The Importance of Recovery

I’ve heard this many times but over the past few days I think it’s meaning has become even clearer.  The concept that you only improve your performance, whether it’s strength, speed, stamina, whatever, occurs not during the training itself, but rather during the recovery.  When your body repairs the damage done through training and strengthens itself in order to adapt to the loads you’re placing on your body.

I’ve always struggled to get enough sleep.  For some reason I like to stay up late and usually have to get up at a fixed time in the morning, for work or for training.  Leading to not enough sleep.  I’ve always managed to function but have often wondered what life would be like if I did get more sleep and in doing so, recover better.  For the past few months I’ve been making an effort to get to bed early, and in fact go to bed when I’m tired, irrespective of the time.  I think it’s working.  I’m certainly not missing anything by doing so.

Anyway, for the past 4 weeks training with Tony my intensity has been gradually increasing and I’m really enjoying making these changes from day to day and week to week.  I’m amazed at the continual learning, even for someone who has previously done quite a bit of training.  Anyway, when doing the triathlon training we would have a 4 week cycle with the 4th week being one of recovery, not an absence of training, just a reduction in volume and intensity to allow us to recover and regain some energy [on some cycles I was doing 13 sessions a week and the impact that had was significant].

This weekend I was reminded of the need for some recovery.  On Friday I rocked up to the gym to do my new dynamic lower body workout.  It was pretty good, except I felt something pull in my bum (technical term, glute).  It didn’t hurt, but it didn’t feel right.  Like a weakness.  Anyway, I managed to finish my workout with no real issues…. or so I thought.

Over the course of the weekend my right bum cheek became incredibly tender.  It was like I had my leg corked.  It was sore to touch, sore to stretch and it was even a bit swollen.  It even interrupted my sleep as I’d roll about.  I’m still not sure what I did, suffice to say it seems to be improving now (sat and sun were particularly uncomfortable to the point of almost going to the doctor).

 I used an ice-pack, neurofen and voltaren gel for their anti-inflammatory properties and pain relief and have woken today feeling like it’s actually on the mend.  Whew!  I was getting seriously worried there.

Anyway.  My lesson.  I AM nearly 40 years old.  I do need to consider my body’s changing needs and do need to incorporate regular rest and recovery into my training.  Tony’s said it before.  “There’s no point going so full on in one session that you break yourself and can’t turn up the next day.”

Hmmm, seems so clear to me now.

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