A professional triathlete goes “all in” on recovery. What’s he getting out of it?
This article was originally published in the July/August 2011 edition of Inside Triathlon magazine.
In 2008, professional triathlete TJ Tollakson, whose home base is Des Moines, Iowa, spent a couple of months living and training with fellow pro Craig Alexander in Boulder, Colo. Both men were preparing for October’s Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. While they did all of their training together, Alexander went on to have a great race in Kona, winning in 8:17:45, while Tollakson performed terribly, finishing 249th in 9:53:43.
The problem for Tollakson was that the same training that was just right for the older and more experienced Alexander was too much for him.
“I realized I tanked because I had done too much training and I wasn’t allowing myself to recover properly,” Tollakson said. “Craig gave me one of the greatest gifts possible, which was to see what it takes to be a champion in the sport.”
It wasn’t just Alexander’s extra years of training that allowed him to better recover from the same training load, however. The Australian also had “a pretty aggressive recovery program,” as Tollakson describes it. So Tollakson decided to do everything Alexander did for recovery and more. He made a plan to go all the way, doing everything possible to maximize his physiological recovery from training on a daily basis, and see where this “extreme recovery” approach led him.
Here are the top 10 items in Tollakson’s recovery regimen.