Think of recovery as a blanket. And what are blankets made up of? pieces of fabric make up a blanket. the pieces of fabric that make up recovery include rest, refueling, and regeneration.
Recovery gives your brain and body time to prepare for the next training run or next race.
on a rest day, you want to focus on the amount of sleep you get. it is recommended to get at least 8 hours of sleep at night. having a power-down routine can increase your quality of sleep. Your power downtime should be an hour before you go to sleep. Turn off the tv, place your phone on the charge, outside of your room, and dim the light. dim light stimulates melatonin production.
during my power hour, I like to meditate, do a relaxing yoga flow, and/ or read.
In the world of mediation, they say not to do it in bed. But, my purpose is to relax and go to bed. I close my eyes and take deep full breaths with my eyes close until I fall asleep. It allows me to have some of the best sleep. And mediation allows me to limit stress and increase my brain and body relaxation.
Most people wonder what is the difference between active rest and a total rest day. So let’s rephrase active rest days to regenerate. When we regenerate its an aspect of recovery that focuses on movement-based self-care. Such as yoga, stretching, mobility, or a leisurely walk. The point of regeneration is to increase movement quality and minimize damage to the body.
We can also use tools and services to regenerate. Such as massage guns, foam rollers, TENS units, lacrosse balls or tennis balls, marathon sticks, and Thera cane massagers. I would say I’m the queen of regeneration tools. I either have it or it’s on my list to buy. When I’m not using some of the toys above, you can find me on a massage table, or in and out of physical therapy. Now I have an undiagnosed neurological disorder that keeps me going back to PT. However, I say do the exercise they prescribe while you are in PT and long after you graduate.
Another component of recovery is to refuel. We talked about fueling in episode four of this series. Take the time to tune into that episode to learn about how to eat before and after runs. As well as how to hydrate. It’s important to fuel to give your body the needed energy for the activity at hand.
Recovery includes rest, refueling, and regeneration. This means getting good sleep and reducing stress, eating before and after activity and staying hydrated, and having movement-based self-care.