It has been said that a faster and tougher athlete is made not while working out, but during the downtime.
When was the last time you took a break?
Taking time to recover can be the difference between injury, or being over-trained and sidelined for our upcoming A-race.
Overtraining has become a common topic of conversation.
“Overtraining (OT) is an accumulation of training and non-training stress resulting in long-term decrement in performance capacity, which may take several weeks to months of recovery,” wrote Nick Clark, a strength and conditioning coach, in his study Balancing Training with Recovery to Avoid Overtraining.
What is Recovery?
Recovery is simply defined as, “a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.” And rest as, “a period of inactivity, relaxation, or sleep.”
Your muscles and energy system need time off to rebuild, adapt and prepare for your next workout. Lack of rest means starting your next run unprepared as your body may be exhausted, under fueled and more prone to injury.
What Happens When You Recover?
The second you finish a run your body begins to recover. Your depleted energy system begins to replenish itself, while your abused muscles and bones start to repair themselves from the grind of repetitious running and pounding the trails. Rest allows your body to adapt and restore glycogen stores as muscles tears mend themselves and end up stronger for the next run.
Signs of Lack of Recovery
Without proper recovery you may note signs of sleepiness, lack of enthusiasm and loss interest to run as scheduled. Other symptoms are trouble sleeping, irritability, weight loss, loss of coordination and excessive aches and pains. The most obvious is injury.
How to Recover and Use Your Break Wisely
- Recover on the Run. Scheduled in easy days can be viewed as recovery, especially after hard training sessions.
- Recover after the Run. Be sure to take in the needed calories and drink enough water to replenish lost energy stores. Many runners use compression socks, massage and ice baths to aid in recovery.
- Weekly Recovery. If needed take a full day off of running. This is the perfect time to do light cross-training or rest completely.
- Monthly Recovery. A two-day rest period at the end or beginning of every month will do your body good.
- Seasonal or Yearly Recovery. There are no hard fast rules as to how long a runner needs to rest between seasons. Most runners have found what works for them through trial and error, and learning from the experiences of other runners.
- Sleep: We all feel better after a good night’s rest. During sleep your body goes into overdrive to regenerate and repair running damage to bones and muscles.
- Socialize: A full training schedule can leave little time for hanging out. Take advantage of your running break to chill with friends and family.
- Volunteer: Give back to your running community by helping out at a local race.
- Catch-up: Scratch some responsibilities off of your household or work to-do list.
- Cross-train: Biking, hiking, swimming, climbing. The list is endless of ways to get in a good workout and use some non-running muscles.
How often do you take a rest/recovery day?
What do you during running recovery?