I tested the recovery products for you during a triathlon training camp!

Going on a week-long triathlon training camp sounds like a dream, right? Yes, but the idea scared me a little too! Would I keep up the pace? Would I manage to cycle every day? Our crew (two girls and five guys) would have to grit our teeth!

Anyway, it was no coincidence that a few days before I left for the camp in the Ardèche, I took part in a recovery workshop with Stéphanie and the team. BINGO!

I was keen to ask her for a few products I could take with me!

I felt more reassured now I was equipped with a hard roller and the new modular massage stick, a few massage balls in different formats, the electronic massage stick and my Bluetens electro-stimulation machine, as well as some manual massage creams and balm, and finally, some recovery drink!

accessoires-recuperation-aptonia

Triathlon training: presentation

With my bags packed, I embarked upon the adventure of my very first triathlon training camp, which was completely informal and organised by the experts in my triathlon club ;-)

Here's a quick presentation of the dream team:

Xavier, 52, advanced triathlete, four Ironmans

Gregory, 37, advanced triathlete, one Ironman and several halfs

Nicolas, 33, advanced triathlete, several halfs

François, 33, advanced triathlete, several olympics

Beate, 34, beginner triathlete, one sprint

Noëmie (me), 35, neo-triathete, first sprint this Sunday!

In general, the programme was quite simple: a run before breakfast and cycling in the afternoon. By the end of the week, we'd racked up:

-       450 km cycling (for the girls, you can add a good extra 100 km for the boys!) including a ride of over 100 km (a first for Béate and me!)

-       40 km running including a long run

-       One swimming session on the Wednesday (a relaxed day, that was the only exercise we did that day)

We stayed in the Ardèche for seven days, at the L’Oustalou guest house, where the owners Philippe and Véro really pampered us! We made ourselves at home very quickly, and the room where we ate soon turned into a “recovery lounge” :)

stage-triathlon

Day one: first recovery time… but not for everyone yet

On day one, we got a feel for the surroundings and everyone's fitness levels. A short run before breakfast on an empty stomach, and then a bike ride in the afternoon. Béate and I decided to take things slowly: 50 km on day one was good enough, especially given the steep hills in the Ardèche! The boys kept going and came back once they'd done 80 km.

With this first day finished, Nicolas (my other half) and I knew it was time for a recovery drink! We prepared our little potion before the inquisitive eyes of our friends. Then I headed to the garden with my "recovery bag" and started to get out all the products.

François, who had used electro-stimulation before and had already reaped the benefits of self-massage during a previous triathlon training weekend, had asked me to bring him a few recovery accessories - for the others, "a good meal and a good night's sleep" was all they needed to recover!

So, on the first day, I didn't have many keen testers for the products I'd brought with me.

But this didn't put me off, as I'm a firm believer in the famous "overtraining" phenomenon and I didn't want to risk an injury! So I did a quick half-hour recovery in the sunny garden with the foam massage roller. It wasn't the most pleasant massage, but what a feeling of lightness afterwards! It felt like I had new legs!

 

Day two: everybody tests recovery

Day Two, and some of my training mates were complaining about heavy legs, and various aches and pains! I, on the other hand, felt so light after my recovery session the night before! So, at the end of Day Two, it was recovery drinks all round (a little tip: I mix it using half water, half hazelnut milk! It's delicious!!). It was unanimous: they loved it - it's refreshing and fills you up until dinner! This was followed by a self-massage session while we were waiting for the aperitif prepared by our hosts!

Xavier set his sights on the modular stick and kept it for the rest of the stay: he was convinced by the merits of this self-massage for quads and calves in particular. I had to brief him a little on how to use it and about the various options that the re-positionable modules offer, but after the first session, he didn't want to give it up!

As for Nicolas, he used the trusty electro-stimulation. It's more passive, and therefore more relaxing after a long day of training.

Greg was tempted by several different accessories, but his favourite was the roller, which allows you to adapt the intensity of the massage according to your needs/aches, and the small massage ball that eases the shoulder blades with a deep massage.

Beate mostly used the roll-on massager, which is softer for a first use, concentrating on a painful spot on her thigh.

As for me, I was completely addicted to the electronic foam roller! It has a much deeper massaging action, which completely eased my quads and ischios.

François managed his recovery with the roller and electro-stimulation. He had his recovery drink with us, but then preferred to spend the rest of his recovery by himself.

We respected his choice - recovery is important, however you do it!

test-recup

Conclusion 

As for the massage balm and cream, opinions were divided:

-       I loved the balm for its warming effect, which makes you feel as though the massage is continuing even once you've finished, and really relaxes the muscles.

-       Nico was more of a fan of the cream, because it gives a deeper massage, but without the warming effect, which he doesn't like as much.

-       Béate really liked the arnica in the massage cream and balm, but she preferred the cream because it wasn't as warming.

In any case, the cream was a real hit for its non-drip formula!

In the end, we all agreed on the importance of a post-exercise recovery session, because no-one got injured during this particularly demanding week of exercise, and no-one suffered from after-effects, aches and pains or heavy legs!

Everyone appreciated having the chance to test the products over several days, and we loved being able to take the time to relax! We each had our own level, but we enjoyed sharing this sporting moment all together.

We didn't really use the double ball or big ball, as they weren't that easy to get into the right places, and were a bit too soft compared to the small ball, which conquered every ache and pain we had!

The most popular product was definitely the massage roller (electronic or not depending on the level of experience), and the modular massage stick, as you can adapt the intensity of the   massage to your needs, and everyone appreciated that!

I already know what I'm going to put in my bag for our next triathlon training weekend in June :) The #recoveryreflex is now an integral part of every sports session as far as I'm concerned.

 

noemie-signature

Noëmie

I am the triathlon sport leader at the store in Wavre, Belgium and the national triathlon ambassador leader. I love nature, animals and sport, of course! I am happy to give anything a go and tried tennis, judo, synchronised swimming and trail running, before finally settling on triathlon. I was a judge at Belgian competitions for almost 4 years before becoming a competitor myself this year. So, when it comes to distance, I have tried only Sprint and Olympic.

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