Todays focus for coaches corner is all about recovery.
‘Recovery’ for most athletes can be seen as a dirty word, a sign of weakness that you can’t cope mentally or physically with the demands of the sport & training. However recovery is key to progression and success. Rest can be more benefical to an athlete than training on through which can cause more harm than good. If you are needing that rest / recovery and try to train hard, the failure of the session could affect the mind set and this is simply avoidable by listening to the body.
Recovery allows the body to repair and heal as the demands placed upon the body during those key sessions will need time to repair. Therefore any recovery activity or week should be at a reduced volume. Intensity however of some sessions can be kept in order for the body not to forget. Three weeks on (being progressively harder sessions) followed by one week off (recovery) are common practice.
If you fail to abide by this simple principle and train through (this is common when things are going well with your training) then the body will tend to break down and therefore greatly increase the risk of injury.
How to use recovery in your training? 1). REDUCE to the volume by 50% so that your body can repair and replenish the muscle cells and stores. Its not uncommon during a rest week to feel tired and heavy. This is the body shutting you down to do its thing. 2). If you’ve done a particular hard session, then the following day you can do a recovery ride, swim or run at 50 - 60% intensity level. This will aid the body to actively recover, simulating blood flow to aid the body to flush out any remain waste products to example. 3) stick to the set pace / watts which your program has in place. Don’t ignore them believing that they are too easy. This is the point.
What intensity & how long? somewhere around 50 - 60% of your WHR / watts / pace. This is below aerobic intensity (60 - 75% WHR). In this zone you will be utilizing more oxygen to aid the recovery of the muscle cells etc. 20 - 30mins in sufficient time to aid the bodys recovery process.