February 29, 2012
The Importance Of Taking It Easy
Why is it as athletes we tend to be more aggressive in training than racing? I would see this all the time: every time someone's racing was under par their training became more aggressive to make up for what happened (or didn't) on the weekend. I would often watch people go hammer their brains out and try to prepare for upcoming events, which defeated the very purpose they were out to train.
Human beings are funny animals. Our very instincts that guide us through life for some reason turn on us when we get into sport.
I would like to propose a philosophy that all of us have heard about but most have a tough time putting into practice - RECOVERY -!! When working with the athletes I coach, they will all tell you I emphasize this very concept, one that enables their body to not only rest after their training but build on it as well. It’s very simple, the Engine has energy systems that enable the mind, body and soul to communicate with each other so that a human being has the ability to recharge and get ready for the next task at hand. When we take energy away from that system we dig a hole in the very system that feeds our drive.
The reason recovery gets so confusing to athletes is because it is our nature to push harder, and goes against our nature to yield and recover. We like to ride fast and run hard, and it has been ingrained into us to ignore pain for the sake of gain. NO PAIN NO GAIN! That archaic concept has outlived itself time and again, burning out athletes in the process. And injuring others.
(Don't think most injuries are the result of lack of proper recovery? What do you think the term "overuse injury" means, you dumb ass!)
In sport, learning the art of recovery, and believe me it is an art, will enable us to progress and achieve our goals much faster. We have no problem incorporating new training, adding more intensity, and pushing harder. It’s when we are asked to stop and recover that we balk. We are afraid that we might lose what we have worked so hard to gain. So we tend to go out and train when we should be recovering from our last acid bath. Since we are so driven, we tend to ignore the logical need for recovery, and opt for more punishment. In many pastimes, this might be seen as a healthy and productive work ethic. In endurance sport, it is passport to under-achievement.
Want to see a more successful season this year? RECOVER MORE. Granted, there needs to be something from which to recover, but your gains are made when you absorb your work. There are skilled times when to insert this recovery within your training, you don't just throw it in anywhere, but recovery is critical to true progress. When your racing is underway, if the recovery isn’t there, the mojo in races will quickly expire.
You have to recover as hard as you train, and a little more to allow for growth. It’s hard to break old habits, but if you're looking to accomplish your potential the change is necessary. The work ethic involved in hard training must be likewise employed to recovery.
You will find that recovery might be hard work, but worth it.