BASE Performance - The Art of Recovery BASE Performance - The Art of Recovery

The Art of Recovery

It’s that time of year again. Spring is happening everywhere. And with spring comes better weather and the itch to get outside to ride or run long miles. It’s also race season. Time to plan your race and race your plan. A lot of people think going hard and training 7 days a week is a sure fire way to success. But that really isn’t the case. What is the least thought of aspect of training? You might be surprised (or not) to find that it is recovery.

Recovery is a cornerstone to any good training plan. Without it, athletes would just run their bodies to the ground. Injuries would be rampant. Focus would be lost. Motivation would be lacking. It might seem counterproductive to the beginner athlete, but proper recovery will actually improve your race times and get you to that goal. Let’s break down what recovery means and what happens during that time.

To begin with, recovery is not the same for every athlete. Someone training for a 5K will have a shorter recovery times than someone training for an Ironman. Every training session an athlete has results in the breaking down of muscle fibers. It is during recovery that these small muscle tears repair themselves and grow bigger and stronger. In addition, there are various types of recovery. Active
recovery could be a 15-20 minute walk in the afternoon after your long run on Sunday morning. Long term recovery is built into your workout plan. For example, you might do a build for 4 weeks during
Ironman training but then do a recovery week where your training load is significantly less. Passive recovery are days where you literally do nothing except maybe take a nap on the couch while golf is playing in the background.

Keep in mind that recovery is not just about sleeping. An example: you go for a tempo run for about 3-4 miles. You feel good, had a great workout. At the end of the workout, you should take some time to
stretch and ease your body into the “rest and digest” mode or your parasympathetic systems. Doing some long, easy stretches and
possibly lying in shivasana (or corpse pose, literally the best yoga pose ever) for 5 minutes will give your body the cues it needs to start to calm down.

An often overlooked aspect of recovery are your nutritional needs. Keep in mind that when you increase your training load, your nutritional needs also increase. Consuming the right foods after workouts helps speed the recovery process. Downing a dozen cookies and a glass of milk might seem like a good idea if you feel you are crashing after a long run or ride, but there are better options. Maybe step away from the Chips Ahoy and try some greek yogurt with granola and berries or
throw on some chocolate chips for that cookie fix. Or use some BASE greens and make yourself a smoothie!

It is also imperative that you listen to your body. Not the “oh I don’t feel like running today” voice in your head that will derail you from your goals. Watch for signs of over training and needing an actual rest day. Some of the those sign are: feelings of fatigue beyond normal tiredness, lack of motivation or desire for your chosen sport, decrease in performance, elevated heart rate during the night, general aches and pains. When these symptoms hit, it’s time to take a rest day.

Remember that rest makes you stronger. It will help you maximize your fitness and athletic goals. It rejuvenates your cardiovascular and muscular systems to take on more load. It also prevents burnout. So take that nap. Try implementing a yin yoga class into your training weeks. Or maybe even take a leisurely bike ride with your kids or spouse. Your body, and your training, will thank you.

How Stress Relates to Our Training

Here is a guest post from one of our partners Cliff Duhon from Breakthrough Nutrition. Spring has certainly sprung for most of us. Your first race is most likely around the corner, which also means your training is about to start ramping up, either in intensity or duration. As most of you know, anytime you increase one or the other, it adds a new stress to your body, which is a good thing. This is called progression. In order for you to get stronger or progress, you must constantly add new stimulus to your bodies in order to break them down so they may rebuild faster and stronger than before. Most coaches and athletes know that you usually do not want to increase intensity and duration in the same week (with that being said, there are a few exceptions when I believe it is ok). But how many of you are as careful with increasing your training load during stressful periods in our life? Stress is defined as a constraining force or influence: as a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. It is very important that we understand that definition as it relates training. One of the first things we ask our athletes during their initial consultation is how stressful their life is. We also encourage them to let us know when and if they become stressed during their time with us. The reason is because our bodies do NOT know the difference between physical stresses like a tough 3 x 20 interval session and the mental stresses of bills, relationships, etc. If you are going through a particular stressful time in your life, make sure that you do not increase your training too much. With that being said, the best thing to relieve stress is physical exercise. It helps your body release endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. These hormones give you that euphoric feeling often referred to as runner's high, and they help you get a more restful sleep at night. So the next time your boss piles on the stress at work, grab your sneakers for some relief, just be careful to keep your exertion within a healthy parameter so you don't wreck your season. Happy Training and Racing, Cliff Read more from Cliff on their blog.

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