I began racing triathlon in 2006 and quickly realized that this sport was an obsession I couldn’t shake. I was working a full-time job and training every spare minute of my day. After quickly burning out, I gave up triathlon after three seasons and went back to school to “be an adult”. However, in 2011 upon graduation, I rediscovered my passion and gave up the career I had just studied for to pour my heart and soul into racing full-time professionally. Almost 10 years later—with many wins, course records, and world championship medals—I still can’t imagine doing anything other than swim, bike, run for the foreseeable future.
Of course, the intensity and volume of my training has increased over the years, yet so has my commitment to recovery. As a very proud 42-year-old athlete, I am one of only seven female-bodied athletes over the age of 41 who have qualified for the Ironman World Championships in the 42-year history of the event. In fact, I believe I am only getting faster and stronger as I get older—again, something I credit living a balanced life.
My Top 5 Recovery Must Do’s:
- Say No. The clearer I am on how I spend my time outside of sport, the more time I have to recharge. This can be tricky depending on the time of year or my training cycle, yet I’m always better for it. I’m mindful of how I spend my downtime and who I spend my time with—energy suckers have no space in my calendar.
- Sleep. The importance of sleep as injury prevention is backed by some solid science. I started using a heart rate variability (HRV) monitor this year and have found that the data it provides me around both the quality and quantity of my sleep is super useful. It also helps track my fatigue beyond my workouts and reminds me to be kinder to myself on the tough days.
- Post-workout refuel. As soon as my workouts are complete, still sweaty and in kit, you’ll find me mixing my shake to replenish my depleted glycogen stores. A smoothie with Vega Sport® Premium Protein is my go-to.
- Weekly massage. I am lucky to have an incredible massage therapist who works absolute magic. Not only does my RMT know my body well and can tell when something needs some extra work, as a welcomed bonus, he often has some excellent words of wisdom for me on all aspects of life.
- Meditation. I’ve found five to 10 minutes of daily meditation practice to be a huge reward-per-minute activity. Focused meditation not only helps manage my ADD symptoms but deep, focused, meditative breathing may help increase HRV and vagal tone—both super important for recovery and general well-being.
Overall, I look at the opportunity to recover in multiple areas of my life—it isn’t just about one thing, but how being mindful of all the ways adequate rest and downtime add up to make my recovery more effective.
Rach has been racing as a professional triathlete full-time since 2011. They are a three-time Ironman 70.3 Champion and have numerous podium and course record results across several distances in the sport. Known as the “Purple Tiger,” Rach is one of the strongest cyclists on the world circuit. Deemed, The most interesting [person] in triathlon,” by TRS Triathalon Radio, Rachel McBride is the first professional triathlete to be out as gender non-binary. They hold two graduate degrees in genetics and are an accomplished cellist, having toured the US and performed in Europe with various bands.
They lead from the front of the race always. They are consistently first-off-the-bike having logged eight Ironman championships, 70.3 fastest bike splits, and are currently a two-time IRONMAN bike course record holder. Rach is a three-time course record holder, including Canadian National Championships. They also love riding and racing their gravel bike. Rach loves being a minimalist, spinning fire, and working in sexual health education and advocacy in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.