Lots of people like to use a person or a small group of athletes with massive training loads to reference their idea of recovery. The idea that “they can do it” therefore I can is used all too often. These guys and girls ARE great athletes and outliers in their chosen sport, this is the exception, not the rule. They have built a base level of strength and conditioning that support their training load, which will directly impact their recovery.
The best way to think of training is digging a hole, the more you train the deeper the hole gets. Recovery is filling the hole back in. Now imagine if you dug 2 meters deep and only filled the hole back up with 1 meter of earth, you get the idea? It’s great to take away the work ethic and attention to detail of these outliers, I think it’s a great idea to draw from their dedication. Just be mindful of your own abilities.
This should form the base of your training. Like training and life, this needs to be measurable and able to be repeated. Good choices are based around mostly healthy choices (about 80%). Lots of colourful vegetables, some fruit, some lean meats, whole fibrous grains, protein-rich dairy and healthy fats. A large proportion of food should be prepared at home and healthy convenient options are on hand at home and the workplace.
Get more sleep, try for eight hours per night. Simple. However, I know life and lifestyle get in the way. Sleep helps control insulin sensitivity, mood and can decrease your risk of injury. Your body gets stronger when you sleep. There are some things you can control. Room temp at about 18 degrees, make sure you don’t get too hot with your clothing and bedding, avoid caffeine and food before sleep, keep your sleep routine the same, don’t nap after mid-afternoon and blackout your room.
Sleep underlies nearly every function of the human body and importantly in this context, provides the much-needed physical and mental recovery from day to day. Physically this will allow you to achieve your best performance in every session and maximise recovery between workouts to show up every day. Mentally it will allow you to push harder, make better decisions and have the willpower and fortitude to weather the storm when things get tough.
This one seems pretty easy to do. However, without a coach-led warm-up and cool down, I wonder how many actually do? A warm-up of 10-15 minutes will have you ready for the task. The same goes for the cooldown, spend 4-5 mins cooling down and you will start to bulletproof yourself. Don’t stretch to pain and don’t feel you need to suffer during a cooldown, stretch out the parts you worked on and do some rolling on those. 5 mins every day will add up.
This is where we look at practices we can do before or after our training, things like our own mobility work on trouble areas or areas that need more attention BEFORE they become a problem. Rolling, recovery walks, rides, swims, etc. stretching as its own session on your day off or at night while you watch tv. Compression tights, massage guns, supplements and being as proactive as you can with all of this. The biggest one…take a day off if you need it, you’ll feel better if you take a day off to recover and recharge.
There are many things out there today that claim to help you recover…I tend to look at the facts and the science before I waste money on anything. It’s easy to get fooled into something so if you don’t know or are not sure, ask someone who does. Now science changes all the time, what we know now will surely change in a few months or years and it’s great that it keeps evolving. You just have to try and be up to date as much as you can.
Remember to focus on your training, and give each session what you can and also focus on recovery so that you can give each subsequent session your all. Be performance-driven.