Thursday, May 23, 2013

Recovering from a Derby Weekend

This last weekend was a rough one for me; me had three games with three other teams in one day in a venue that doesn't have air conditioning.  Because we were hosting a tournament, the entire league had to be ready at set up at seven thirty in the morning, and we played the first and the last games of the day, with the final game starting at 8:30 pm.  It was a lonnnnng day, but any derby day can really take it out of you with the set up, or travel, or heat, or pressure.  How do you recover from derby insanity after the final whistle has blown?

You know you are going to have a marathon day coming up, so you should be doing stuff to prepare your body BEFORE you even put your skates on.  You should be getting enough sleep the days before your game, eating well, and drinking water.  I cannot stress how important water is for your endurance and performance.  Most people walk around in their daily lives on the verge of dehydration, and that's a nono for anyone who considers him or herself an athlete.  Guess what can dehydrate you?  Too much salt, not enough water, too much caffeine and alcohol.  People always roll their eyes at me when I say it's a good idea to cut alcohol the week before a game.  "Oh Q, you're just a prude."  Yes I'm a prude, but I'm also giving you good advice.  Just try it once and see how it works for you.

Take care of your needs
I need to eat when I'm playing games, and I hate junk food; actually, I don't hate it, but it doesn't make me feel great when I have to eat crap on the road on the way to a bout.  It's better if I can pack the foods I need to eat to feel good, and that means I have to be organized and prep for my trips or day.  I am NOT an organized human being, so it takes a lot of effort for me to prep my food needs, but I have learned through trial and error to make sure I'm ready.

I also have learned through trial and error that I need to have my mental game organized too; I need to have my gear ready with few to no mad dashes in panic looking for my wrist guards...mouth guard....socks...I dunno....did I pack my helmet?  Let me stop the car, run around back and check.

Who's laughing NOW!!!!!!?????
At the tournament this weekend, I knew I was going to be at the venue for more than twelve hours, so I brought an inflatable mattress, much to the ridicule of many people.  Guess who had the most comfortable between game rest?  Me and half of my team, because I think just about everyone I knew took a nap on there at one point.  You can't always bring an air mattress, but having a pillow on hand and a warm hoodie can really make your down time more comfortable.

By the way, you should be drinking water before, during and after your game, and possibly more than you think you need!

Post Recovery
First of all, go get some more water and drink it while you read this next part.  You're probably dehydrated and don't even know it.

Make sure you stretch after a game; I watch derby girls and boys everywhere play the game, strip their gear off and start celebrating.  Unfortunately, they're feeling no pain because they're full of adrenaline...which wears off after a while and then you wake up with a leg cramp from hell at three in the morning.  OW!

Eat some protein after your bout.  It's important to replenish your body after derby; if you're doing it right, you're leaving it all on the track.  Here is a pretty simple guide for nutrition after exercise, with special attention to how many carbs and protein you need.  By the way, in case you didn't know it, alcohol is not a protein, but bacon is.

Finally, if you're one of those obsessive derby players, you might have trouble getting a good night's sleep right after a bout; are you rerunning the game in your head?  I do that.  It might be an occupational hazard, but I do take a benedryl to help me get to sleep.  Benedryl isn't for everyone; some people have better luck with melatonin, but I'll stick with my generic benedryl, and count the derby sheep instead of the points I should have stopped from happening.


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