Recovery is part of every training plan, even when not specifically written down.
Every sport comes with seasons. Very general goes like this:
- Basic training - to build up a solid foundation
- Specific training - for sport-specific needs and skills
- Race season preparation
- Competition season
- Off-season/ Recovery
In this blog, I want to talk about recovery, after a hard competition season.
It is important to rest up after the season is over in order to start the next season at the right spot. As a former Winter athlete, I usually had the month of April to recover and to reset. Different sports have their own cadence and can replace April with their off-season time slot.
Resting up doesn´t mean hanging on the couch all day long, even when I heard that some athletes are actually doing that. Resting up can mean doing something different, things that don´t fit in a normal day-to-day training routine. Being in a sport, which includes heavily Nordic skiing, I often went alpine skiing as part of my Spring fun. Doing something different is especially important for the athlete's mind. Not just the body needs a break, the whole system can use a little reset and refresher. Now you could say alpine skiing is not taking a break for the body, well it depends on how you are doing it. Enjoying on a regular matter the alpine sun sitting on a deck mixed up with a few runs was something the thing to do to fuel me up. I moved my body in a leisure way and took some fun breaks when I was feeling like it. At the end of the day, hanging on the deck listening to some music felt to me like a vacation.
Vacation is the key. For some athletes, a staycation can be a thing as well. After traveling for many months, home can just be the right place to fuel up energy, excitement, motivation, and everything needed to start a new season with passion and ambition.
Whatever it is, as long as it is different from the things which are usually have on a training plan, it´s good. It changes things up, which is giving the very needed mental break, even when not feeling a break is necessary. (Except the need to fight for the freedom of your country).
Here are two things I don´t recommend doing.
- Not moving much during the off-season at all.
- Start regular training too early again.
The first scenario feels terrible. It is a good idea to prepare a little bit before the real training season starts again. In this case, the first training sessions can already be done in good quality. But there is a fine line.
Starting too early and too serious preparing for the next training season can feel incredible, but the payback is a hard one. Being already in shape when no one else in the group also means being on a different cycle than other team members. When they are getting in better shape, the athlete ahead of itself would already need a little recovery phase. Just there is no recovery phase planned yet.
It also can be that this athlete is in the best shape when it doesn´t count and can not carry it over into competition season when it matters.
For all athletes entering an off-season right now, make sure you use it to rest your body and mind. This can even focus on schoolwork, just something different to clear the system. After that, prepare for the new training season, set some goals, and think about how it would be possible to reach them.
If you don´t have it yet, feel free to download my Checklist, “Basic Fundamentals,” and create new goals for a new season (or at any time you feel like it). You get to it, through the form below this blog.
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