You train hard. You race hard. You need to rest hard too. This is probably the most underappreciated aspect of training. If you don’t rest properly, you may get injured, your career may be cut short, and you just simply won’t be as happy as your rested self!
You jump out of your chair, lace up your shoes and head out for your lunchtime interval run. Since you’re tight on time, you cut the cooldown short and skip the shower. Within minutes you’re back in your chair typing away. Sound familiar? I am guilty of this bad recovery behavior. In fact, I engaged in this behavior for a solid five years after my professional racing career ended, culminating in a long-term injury that has forever changed my running future.
It only takes a few minutes to give your body some pre and post workout love. To keep it very simple, make sure your heart rate is fully recovered and you aren’t sweating anymore before you move onto the next activity. Choose a focused array of cooldown stretches so you don’t tighten up immediately. At night, stretch your body for ten minutes before you plop into bed. Small things can make a huge difference.
I’m talking about the off-season. Your A-race is over and whether you ended the season with success or disappointment (or as I like to say, with a strong learning curve), you need to be very disciplined and NOT sign up for another race for 6-12 weeks! Seriously – I give you permission to chill out for a couple months. This is important so that you can give your body a true recovery, not just a day or two after a hard effort.
Let me clarify. Relaxing over the off-season does not mean sitting around getting bedsores. You need to stay active, just don’t get stuck on a strict schedule. Change it up – this is the perfect time to snowshoe, ski, surf, hike, get into the weight room, do whatever activities you can’t do during your strict training regimen. Just as importantly, drink beer, and eat what you want. It’s okay to put on a few pounds (but maybe not 30!), knowing that you are going to be more disciplined again soon. Enjoy your off-season.
Massage time! Plan in some body treats. Yes – pedicures count too. And let me know when you’re going, I like to rejuvenate any time of year!
Categorised in: General