The Mental Aspects Of Recovery

Just read a great article on the Competitor website.  It was titled: Mental Aspects Of Recovery and was written by Melanie McQuaid .  Anyone who knows who Ms. McQuaid is knows that she very well might know her stuff.

This is a great article.  It hits on all the key points that are critical to resting, recovery, and periodization during any serious training program.

What caught my eye, however, was point #2: "Do I feel like doing this?"  This could also be phrased: "How do I feel?"  I mean, I can't count the number of times that, upon waking up at 400a, I'll feel just fine physically.   But I sure have a hard time convincing myself that I want to ride for 2 1/2 hours before work.  Mentally, we need to be strong to overcome the desire to sleep in.  More importantly, we need to be able to distinguish between 'wanting' to sleep in vs 'needing' to sleep in.

As a coach, it's critical to always be checking in on how our athletes feel - both mentally and physically.  Feeling tired physically; being agitated or irritable, or being overly negative about a performance or recent training session, are all potential signs that an athlete could be fatigued and in need of additional rest.

During the USAT Coaching Clinic, I found that one of the questions that all of the presenters / coaches ask their elite athletes throughout a training cycle is "How do you feel?"  Not only are they looking for input regarding their physical well-being, but they're assessing the mental state and attitude of their athlete as well.

I don't think we focus on rest and recovery enough in training.  A common trap that athletes can fall into is basing workouts on "how many miles / hours did I train?"  We should be focusing on quality workouts, with good intensity and periodization.  This will allow our bodies to rest, and recover adequately while at the same time allowing our bodies to efficiently acclimate to all the hard work that we've done.  You have to incorporate adequate rest into your training plan in order for all the hard work to pay off.

Check out the article here.  It's good food for thought.