When discussing the topic of rest and recovery, the most common questions we receive as coaches are:
When do I know I need a day off?
When is the best time to have a rest day?
Let us provide you with some strategies to help address these questions.
Recovery Days/Days off
Understand this reality - Life WILL happen. Travel, work, family will impact your ability to train occasionally leading to unplanned days off. If you are unusually tired/sore then a rest day may be needed, and can be taken without feeling guilty - it’s just being smart. If you have a pain or unusual soreness, it is best to spend some extra time doing some mobility work, and even better get it checked out by your therapist (physio, chiro, etc.).
There is a simple rule to apply here - take care of it now or have to miss considerably more training time taking care of it later.
Planned days off are sometimes needed in programs to accommodate life demands. However, whether you have a planned day off or adjusting your training because life has happened, it is in your best interest to spend time each day checking in with your body. A strategy we strongly suggest you employ is developing a daily mobility habit. This is a short routine (10mins or less) you can do prior to your first training session of the day. An example of this is set movement exercises we call a preset mobility session (video). Consider this preventative maintenance for your body. This habit allows you to scan your body and address anything that does not feel right before the session begins. We suggest adding a similar routine (e.g., foam rolling, mobility) after your training session to check in with your body, gather information, and address areas of need to help you recover for future training.
Become a proactive athlete instead of a reactive one.
The primary aim for you is to be able to train with quality consistency while taking rest when needed. Look to create an environment where training is a healthy part of your life rather than allowing other commitments and life events pile up creating too much stress trying to “fit it all in”. This can lead to overload, injury, illness (which we address here), and ultimately poor consistency.
As we mentioned in our previous post, Quality Consistency is the most important component to your health and performance. Your ultimate achievement is never about the completion of any one particular session. Many athletes think that it’s all about doing the big "sexy" session they can tell their friends about (e.g., epic long training run), but often these are done in such a way that require a day or more off to recover, or lead to sickness/injury. Much better to do the work, day in, day out, and 'hurry slowly'.
In our next post we will discuss how to decide when to adapt training sessions and do it in a way that best supports your health and performance.
Patrick and Jen
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P.S. We want to hear from YOU! If there is a topic you want us to discuss in this series please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a note on facebook and let's chat. Train with us! Our Group Training, Nutrition and Coaching Programs provide the support and guidance you need to help you achieve your ideal health and performance.