Friday, August 14, 2015

The lost art of recovery

Let's face it working 5 days a week, training 6 days a week, loving my wife and family everyday of the week (Husband Bonus Points) doesn't leave much time for much else, in fact I'm starting to have to meet my friends either while running or riding so that just about shows you the amount of 'free time' I have.

So lets add something else to the schedule. Recovery.

First things first, listen to your body, if you can't hear your body you're not listening well enough as it tells you when it needs more recovery. That tightness in the calf, the tired eyes, the blurred thinking all these add up to moments when you know you need to take a step back, ease off and maybe look at your recovery.

Plan a day off. Nobody likes a rest day, if you're a ball of energy like me rest days suck! Getting the train to work and getting off a stop early to walk helps with taking the stress of training off the body.

Foam Roll. I'm guilty of not doing this enough, and hit home when I when I got a massage from Physiohealth to be asked "Do you foam roll?" and when I said I did sometimes, they said you need to all the time as my calves were rock hard and in need of some TLC. I find a couple of minutes a night, in fact I have my routine down to 1 min per body part making it no more than 10 minutes! That's perfect 5 nights a week or after a heavy session of running/ riding on the weekend.

Have an easy day. Sometimes I just don't go so fast, maybe I take the less hilly way to work on the bike, or I dial back the km/min ratio to 6 minutes instead of 4:30. I'm still moving, I'm still working but I'm not smashing it out. Active recovery they call it, recovery ride/ run. These usually follow my hard runs.

Find your Zen. In my early 20's I messed around with meditation & yoga, in my mid-twenties I went to the pub too much, in my late twenties I forgot everything and now in my 30's I'm trying to find my sweet spot. Take a few minutes to smell the roses. I have been adding in a Sauna session for 10 minutes after my swim, it's silent and calming to close my eyes for a moment. Take the nice way home on the bike and watch the sun go down, or even just go to your library in your lunch break for 15 minutes and read a book. Embrace the calmness and moments of silence, you can find it without looking at your facebook!

Fuel your recovery. This I'm becoming more in tune with than ever before, having been inspired by Eat & Run by Scott Jurek (the great Scott Jurek) I'm not just examining closer what I eat after an event, which lets face it most of the time we are good at this, grabbing our protein shake or having a fresh salad with chicken for dinner after a workout, but then 6 hours later we're knee deep in Fish & Chips or a Pizza. Our recovery food is much more than just than first hour after a workout, it's the whole day, the whole week in fact. Check that item as you take it off the shelf, think is this fuel or fire? Can I chose something the same but better, great example the other night I got a hankering for some Chocolate, I'm staring down the barrel of a sweet Cadbury Dairy Milk bar, then I look around and I see an organic chocolate, and next to that a antioxidant boosting dark chocolate so I reach left instead of straight.

Recovery is important, and the more I train and follow my path the more I see the need for it. Training back to back days requires recovery, and we're all one step away from an injury but the prevention is better than cure statement couldn't ring truer in this instance.

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