If you're trying to make long term strength and performance gains in your training then too much emphasis on expediting recovery may actually hinder your progress some experts are now discovering. For example, taking NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen or applying ice to minimize soreness & inflammation can undermine our body's natural adaptation and repair process, primarily by reducing post-workout prostaglandins which are acute triggers for repair. Remembering that it is in fact the micro-trauma & tears to our muscle fibers and other soft tissues (and the associated soreness) during intense exercise that actually triggers repair to begin, and the follow-on growth and strength gains, many efforts taken to minimize or expedite this natural, crucial recovery process will hinder or even inhibit long term adaptation & gains.
|NEVER give up your Foam Roller!...but remember post-workout soreness is GOOD and the GOAL!|
Of course all recovery efforts aren't bad. A good night of sleep, proper nutrition, massage, and even some supplements can assist in the body's natural recovery process without interfering or accelerating so much that the adaptation & gains are compromised. As one gets closer to a competition or race-day, the training can then shift from long-term adaptation to feeling 100% and at their peak potential, so at this phase, all recovery and preparation efforts can be combined and applied. A practical approach to take may be to treat recovery strategy like training strategy, where you can apply periodization cycles staged up to and around competition or race day: You can peak your recovery efforts opposite of your heavy training cycle, to force your body to learn to repair and adapt on its own yet still ensure you're fully prepared on race day.