a massive lift for afternoon energy and consistency.

Part Three: the results. This was not, and never can be, a quick fix.  The initial phases of the intervention anchored around energy levels and how she felt, rather than strict performance gains in swimming, cycling or running.  We didn’t want Becky to focus on getting faster, instead on feeling better. What became quickly apparent were her energy levels and enthusiasm for the prescribed training. Her lens shifted from punching the clock on training sessions to genuine excitement for the challenge. Of course, eighteen months later the evolved recipe had truly provided the performance yield we all sought. More than this — she is happy. She is in control, has daily energy and is enjoyed an evolved lens of the sport and how it fits into life. Dare I say it? She is having fun. She has now qualified to IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, but that result is an afterthought compared to the global feeling of thriving and having the sport truly be a positive uplifting component to health, energy and performance. Like so many, Becky came with the stated goal of taking performance ‘to the next level,' but the answer to the challenge did not come from adding more. It arrived out of embracing the elements of recovery and shifted her lens on what performance means.  I hope that you follow the same approach. Best of luck this season.

Matt Dixon
Purple Patch.

If you would like to hear more about Becky’s story and enjoy a deep dive into recovery as a subject, don’t miss Matt’s edition of the Purple Patch Podcast on recovery: