Post Camp Recovery
Training camps provide an opportunity for elevated fitness levels, but the camps themselves aren't what makes us fitter---that's where diligent recovery comes in. In the simplest of terms training = stress + rest. On the other hand, one without the other = eventual breakdown, be it too much stress or too much rest.
Following a big training camp, ala the one you just endured in Boulder, the first few days should be very light in terms of training stress incurred. Moreover, you need to do your best to limit or mitigate "outside stress," that is stress incurred outside of training. Only then will you allow your body to "absorb" (that is, benefit from) all the ball-busting work you did this past week. Ball-busting works for men and women, since I of course am hereby referring to eyeball-busting.
Here are some tips for the days immediately following a training camp:
Elevate the heart-rate somewhat (approximately up to 70-80% of your lactate "threshold" heart-rate), as it'll get your blood pumping more quickly. Blood flow is the body's preferred healing method. Inflammatory metabolites and damaged proteins can be removed more quickly, while carbohydrates and amino acids can be delivered. Sitting on your ass for a few days is worse than even hard training, so do something! However, avoid any high heart-rate efforts for four or five days. Thus, your training should be "restorative" and not more of a stress load. Ideally you will want to focus on whatever hastens recovery, rather than that which delays it. If a workout adds stress, rather than helps release it, forgo it.
Eat as though your recovery depends upon it. (It does.) This means taking in plenty of healthy carbohydrates, proteins and as much real food (real food means food that was recently alive) as is possible. Now isn't the time to concern yourself with weight gain.
Hydrate more often than usual. Frequent sips of water or water with a pinch of sodium are highly encouraged. Small amounts of alcohol (e.g., red red wine) are fine in the evenings if it helps you sleep.
Avoid sick or infected people! Your immune system is quite suppressed after a big training period. Don't put it through any more work than you already have.
Delay your running for a couple days. Running is generally the most stressful of the three disciplines in triathlon. You're better off spinning or swimming easily (what I call "flopping") for a few days before resuming your run training. Aqua-jogging is also a decent alternative to running after a big training week or a big camp, if the boredom doesn't kill you. Tell the lifeguard to stand alert.
Get a massage if possible. This will hasten recovery (hastening recovery is the name of the game at the elite level) and allow you to feel (and perform) better that much sooner. That said, if massage is new to you, consider it another form of stress.
Soaks could also be worthwhile. I myself have soaked (in sweat) all weekend.
Smile and take pride in some (or all) of what you accomplished during your camp. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
For more on Chuckie V or to contact him about coaching, please check out his blog ChuckieV.blogspot.com