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 to 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 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…get the idea? Its great to takeaway 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 abilities.
This should form the base of your training. Like training and life this needs to be measurable and able to be repeated, not impacting your life…not an emotional approach. There is so much bullshit out there that its hard to know where to start, and everyone seems to be an expert. My simple rule is this. If I don’t know I go and find out of someone who does. This person must have an education, not topless photos on Instagram. So who do I trust? Harriet Walker. If you want to know more do the work, pay for the service. And have a real think about it why you do things.
Get more sleep, try for eight hours per night. Simple. However I know life and lifestyle gets in the way. Sleep helps control insulin sensitivity, mood and is and will decrease your risk of injury. Your body gets stronger when you sleep. Use bed for sleep, no tv, computers, phones etc. Here are some things you can control. Room temp at about 18 degrees, make sure you don’t’ get to 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.
Warm up & Cool down
This one seems pretty easy to do…however without a coach led warm up and cool down I wonder how many have or do? I have learnt the hard way, via injury. 10-15 will save months of your life…you will be ready for the task. Same goes for the cool down…spend 4 – 5 mins cooling down and you will start to bullet proof yourself. Don’t stretch to pain and don’t feel you need to suffer during a cool down, stretch out the parts you worked and do some rolling on those limiting factors. 5 mins everyday will add up.
There are loads of 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. Its 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 its great that it keeps changing. You just have to try and be up to date as much as you can. Cold water immersion…the jury is still out if its effective. The sauna…seems to have some good research to suggest it helps. Now if you are doing cold water in winter…I’d say it’s a good time to try the sauna and if you are reading this in summer then hit some cold water…why?? Because placebo is good as well, if you feel good the day after a sauna then you will train better, same goes for the cold water. If it gives you a mental edge or you feel like you sleep better then go for it. Just be aware that this is not science…its emotion.
Remember to focus hard on your training, and give each session what you can…but focus hard on recovery so you can give each subsequent session your all. Be performance driven.