"Give me a break" (Rest and Recovery)

June 05, 2013 by Angela Coon

Have you ever noticed that some days you are not feeling great, thinking straight and none of the choices for your day have fallen into place?

Have you ever noticed that some days really suck? You might not want to start  your day , you struggle to wake up and you run out of time getting your morning going and  before you know it there are police lights in your rear view mirror and you are getting pulled over…., ahhh geeez...  (This  has never happened to me but I am just hypothesizing that it might J )

Yes, there are also days that go wonderfully for us but this is not what I am talking about.  

Historically, my high school days were filled with multiple moments of disorganization.  I was a kid who said yes to all sorts of the extra stuff going on at school.   Participating in a variety of activities was great yet looking back I did not manage and prioritize my time well.   It was not clear to me why I could not handle everything in my schedule. Having enough time to accomplish my tasks was not my only problem.   I could not focus in the time I did have and looking back it was because I was in a constant state of panic.  I found my situation terribly frustrating.

Learning the importance of proper rest and actively recovering enabled me to change my life. This seemingly small and yet obvious revelation of practicing routine rest allowed me to manage the flow of my day and would determine the effectiveness of my training so I might be the best athlete I could be. I was not able to come to any of these realizations alone. I had a master coach show me the way. I feel great gratitude for this fact.

As I trained at higher levels I began practicing actively resting and regenerating. It was critical to find some way to recover faster in order to get more done at a higher level.  Sleeping was great but short naps and nutritional tricks were also practiced to facilitate my constant need for more energy.  I found doing contrast baths, drinking more water and having frequent  massages enabled me to optimize training while continuing my studies.    The tools I learned and practiced were essential in the quality of my overall performance then and now.

We all understand proper nutrition is important but when sport performance is at stake eating well becomes a game. I learned which foods worked well for me and which foods slowed me down or put me to sleep.  There is lots of debate on the best ways to eat but like so many things you need to find your optimal and individual plan to facilitate your own superpowers.   I have found  what I eat determines how I think, what I can consistently do in my training and in general terms, what the quality of my life is going to be at most points in my days and weeks.

Not everyone will have the luxury of time to pursue the qualities that make up the life style of an elite athlete. Perhaps not everyone wants to live practicing the tools to enhance performance.   No matter what,  the more you can attune yourself to the cause and effect nature of your habits , whether you are trying to run faster in a 100 meter sprint or recovering from an injury… the principles are the same. In order for you to feel great, think straight and summon  your self to be at your best, try getting more rest and look for ways to regenerate yourself actively. 

 

Some tricks that I have found worked best for me:

1. I find it difficult to eat enough lean protein when I am training routinely. I find what works best for me is super food vegetable juices and now I add raw veggies (Kale, parsley and broccoli) to my protein drinks and smoothies

2.Water seems to heal me = drinking it, swimming in it, training it or Epson salts baths always make me feel better.

3.Smaller and more frequent and consistent massages are more effective and might be facilitated by a trainer, coach or partner. 

4.I have found that practicing the tools of actively recovery enhance the quality of my night time sleep. I believe shorter duration of quality sleep are more desirable than longer , less restful sleep. 

5.Power naps of 5 or 10 minutes to shut my eyes, stretch out horizontally help me break cycles of craziness in my day. It does not seem like much time but sometimes it’s all you need. 

Comments

jeff diritto

jeff diritto said:

Great thoughts — I’ve always felt the same about water. I used to go for small swims after training and always noticed during those periods I felt amazing more often than not. Lately I’ve been using the sauna and Epsom salt baths and notice similar results.

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