It doesn’t maker what the quality; strength, speed, agility, or endurance. When we challenge ourselves with a hard workout or training block and then take care of our recovery we adapt, we get better.
Both elements of the formula are necessary if we’re going to improve. We tend to emphasize one and neglect the other. We often assume that if we aren’t seeing the improvement we want it’s because we aren’t working hard enough or long enough. So, we ramp it up, add more reps, more practices, go longer hoping it will get us closer to our goal. It rarely occurs to take care of the recovery side of the process.
Without recovery not only do we not improve, we plateau or sometimes even get worse. Over time, under-recovery can lead to illness, injury and burnout.
APPROACH RECOVERY LIKE TRAINING – BE INTENTIONAL
Ask yourself what are the things you need to take care of on a daily basis? Start building practices and habits around those. Sleep, nutrition, hydration, stretching, and mental practices like meditation all have a huge impact on how well we respond to training and how good we feel.
Look beyond the day to day for larger patterns. Each week I have athletes fill out a weekly schedule that shows not only their training and competition schedule along with school, work and social commitments as well. Then I have them review it the next week and make any changes so that it reflects what actually happened. Together if we need to make adjustments we can and we can look at where recovery is or isn’t getting taken care of.
Take inventory and get to know your body. Every day we have athletes fill out a paper and pencil journal to capture things like sleep and energy levels as well as what’s going on that day. It’s information for me and more importantly a chance for them to pause, assess, and over time get more in tune with themselves.
There are a lot of ways we can tend to the recovery side of the formula. In their book Magness and Stulberg offer resources and practices that are a great place to start. Like anything else though the most important thing is to start. Pick one practice you want to work on and make it a habit. This is where coaching can help. Working with someone who understands the process and can help you find a focus and provide encouragement and learning is worth it. Once you’ve grooved in one habit move on to the next. Over time you will begin to see a difference and really take advantage of the hard work you’re putting in.