The last few workouts have been tough. Today, the water temp was 84.2 degrees (for 6,200m) and yesterday was an overheating 85 degrees (4,300 yards). All I could think about besides my stroke and aching lower back was the cold shower after practice. I think the cold showers actually facilitate my recovery process as well as help me acclimate to cold water training. Some experts believe that cold showers after exercise can decrease the imflammation that leads to post-workout soreness. A cold shower causes the blood vessels to contract which may help flush out waste products (lactic acid) in the tissues. I've been taking post-workout cold showers since mid-February, when I started to prepare for the April 2010 Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge swims. They've gotten a lot easier, with little screaming. In fact, repeating "I love cold showers. I love cold showers. I love cold showers" seems to help. I've done the ice baths after long runs before but have never gotten used to those.

Other Ways to Speed Recovery after Exercise
1. Rest. Never underestimate the power of rest. Dr. Karen has that written on her dry erase board. I see it once a week when I go in for shoulder work. For athletes, sometimes doing nothing is hard to do--but can be the easiest way to speed recovery.
2. Stretch. Use a foam roller. I got mine from Soft Tissue Solutions in Farmington Hills.
3. Massage. Improve circulation. I recommend Tri-covery Massage & Fitness in Novi for sports massage. Ask for Jeff. Mention "Support JD" and $30 will be donated towards my upcoming English Channel swim.
4. Sleep and listen to your body. If you're feeling tired and sore, it's okay to go to sleep early.
5. Refuel. After today's hard swim, I had a turkey sandwich with cole slaw and glass of milk. Replace your fluids during your workout and try to refuel with a mix of protein and carbs within 45 min. post-workout.