This week for example we played Leeds in the FA Cup on Sunday, so we had recovery sessions on Monday and Tuesday. Last night we beat Norwich, and today it’s recovery again for the boys who played, the people who didn’t play normally trained. In a game, you run a good 11 or 12 km and a lot of it is sprints, so you don’t really need fitness, but you need recovery.
Anyway, today we got in an hour later than normal so we could get some extra sleep after the game. I did 20 minutes of cycling followed by 15 minutes of stretching on the mats, deep stretching all over my body. Then the manager wanted us to go for a walk, so we took a little walk. After that, we chose between ice baths, cryogenic chambers and treatment with physios. I received treatment and went to the ice bath. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference between them and a cryochamber, but I feel cooler after an ice bath, so I usually choose that. Then we had a big lunch and now I’m back home to relax, eat and rest. There will be a big training session tomorrow to prepare for the next game.
All the games make it hard to find the time, but when possible I’m still in the gym doing leg stuff, working on my hamstrings. I use a machine called a hamstring solo machine. You put your legs up and lower yourself while tensing your hamstrings up, this is great for building power in your hammies. The idea is to get them in better shape to be more powerful on the pitch and more agile, while keeping them strong to avoid injury.
“As footballers we are lucky, the club sorts all the material in training and at home. Recovery pumps, recovery tights, everything. I am mostly on the NormaTec [a compression therapy device which massages the body to enhance circulation and reduce soreness] and feel the benefit of using them.
Football technology has evolved so much, even in my career. We all wear a GPS in training these days. Like last night we played at Norwich, and this morning we walked into training and all our stats from the game are stuck on the walls. It’s great because you can gauge where you are – whether you’re below average or exceeding expectations. The director [David Moyes] is huge on fitness tracking, when he came here we were like 19th worst for running stats in the Premier League. He got us in shape and now we’re in the top three or so. Recently I also wore this new wearable technology from Prevayl. What they do is amazing, you can track all kinds of data during workouts from anywhere. It even monitors data recovery and downloads on your phone.
“There are always chefs on hand and they’re pretty amazing – they make sure there’s plenty of choice that matches what we need to eat. These are all good simple nutritious foods, vegetables, carbohydrates, fish and meat. The club also sorts out all of our personal nutrition shots, smoothies, protein stuff, so I normally get healthy meals without much effort. I’m the worst cook ever, but luckily I have my mom. She’s a health guru herself and if she sees me eating garbage, she’s on my case.