Monday, January 23, 2012

active recovery ...

As a coach, I am a big proponent of taking adequate rest days. For some people, this means taking an entire day or days off. For others, it means a short duration, low intensity workout. I have found that finding the correct ratio of workouts to rest is really dependent on the individual, their endurance base and their injury history.

But regardless of what my clients' schedules have laid out for them, my number one goal is ALWAYS to get them to the start line, injury-free, so that they have the opportunity to reach their goals on race day, whether it be to PR or to finish smiling.

As an athlete, I am less than successful at taking adequate rest days. I've been known to push the pace during recovery runs and I may have skipped a rest day or two. I'll be honest. I suffer from "more is better" mentality. I always have and fortunately, it has yet to come back to bite me.

I know that having this mentality when it comes to endurance training is 100% wrong. I know that in most cases, the best athletes (best being subjective, of course) do the least amount of training that will produce the largest amount of gains. This does not mean that they skip workouts or cut things short. Instead, they fine tune their workload to produce the biggest results. They push themselves hard enough to make strength, speed and endurance gains, but not so hard that they break. And perhaps most importantly, they find the balance of workouts and rest that helps them excel.

I am trying to find that balance.

Over the weekend, I had my longest ride to date (45 miles) and my fastest 12 miler since October (1:47:37). It wore me out. All I wanted to do was eat and sleep. I know I need to recover. And so does my training plan. This week marks the end of Build Phase I and the first of two active recovery weeks (the next one is in five weeks).

I've been dreading this week since I first saw my plan.

I mean, an active recovery week seems like pure torture to an endurance-aholic like myself. Three full rest days, one strength day, and an hour of each discipline seems like nothing. It's a third of my normal volume.

But, as hard as it may be, I am going to do it. If nothing else, it will be a test of my mental strength. And at least I'll have fresh legs for what looks like a soul-crushing week when Build Phase II starts next Monday. Wish me luck ...

14 comments:

Running Ricig said...

I know exactly what you mean. I'm horrible at resting. When I'm not training for something, I tend not to take rest days and just do an easy run day instead. If I'm training, I force myself to have at least one day off.

Good luck!

Kortni said...

Well, you know I dislike down weeks as much as you! You can do it and your body will thank you!!! By the way, your 12 mile time was crazy awesome for a training run!

RunHapi13 said...

I am learning this too, and trust me, you will be thankful fo rthe active recovery week. I am not saying it isn't hard or won;t suck some, BUT the big picture here is what I look at. I have learned to embrace my rest days or low activity days and KNOW they will only help me be better on race day!
That said, good luck!

carrie said...

Good luck! Even the honey badger has to lay down for a few minutes to "rest" after getting bitten by the king cobra. He takes a little rest and then gets back up on with eating the cobra!

N.D. said...

Good luck! I think they truly help! :)

TNTcoach Ken said...

LOL, afraid you might like that rest?

Michelle said...

Good luck! You'll just need to find something else to find something else to fill the downtime...yeah I know easier said than done, right? :)

Tricia said...

you can do it!

dani said...

I have such a hard time with rest--I feel like I'm being lazy if i am not running on rest days!!

Michelle said...

Embrace it as a part of your training. Sounds like Phase II is more demanding, so you'll want your strength. BUT, don't eat your children, you've already done a lot of organizing so find a "new" project and stay sane! :)

Char said...

Take it from an idiot who is still learning it the hard way - these rest weeks are the most important parts of your training. Your body will adapt and get stronger and you will be a stronger, faster athlete.

BigHappyFamily said...

Rest days make me so antsy. Usually I take a rest day when my kids schedules are so darn busy that fitting in a workout would add stress to my day rather than bring me so relaxation.

Marlene said...

I hear ya! As much as I like to rest, I always feel like I should be doing more. It's STILL had to wrap my mind around recovery.

It's also tough when I'm not on a plan and just winging it week by week.. yeah, not my wisest decision!

I'm still experimenting with rest days VS active recovery days... learning process.

Colleen said...

My coach called for a recovery week for me since my life has been crazy. I'm going stir crazy. The good thing is I'm looking forward to some longer workouts next week.

Recovery is the HARDEST discipline to learn and so well!