Rest and Recovery in the world of elite sport
Part of an elite athletes training plan will carefully calculate the amount of rest and recovery they require to offset the physical training. The duration, type and frequency of this is carefully crafted and managed to ensure they don’t overtrain and can continue to sustain a consistent level as well as an improvement in their overall performance. Rest and recovery are included as part of their overall performance plan rather than an indulgence that features once all other aspects have been built in and there is some spare time left. During recovery is when most muscle is built, so you can see why it becomes a priority, not a ‘nice to have’ in the world of elite sport.
What does that look like in your world?
We aren’t all into elite sport after all, does it work when applied to your world of work?
Yes it does!Instead of building muscle for speed on the track or agility on a pitch, you are building up your body and mind for purposeful contributions to your organisation or maybe clarity of thought to provide direction and guidance to your team.
So what’s your attitude to recovery?
A good place to start is to be aware of your attitude towards recovery. If you see recovery as a luxury, you have already dismissed its effectiveness and put it down your list of priorities. If an Athlete did this, over time it could lead to niggles which become injuries and would limit their ability to maximise their performance gains through phases of recovery.
When you adopt a Recovery First Mindset, it’s a game changer and will directly impact on your performance. It’s no longer something else to fit in; it features with a high degree of priority and is maintained consistently.Recovery is not a luxury, it’s a necessity for elite performers like you.
Performance starts with awareness of what works for you
With recovery as a top priority, do you know what type works for you?
Typically in a training plan, referred to as active or passive, once you work out how you recover and what rest looks like for you, you can start to think about creating your own Energy Maintenance Plan.
Active recovery involves lower intensity exercise that places minimal stress on the body and passive recovery for an athlete involves taking the whole day off. There is of course the off chance that thrashing yourself physically helps you recover your energy mentally. So if you like a challenge in the gym, know that this can assist in your rest and recovery too.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction
Newtons’ Third Law can be applied to rest and recovery when looking into the frequency and duration that is required. By looking ahead and studying the load your day, week or month, you can start to plan the rest and recovery you need as well as the duration and frequency and then act upon your Energy Maintenance Plan.
Just like in the Tour de France, you can actively plan what you require at certain stages of your weekly race. You may wish to actively recover in the peleton and use others around you to carry some of the load or you may need to fully rest post a leg draining hill climb or prepare yourself for the next one! Either way, this means you are not leaving your performance to chance. You are able to actively make a choice and prioritise your rest and recovery through planning AND actioning your Energy Maintenance Plan.
Adaptation brings about consistency
Now it’s highly likely your plan may not survive contact with your week and by Tuesday afternoon, any chance of any form of rest or recovery just got lost in amongst everything else. By setting yourself a minimum acceptable level (10 mins away from my screen, phone and ipad) and adapting to achieve this, you can seek to aim for consistency rather than intensity of rest and recovery.
So….What happens to your performance when you commit to a Recovery First attitude?
Best you get started on that Energy Maintenance Plan and find out!
Other useful resources on the topic: