Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Recovery is More than Only Physical

I'm recovering from my half marathon and racing season and not just physically. Of course, I ate soon after the race, did a short cool down, took an ice bath, had a massage, slept a lot, took a walk, and did a little active stretching. However, the physical recovery is only part of the equation. Mentally and emotionally other things in the body need rest and recovery, like hormones and the endocrine (adrenaline) system. How does rest happen?

I spent some time the last couple days thinking about vacation, why does it rest and rejuvenate people and how can I apply that knowledge to a break from training?

There are a number of reasons vacation is restful and re-energizing:

  • More sleep than normal
  • Physically distant from the daily obligations of work
  • Mentally preoccupied with unusual tasks, such as perhaps home improvement
  • Experiencing new things
  • Being in a place associated with safety and comfort
  • Time spent with people we want to spend more time with
There are undoubtedly more reasons. Feel free to point out what you do to rest and get re-energized on a roughly yearly basis. The kind of deep rest that takes a week or more to really get at, not the shallow rest of a weekend. The point is, incorporating some of these things into my daily life during a break from my heavy running will hopefully allow my the proper mental and emotional, or hormonal, recovery I need to return faster than ever. 

What is on the docket to do during this break? Skydiving on Saturday, some bicycle riding, eat out a couple of times at places I don't go when I think about racing weight, visit some family, go to wedding. Wow, with a list that long I hope I don't forget about running! Okay, that is a lie, I'm probably not going to forget about running. 

It is easy to train hard, it is hard to train easy. Recovery is the secret weapon of the best athletes. To continue improving I cannot be insecure about my rest and recovery by neglecting to do it fully. I must rest hard.

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