With little races on the horizon, which at times forces rest and recovery, we need to make sure we still prioritize recovery. We can quickly find ourselves in the routine of continual training days and lose site of tapering and recovery days. Below are a few check ins to assess where you are and if changes are needed.
Mood and Motivation
When mood and motivation start to waiver it is a good indication of fatigue building and energy decreasing. We may find we are looking for more reasons to skip a workout and trying to justify it to ourselves. Rather then feeling the negative we may simply need a day or two off to rest. Not only giving our bodies a break but mentally as well. After you will find that spark again and be ready to go, finding efficiency and effectiveness in our training sessions once again.
Remembering to self assess our bodies and pay attention to what it is telling us is imperative for physical health. It is important to be open and honest with ourselves, our coaches and medical practitioners when performing these self assessments.
We need to remember there are many strategies we can deploy when injured. Our time can be spent in the gym working on muscle imbalances and finding additive exercises to compliment prescribed exercises given by medical practitioners. We can cross train to continue to maintain cardiovascular fitness with rowing, elliptical, swimming, hiking or others depending on injury.
It is important to take a step back and look at your calendar globally. To see if your schedule is free to fill it with training and if it has space to ramp up your volume. It is also prudent to see when the calendar is full of other life commitments, family, work, and social. When calendars fill with other items it is important to reduce the training load to allow for these events. Creating balance in our schedules will help maintain focus and reduce stress on missed workouts.
Everyday checks in
Life can get in the way “as we as athletes call it” unexpectedly. Work commitment, sick, stress, anything under the sun can come up. Daily assessment should be made of our current state. How was our sleep, how is our nutrition, where is our stress at?
The quality and amount of sleep we get is the key to success. Physical activity puts demand on the muscles and tissues and the body repairs itself during shut eye. Blood pressure will drop and your heart rate will slow giving your body a break. The release of hormones in this state relaxes muscles and can reduce inflammation and assist with healing.
Good nutrition can enhance sport performance. A well-planned, nutritious diet should meet most of an athlete’s vitamin and mineral needs and provide enough protein to promote muscle growth and repair. It will provide the source of energy required to perform and directly impact our strength, training, performance and recovery. A positive relationship with food will directly impact your readiness to train.
Not all stress is bad for your performance. Good stress makes you more alert, motivate training and gain competitive edge. The right amount stress helps you prepare, focus and perform at optimal levels. However too much stress can cause your performance to decline. It can also create an imbalance between training, work and life commitments.
In the end we need to use a multidisciplinary approach when evaluating our readiness to train and reviewing recovery. This can vary on a daily basis or throughout a season. It’s important to establish a routine to do a self assessment and review it regularly.