We have all heard of the benefits of the recovery week. Some say recovery is as important, if not more important than training itself. We have talked about the best recovery method post training and racing… (Journey 5 – Recovery: How and Why – Make Your Training Count! and ETPA TV: 6 Recovery Essentials for Triathletes) But what are the fundamentals of a recovery week?
A recovery week should leave you feeling physically AND mentally refreshed. Typically a recovery week is seven days of reduced volume and reduced intensity in training. During this week the aim should be to allow your body to regenerate and adapt to the previous block of training stimulus and prepare for the next block. Recovery is the time where we actually get fitter!
Maximizing your recovery week
- Change it up! Great, effective programs are often built around structure and are always built around consistency, but during recovery, don’t be afraid to mix it up. Change your routine. Swim on Tuesday and Saturday instead of Monday/Wednesday/Friday, for example.
- Sleep! Make sleep a priority during recovery week. When we sleep the body repairs itself and this is the best way to recover and recharge. Sleep is always important but make an extra effort during a recovery… This is the time to sleep in and ignore the alarm if you are too tired.
- Body Management and Soft Tissue Therapy!* Again, regular treatment is the best way to go but a massage and other preventative treatments work in well with recovery and will help you stay on top of potential problems so you can attack your next training block with full gusto!
- Don’t skimp on your own body management! (stretching/rolling) Just because you are training less that is no reason to stop doing the little things that make you a better athlete.
- Enjoyment! Make an extra effort to do some sessions for enjoyment… Include your favourite run session or enjoy a social ride with friends – something that you don’t usually fit in when in ‘full training’… Another way to look at it is to ‘exercise’ rather than ‘train’ – triathletes often forget what this is like.
Finally, it is often nice to throw in a race or test session towards the end of a recovery week/period. It is a good way to see if you have in fact recovered and also give you a progress report on how you are tracking.
Happy training… And don’t forget those recovery weeks!
*We can recommend PhysioHealth for Melbourne based athletes!