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2XU Athlete, Professional Paddle boarder and 2011 SUP Awards Female Paddler of the Year
Rest and recovery are an important part of any successful training program, but it seems they are often overlooked. I used to think that taking a day off would mean falling behind in my training and so I spent every day doing something – paddling, strength training in the gym, running, biking, etc. In the end, it only left me tired, over-trained, sick and injured. Someone finally pointed out to me that if I gave my body proper rest, I’d actually feel better, allowing me to train harder and get stronger. I’m much better now at incorporating rest and recovery into my training program. I give myself a full day off of training a week, I spend 30 minutes stretching after each gym session and get massages to give my hard working muscles some love.
That means at least one full non-training day per week. Not just physically, but try to focus/enjoy something that isn’t related to your training or given sport.
Eat well, stay hydrated and get enough sleep.
Nutrition wise, I’ve been really into juicing lately – check out my blog post here for a delicious Pineapple Mint Juice and Rainbow Juice recipe. I usually browse the web for good new recipes or get ideas from friends. Be sure to keep yourself inspired and open to new things as much as possible.
Hydration – I carry a 64oz Klean Kanteen with me wherever I go and try to drink two bottles throughout the day. It’s especially important to stay hydrated during my training sessions so I carry a bottle with me on my paddles. When I’m training outside or working in the sun, I add tablets to my water to replace any electrolytes or nutrients I’m losing.
Sleep – I’ve come to recognize that sleep is like training – different things work for different people. Some people can get away with a few hours of sleep, while others need over eight. I think it also comes down to quality. I aim to get six-eight hours of sleep, especially during hard training weeks. I’m usually up early for training and try to get in bed by 9-10pm.
2XU Compression Recovery Tights and Socks are my personal favorites. They aid muscle repair and recovery by improving circulation and keeping soreness to a minimum. Don’t forget they’re great for travelling as well!
Cross training is really important. Don’t just hammer yourself non-stop with intense, interval training sessions, throw in some days of easier, moderate training so you don’t burn out; physically or psychologically.
You’ll find some cross-training ideas on my website. I love mixing up my paddle training with sessions on the bike or treadmill. If you’re an endurance athlete, maybe it’s time to try a bit of paddling!
Get one as often as you can afford. I try to get a 90 min massage once a week. I never used to get massages that frequently until I was made aware of how much work I actually put my body through, and how little I was doing to give it a break. I like sports massages with deep tissue work focusing on the areas that I use most for paddling (upper body, lats etc).
Massages and frequent stretching allow my body to recover properly so I can train and race harder. I’ve established a great routine this past year, and noticed huge improvements to my strength and health, including far less injuries!
Sounds simple, but it’s often an athlete’s greatest challenge. If you’re feeling extra tired or under the weather, take the day off. You don’t gain anything by training when your body isn’t healthy.
While I haven’t met him, I resonate with the coaching advice from Matt Dixon of Purple Patch Fitness. He is a big proponent of quality vs quantity training and has a lot of great articles and advice on the importance of rest and recovery during training. Check out his site!
Image credits: Corbis Images