Thanksgiving is coming at the perfect time. For one of our older groups its the fourth week of a training cycle; typically an unloading week where we back off and allow the mind and body to catch up and adapt to the hard work we’ve done. Because of the holiday we have one day in the gym this week and the kids have a technical session on the turf. That’s it… perfect!
Along with a change in routine we want the athletes – especially the younger ones – to understand why we back off and begin to think in terms of stress and recovery. We want them to learn to follow that oscillating wave of intense challenge and deep rest and regeneration, to pay attention to it and work with it, not to try to overcome it.
Kristen Diffenbach, Ph.D. said in an article for Podium Sports Journal ” If you can’t recover from the training you do and you don’t have an environment set up that allows that to happen you’re not going to get stronger no matter how much work you do.”
Creating awareness and opening up new thinking are part of creating that kind of environment. So, along with lightening the load this week we also talked about recovery, why we’re doing this and how they can optimize it so that their bodies adapt to the work they have done. That’s why it was so encouraging after our last session to see this in one of the player’s journals. ” Its ok to take a break.”
We live in an outcome driven society where ” big data ” allows us to measure and rank and compare constantly. We have to keep moving and producing so taking a break is often seen as weakness or at the very least just falling behind. It’s not. It’s an essential part of the balance that’s required for both health and performance.
So Thanksgiving is here. Time for all of us to pause, rest, reflect and take a break. Sleep late, eat well, enjoy time together and alone. The holiday is coming at the perfect time. “It’s okay to take a break.”