Recovery in Sport: mistake playing the night before the match

I had not played football for two weeks and could feel my legs tighter than normal.

The night before the match I went down to 3G field to test my left foot. I had a toe nail removed two days earlier, and I did not know if I could play in my boots.

When I put my boots on, the foot felt no pain. I started playing in a friendly match. I had not played for two weeks and it felt good to run around. I played for 60 minutes at a 80% to 90% level. When I got home I could feel the fatigue set in and I was dehydrated. I was concerned what this would mean for the match the next day.

The next day, I turned up to the match feeling tightness in my right quadricep. A result of pushing too hard the night before and not playing for two weeks. I tried to release it but it was too close to match day.

I warmed up carefully and we were playing on a heavy pitch with cut grass on top. The ball moves slowly and it was heavy to run on. Our opposition were aggressive and fast in the forwards. This meant a lot of running and tackling.

At the 70 minute mark my quadricep and calf muscles started to cramp. I lasted another 10 minutes and then had to substitute myself. It was silly choosing to play football the night before the match. I won’t be doing that again.

I continued my normal nutrition post match (SIS recovery drink and three OTE carbohydrate bars). I put on my compression clothing but no time for cold bath.

I noticed a team mate eat eggs and toast after the match, and then he needed to lie down and have a sleep. I was alert and had no feelings of hunger. I am very happy with my post match nutrition.

If I summarise my plan for the next match;
Drink full bottle of rehydration drink during match, have recovery drink and Carbohydrate bars post match, ice bath and wear compression clothing.

To add to this is a stretching programme 2-3 days post match, foam roll to relax leg muscles, and mid week speed session on legs. I would eventually like to shift towards whole food recovery meals.

When I play football matches I do not get to play tennis. When I have training sessions I can play tennis. Cycling has not started yet.

This weekend we had a training session. It was an easy session and my legs felt good. My toe was pain free and the stiffness in my legs had gone.

I am now away for the next two weekends. I must keep my heart rate and fitness up over this time. Plan is to do midweek speed sessions, get rid of muscle stiffness and stiffness in spine (use Gravity device see http://www.physical-edge.com) and try to simulate football conditions in a 45 minute sessions (jog- sprint- change direction- ball control under pressure and passing. I could do this on a Friday night on 3G pitch).

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