Recovery (rɪˈkʌvərɪ) n, pl -eries
- the act or process of recovering, esp from sickness, a shock, or a setback; recuperation
- restoration to a former or better condition
- the regaining of something lost
- the extraction of useful substances from waste
As an athlete, it is hard to think about recovery as an activity. Not only is it an activity, it is one of the most crucial aspects of training, yet one that regularly gets overlooked or done incorrectly. Even people who aren’t training for endurance events need time to recover from daily activities. It is important for everyone to get enough sleep or rest in order to function properly in their daily lives. It is nearly impossible to focus or perform at maximum capacity if you do not get enough rest, and even if you think you’re doing okay without enough sleep, there are most likely some underlying issues that you’re not even aware of. That being said, you can surely imagine how vital it is for athletes to recover, how we need to make sure that we are getting enough sleep to allow our bodies to heal from the strain that we are putting on them.
Sleep is very important for athletes. Without enough sleep at night, the body is not able to properly repair itself. Recovery days between hard sessions are also important for allowing the body to recover. An athlete should have 48 to 72 hours between hard training sessions in the same discipline. If the body is not able to repair itself properly, the athlete will not be ready for the next training session. When doing interval, repeat or fartlek training the rest period between sets is also important. If the rest period is not long enough, the athlete will not be able to go as hard as the plan calls for in the next interval, repeat or fartlek. What all this comes down to is that without proper recovery within and between training sessions, training and racing goals will not be reached.
Recovery is a subject that an entire book could be written about. It is clearly an important part of training, but it can be hard to look at it that way. My wife often has to give me friendly reminders to make sure I’m taking enough time for my own recovery. While getting enough sleep is easy for me, recovery days are another story, but I’ve been getting better at it.