THE IMPORTANCE OF RECOVERY IN ACHIEVING PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE
OAM – 5 x Olympian and Gold Medalist (Beach Volleyball)
We’re all aware that to be the best in any sport, you have to train. Train hard, train consistently, train often. However, did you know that the most important part of an athlete’s training is their recovery?
Many people train hard, but what are they doing to recover? The one who wins the recovery race, WINS!
“Prepare, Perform, Pause.” (Jeff Spencer) is a great little model for sustained success. Once you acknowledge the importance of the pause (recovery) phase, you will move ahead in leaps and bounds.
WHAT IS YOUR RECOVERY PLAN? IF IT DOESN’T ALREADY, IT SHOULD INCLUDE ALL OF THE FOLLOWING FACTORS:
This involves watching some TV, reading or generally chilling out – NOT playing on Facebook!
ICE (AND/OR ICE BATH)
If you feel any discomfort from training, use ice. Ice helps rid the joints and muscles – 15 minutes is enough to quieten the joint down. Ice baths help the whole body and are a must in tough training blocks. Just drop three 4kg bags into the bath and get in up to your neck! You will feel better for it. It also helps remove lactic acid from your muscles.
Dynamic stretching pre-training and more static post training is the current thinking. This is crucial for the longevity of your career. Your muscles will stay flexible and healthy.
Wear your Compression garments (ideally 2XU for best results) as soon as possible after your training and competition. Don’t forget them for air travel too – they make a huge difference.
Yoga will improve your flexibility, concentration, breathing and strength, and is a great all round complement to your training. Even if it’s for one session per week – it will cleanse your soul too!
A must for many reasons…concentration, focus, breathing and stillness
Get as much as you can – minimum of 8 hours when training.
This is crucial – it’s your FUEL! Protein supplements (bars or shakes) are great for your muscles. Always have a banana handy for during or post workout.
Once a week at least if you can to keep your muscles in tip top shape. Deep tissue will remove lactic acid too.
Water, water, water!!! As much as you can tolerate. Electrolyte replacement is important too.
ACTIVE RECOVERY (I.E. WATER WORK)
A good way to assist your recovery is to move in the water.
LISTENING TO YOUR BODY
NO over training! If you come down with the flu or something similar, DO NOT keep training with a ‘SWEAT IT OUT’ mentality… REST!
Unless you have recovery taken care of, your training and race/event day performance is going to take two steps forward, one step back.
Now is the time to give recovery the attention and it needs. Be aware of it, and think about how it can be maximised – it will make all the difference to your performance.
Image credits: Corbis Images