RECOVERY is KEY!
Alright, raise your hand if you are reading this and are guilty of skipping your recovery workouts, stretching sessions, PT/rehab “homework,” etc. when you are strapped for time (I may or may not also be slightly raising my hand : )
I admit, I have been guilty of skipping a pre-or post-workout stretching session because I barely have enough time to get the workout in or have gotten into the habit of rehabbing an injury until it gets better and letting those exercises go further and further down the “to-do list.” Because I have been burned by this tactic too many times, I made it a point last year in my training to make sure that I made it a priority to take the time to stretch and roll pre and post-run pretty much every run (and I logged a few miles last year : ) I also worked my former PT/rehab exercises back into my routine even when everything was feeling good – which ended up being pretty much all off-season and in-season! Because I “did the dang thing” when it comes to recovery, I actually had my first injury-free run season and was really able to build up my run strength, speed and overall durability.
I know we all know that recovery is important and that we still tend to fall into the same time-strapped trap. So here are a few things that helped me get more consistent in my mission to be more consistent with recovery – hopefully they will be helpful to you!
Take just a few minutes before you workout (especially a run workout) to roll and do some dynamic stretches – it does not have to be an extended session (2-3 minutes is better than none!). Same thing for post-workout – take a few minutes to roll and do some static stretching (2-3 minutes). If you are running out of time to complete your workout, cut it a minute or two short and make sure to use those 1-2 minutes to recover. Over time this will help improve your performance during your training and racing because improved performances come from recovery AFTER training, not solely from the training itself.
Incorporate any previous PT/rehab exercises into your routine 1-2 times per week even when you are feeling healthy and not injured. Again, if you only have 5 minutes twice a week to do this, do it – 10 minutes is better than none. Most often we are working on weaknesses or imbalances in certain areas when we have to go to PT/rehab, those weaknesses and imbalances will creep back in if we don’t continue to work on them.
Actually do the easy recovery workouts at easy recovery efforts. They are meant to help your body recover and improve your performance for the next moderate to hard workouts. Sure, you could run 3 miles at a faster pace…but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. If the 3-mile run in your plan is meant to be run at an easy recovery-oriented effort/pace, don’t use that as an opportunity to run 3.1 miles at 5k pace just to “check-in” with your 5k pace efforts. It’s so tempting to always want to push harder, faster, go “one more mile” in all of our workouts, but RECOVERY IS KEY and a vital part of our training cycle.
If you start to work recovery into your training more frequently, your body will thank you! Wishing you a happy season of training and HAPPY RECOVERY!
Christa is a Swim and Triathlon Coach with Experience Triathlon. As leaders in the endurance services industry, Coach Christa and the Experience Triathlon team help athletes of all ages and abilities achieve success in training, racing and life. Learn more about Coach Christa and Experience Triathlon at www.experiencetriathlon.com