As spring breaks and the weather warms, we find ourselves becoming more motivated to exercise. We may even find ourselves setting some big goals for the new year ahead. This spring burst of motivation is often accompanied with a surge of energy and it is important to check in with our schedule and ensure we are valuing all the important elements that make up effective, enjoyable and efficient training.
One of the most undervalued elements in training is RECOVERY.
Recovery is an imperative element to all training regimes, whether you are training for your first 5km fun run, or the olympics. There are many important reasons to recover that are both physiological and psychological.
Firstly, on a physical level, the body repairs and strengthens itself in the time between workouts, known as the recovery phase. The recovery phase is the time that your body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place. Recovery also allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues. Pushing through this phase with more exercise or simply with too much daily stress, will lessen the adaptation and expose you to greater injury and weakness. Having inadequate recovery can also overload your adrenals, leading to adrenal fatigue, it can weaken your immune system and create a level of generalised fatigue that can see you functioning in life less optimally.
As well as the physical adaptation benefits we see in recovery, building adequate rest into your training plan will also help maintain a better balance between home, work and fitness goals. It allows you to have enough energy for work, family and other personal endeavours.
So are you recovering enough? Or are you overtraining? There are physical and psychological signs that may indicate you are not valuing enough recovery in your weeks. It is important to remember that all our lives are different, so if you have a very active life, with a lot of stressors, physical, mental or both, then the amount of recovery you need shall be greater than someone with less of these stressors in their daily world. Here is some red flags to look for that may help you rethink how you factor active recovery into your week.
- Recovery between sessions take longer
- Recurring niggles and injuries
- A lack of appetite or weight loss
- Feeling light headed clumsy or awkward.
- A general fatigue you can't shake
- Susceptibility to colds and viruses that are hard to shake, indicating a weakened immune system
- Legs feel heavy in every workout
- Fatigue easily
- Performance during workouts is declining
- If you race you may notice your times don't reflect your training?
- Sore muscles that persist longer than normal
- Depression or feeling 'low'
- Loss of enthusiasm and motivation for training
- Dreading training
- Loss of pleasure when exercising or racing
- Insomnia or restlessness