We spend weeks, months, even a year at a time training for an event but often forget just how important it is to put that same amount of effort into recovering from a big event or even a hard workout.
If you are still in a training cycle take your recovery days seriously. It is important to limit the amount of time you spend on your feet those days, keep your nutrition quality high and quantity not much lighter than a day you have an easy workout, and be sure you are getting quality sleep. It is often all to easy to spend your rest days doing all the real life things you no longer have time for, like yard work, hiking with the dog, running errands, cleaning the house and other surprisingly active tasks. It is important to have a life vs training balance but just be cognizant of how active you really are on a rest day. Even if you have a busy day off try to schedule an extra nap or just some extra time to put your feet up, icing and a session with your foam roller. By allowing your body the time it needs to repair from previous workouts you will not only keep yourself healthy and more likely injury free but you will have more energy to attack the next weeks workouts. If you don’t allow your body to recovery eventually your life as a whole will begin to be negatively affected. Chronic fatigue makes every little thing seem like a big task, workouts don’t feel great, and your ability to be mentally sharp is affected. The bigger part of making the commitment to train is not the physical workout but all choices that go into taking care of yourself as a whole person. Proper recovery is a crucial player in overall well being.
Being well means both physical and mental recovery. If you are recovering from a big event take a few weeks to go play. Your mind and body both need it. Don’t schedule structured workouts for two weeks post the event. Take the time to get caught up with friends and family. While visiting is a low key activity for your body it is even more important to your whole being. Some great ways to get caught up are happy hours, date nights at the movies, coffee dates and taking the dogs to the park. As you start to feel more active do things that are different than your sport. Mix up your training, do the fun stuff – catch a yoga class, go paddle boarding, do some extra stretching, get a massage and get one for your significant other as well they earned it!
One of the biggest mistakes people make coming back to training from an event is coming back with too much intensity. After having two whole weeks of recovery you often feel great, in fact almost too good but your body is still trying to combat the physiological breakdown that happened at the race. If you come back too quickly and too hard you are likely setting yourself up for injury issues down the line. During recovery and as you gradually build back to a full training load remember to keep your nutrition quality high. Your body needs the right fuel to keep making repairs and keep you moving forward.
In order to ask your body to push the limits it is key that you first give it the respect it deserves. Recover smart to train smart.