I love exercise, like seriously LOVE exercise! I’m not obsessive just highly enthusiastic (though maybe this smacks of denial?) but I am beginning to embrace the possibility that I have a rather alarming endorphin addiction. That feeling you get when you’re pumped and sweaty and totally smashed a
workout, a run, a cycle or a good hard Sunday hike. It’s that wonderful warm glow that catches hold of you and ripples throughout your body leaving you glowing and grinning like an idiot. That despite your body’s physical protestations of tiredness you want to just leap around like a loon as the endorphins go nuts! That kick ass feeling is amazing and I love pushing my body further and further to a get a bigger rush however, and here’s the downer, when you do this, when you push yourself it’s important to set aside that endorphin addiction and embrace some rest. Yes, challenging mentally and possibly even more difficult to do than the training session or event you’ve just
accomplished! My Ultra was 2 weeks ago and I m still genuinely surprised that I am not absolutely fine to smash out anything! Why do my feet still hurt? Why do my legs feel tired? I don’t get it I’m raring to go but the computer most definitely says ‘no’.
Rest and Recovery – the hardest words!
Let’s face it we all know the importance of recovery but why is it so many of us find it so hard to do? Just rest, relax, put your feet up for a bit – sounds easy right? But when you’ve finally got yourself into a routine, when you finally start seeing results why does rest sound so horrific when weeks before it was the training that was to be dreaded. Yet it is crucial. Recovery really is where the true rewards of all your training efforts come to fruition. Recovery allows your body to replenish energy stores, repair any muscle tissue breakdown, to hydrate and nourish itself, to improve performance long term and is vital in reducing the risk of injury.
Short and Long term
Don’t be fooled into thinking recovery is just for after a big event because it’s not and it’s just as important to build in rest days to your weekly training programme. By doing so you’ll see the benefits both physically and mentally. This could be as simple as not training the same muscle groups on consecutive days, enjoying a large steak and a movie followed by an early night rather than an early alarm or even a good old sports massage. Can’t get on board with passive recovery – just hate standing still? Then why not try some active recovery instead? Don’t go for that long run but a leisurely walk, go to the park with the kids and join in that game of football or frisbee. By the time your next training session comes round you’ll be seriously glad you did.
‘I give myself very good advice but very rarely take it’ Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
So with my head hung in shame (and some still very sore limbs) but listening to my own advice foronce I’m going to remove my trainers and take the day off…….though maybe a little power walk to collect the kids from school.