If you love triathlons as much as we do here at Kitbrix, it can be tempting to enter into all of them over the course of the triathlon season. However, taking on a triathlon can be quite the challenge which will push your body to its very limits. If you don’t allow your body enough time to recover between races, you will end the season feeling sore and deflated with an ever increasing finishing time. So how long exactly do you need to recover in between races?
The recovery between triathlons varies depending on three things; the length of the race, how you paced yourself during the race and your level of experience and fitness.
The length of the race
The longer the race, the longer your recovery period. If you are competing in your first Ironman Triathlon, you can’t expect your body to heal as quickly as it did after the Olympic Distance Triathlon. Here we have a rough guide for how long it will take you to recover post-triathlon for each distance…
You can read our blog ‘How long is a Triathlon’ here for more information on the distance of each race.
Recovery From A Sprint Distance Triathlon
As one of the shortest triathlon distances, recovering from a Sprint Distance Triathlon typically takes 7 to 10 days.
- 1st-2nd day post race: Complete rest
- 3rd day post race: Begin easy/steady all workouts kept to less than 1 hour
- 7th-10th day post race: Resume normal training
Recovery From An Olympic Distance Triathlon
Recovery from an Olympic Distance Triathlon will typically take 10 to 14 days.
- 1st-3rd day post race: Complete rest
- 4th day post race: Begin easy/steady workouts with swims less than 1 hour, runs less than 40 minutes and bike workouts less than 2 hours
- 10th-14th day post race: Resume normal training
Recovery From An Ironman 70.3 Triathlon
You can expect to be in recovery from an Ironman 70.3 Triathlon for 14 to 21 days post race.
- 1st-4th day post race: Complete rest
- 5th day post race: Begin easy/steady workouts with swims less than 1 hour, runs less than 1 hour and bike workouts less than 2.5 hours
- 14th-28th day post race: Resume normal training
Recovery From An Ironman 140.6 Triathlon
As one of the longest triathlon races out there, the Ironman 140.6 Triathlon can take 21+ days to fully recover.
- 1st-7th day post race: Complete rest
- 8th day post race: Begin easy/steady workouts with swims less than 1 hour, runs less than 40 minutes and bike workouts less than 2 hours
- 21st day post race: Assess how you feel and resume normal training once you feel fully recovered after 21 days. Do not rush this stage as some triathletes can take up to 3 months to feel 100%.
Your level of fitness and experience
The length of time needed for a full recovery post-triathlon is also heavily reliant on your level of fitness and experience. The fitter and more experience you are at competing in triathlons, the shorter and easier your post-race recovery will be. For beginners, it is recommended to leave at least 4 weeks between triathlons.
How you paced yourself on race day
Pacing yourself effectively during a triathlon is when you spread your efforts evenly across each leg of the race. Ineffective pacing would be pushing yourself to your limits for the first two legs, and struggling for the final push. Whilst ineffective pacing won’t necessarily have an effect on recovery time for shorter triathlon distances, for any race longer than an Olympic Distance Triathlon it will. This is particularly true for the Ironman Triathlons. Treat a triathlon as one long race, not as 3 small ones. This will help you achieve a faster time AND recover quicker. Win win.
The most important advice however, is to listen to your own body. Whilst it may take one person 7 days to recover from a race, it may take you 12. Recovery time post-triathlon is of the utmost importance as it allows your body to heal which will prevent injuries if you compete again too soon. Also, if you take part in vigorous training too soon after the race, you will only elongate your healing period. Schedule triathlon recovery into your diary!