By Coach Wes Gibson
In the lead in to the Western Sydney Marathon events, all athletes should be following a structured running program. In this article, Coach Wes looks at the importance of recovery in your program, and how they can benefit your running and indeed your overall well being.
R is for REST DAYS: These should most definitely be taken and used as an effective part of your training routine. They allow adaptations to take place and it is from these adaptations that you will start to notice improvement and progress. Further to this, you get a chance to top up energy supplies, unwind with family/friends and get a break from running. Do not underestimate the importance of a well-placed rest day in your schedule, it could be that missing key in hitting your PB.
E is for EAT WELL: your nutrition is vital to making sure that not only does your body have energy to allow movement to happen but it also ensures you have the essential ingredients for proper body function, such as sleep, digestion and so on. The most important role of food is in replenishing energy stores through macro nutrients and also micro nutrients to repair the tissue damaged while running, the better the fuel the better the body will repair and respond to the next session.
C is for CIRCULATION: blood flow is vital in allowing the body to recover from session to session. Many things are transported in your blood, your hormone balance is regulated and management of inflammation around damaged tissue relies on effective circulation. Using methods such as elevating your legs post run (legs up the wall) or wearing compression garments can be great tools in promoting good circulation and recovery. Scheduling in a massage, acupuncture or something similar can also assist with promoting good circulation aiding in the recovery process.
O is for OBSERVE: It is vital that we listen to our bodies and the signs it sends. These physiological markers can be very important in making sure you remain on track with the plan and injury free. If you notice a significant change in your heart rate, energy levels or weight you could be at risk, so being body aware is very important in making sure your recovery is adequate.
V is for VARIETY: Adding in cross-training can be an effective way of training while reducing the impact and stress that running causes. Activities such as swimming, strength, cycling or gym classes can be useful tools in maintaining training load while lowering the impact on the body. As you are preparing for a running event it is important that running is the focus of your training but utilising some training variety, that is functional for running, will compliment this training focus.
E is for EASY RUNNING: This is a good way to manage your training load. Easy running or recovery running is scheduled in to allow a good balance between higher intensity sessions (20% of load) and lower intensity sessions (80% of load) and develops aerobic fitness. It is vital that it is completed at a much lower effort than your hill session or tempo run and for some people this may mean walking. Easy running days are good at making sure you can allow your body to fully recover from your harder sessions without completely stopping and if timed well will re-energise you ahead of your next session.
R is for ROLL, STRETCH & MASSAGE: Self-managed recovery models that work for you are a good way to make sure your body is bouncing back from session to session. Your muscles will require some TLC throughout the training process and stimulating repair, blood flow and neural messaging can be done in the comfort of your home. Having a routine of stretching, massage and foam rolling among other techniques can be a cost effective and beneficial way to make sure your recovery is on track.
Y is for YOGA, PILATES & TAI CHI: These are all effective methods which both strengthen and re-energise the body. The lower impact movement, focus on breathing and development of flexibility gained in a session will benefit recovery. Mindfulness is developed and a controlled focus is encouraged, this process can also be drawn on during a running event if required. Utilising one or a combination of the above will also help with making sure your body gets the messages it needs to slow down, and this is vital in recovery.
Taking recovery seriously in your training is important. It is during the hours between your sessions that your body repairs, replenishes and adapts to the stresses, making sure you are ready for your next run.
UP Coaching holds two non-running sessions every week. Yoga UP! every Monday morning and Run Fit Friday, a strength focused session every Friday morning (Summer months only).
Additionally, UP Coaching co-hosts with Blue Mountains Running Co. a easy social run every Wednesday afternoon. Please see our Facebook page for all details: https://www.facebook.com/UPCoachingAU/
For more information on training and coaching go to www.upcoaching.com.au/training