Un­planned re­cov­ery and rest days Tips for re­cov­ery ses­sions

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES -

While plan­ning in re­cov­ery weeks should be your pri­or­ity, some­times the mys­tery of the body takes over and you need to take an un­planned re­cov­ery day. Train­ing fa­tigue is a nat­u­ral con­se­quence of higher vol­ume and in­ten­sity, but it has to also be dif­fer­en­ti­ated from over train­ing. This can of­ten be hard to dis­tin­guish. There is a con­tin­uum of ath­lete men­tal­i­ties from overly con­ser­va­tive (pulling the plug in train­ing when­ever you feel the slight­est nig­gle pain) to ma­ni­a­cal (train­ing through fa­tigue, in­jury and ill­ness). Both ex­treme men­tal­i­ties lead to com­pro­mised per­for­mance.

Only you can tell when you feel it’s time to stop a work­out, but you have to learn to be hon­est with your­self. Do you want to stop be­cause you are wor­ried about get­ting sick or in­jured, or is that just an ex­cuse be­cause the day isn’t go­ing the way you ex­pected and you are dis­ap­pointed and frus­trated. A more proac­tive ap­proach is to un­der­stand that your body isn’t al­ways go­ing to feel 100 per cent dur­ing ev­ery work­out. When you are train­ing hard, some days are just go­ing to be a slog. Keep per­spec­tive that each day is an­other step in the foun­da­tion of your train­ing and some­times just com­plet­ing a work­out is the goal. Ev­ery now and again the goals and ex­pec­ta­tions of a prac­tice have to be ad­justed to take into ac­count what I call “mys­tery fa­tigue days,” days when you are just too fa­tigued to get a train­ing ef­fect. Some­times you have to pull the plug and take an un­planned re­cov­ery day – maybe a gen­tle base run or an aer­o­bic spin on the bike. • Run on soft sur­faces, run in the woods and run easy.

Fo­cus on form and pos­ture in­stead of speed and pace. • If you find your­self in­creas­ing speed through re­cov­ery ses­sions, sim­ply fol­low your heart rate and don’t let it climb out of Zone 2 (about 100–120 BPM for most peo­ple). • You may have to train solo. Too many peo­ple sab­o­tage their re­cov­ery by join­ing a club ride, or run­ning with peo­ple who aren’t on a plan and who are faster. • Dur­ing your re­cov­ery weeks, you can still touch on speed and pace with shorter main­te­nance in­ter­vals. Do­ing 6 x 1 min fast with 1 min re­cov­ery in a 45-minute run pro­vides the mus­cle mem­ory and main­te­nance to carry you through to the next build phase. • Fi­nally, if you re­ally have trou­ble with re­cov­ery, re­frame your per­cep

tion. Re­cov­ery train­ing ses­sions are as im­por­tant as build ses­sions. • Sched­ule mas­sage in your re­cov­ery pe­riod and fill some of the spare time you have with stretch­ing ses­sions. Con­cen­trate on good nu­tri­tion and hy­dra­tion; th­ese are favours you do to a body that is try­ing hard to re­pair. A re­cov­ery pe­riod is also a men­tal re­fresher. Just like the off sea­son, it gives you a much needed break in your yearly train­ing, while the re­cov­ery weeks and days are short time outs in the mi­cro­cy­cle. Re­cov­ery al­lows you to re­set emo­tion­ally and take a break from think­ing so hard about your goals.

Life­s­port coach Lucy Smith has been help­ing ath­letes get stronger and faster for 20 years.

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