Recovery is hugely important for athletes. However, it is not just the absence of activity; it can also mean an enhancement of activity, such as stretching or a change of activity such as swimming instead of running.
Just like for a training program, a recovery program should be prescribed and specific to each athlete. Ideally, these should be supervised or planned out, otherwise some athletes may try to slip in extra sessions to ‘gain an edge’, thus limiting their recovery.
Prevention is better than the cure!
HOW OVERTRAINING OCCURS:
• No rest days
• No regeneration week every 2-3 weeks
• Monotonous training programmes
• More than 3hrs’ training a day
• More than 30% training load increase in a week
• No alternation of hard/easy days.
An athlete experiences stress in physical, mental and emotional forms. You need to be able to pinpoint the real source of stress.
For e.g, after a long day at work, it is likely you may be more emotionally/mentally tired opposed to physically tired. If so, a quick mental/emotional break before training is what you need. By determining your current relaxation status you can determine and implement the appropriate recovery strategy.
A period of ‘deactivation’ is necessary to prevent the stressor from one situation (such as work, coach, family) impacting on another situation (e.g competition, family dinner, school exams).
Sleep can aid this.
Should start as soon as the session ends, with a cool-down, refuelling and showering taking priority.
The inability to cope with stressful situations can lead to a greater perception of stress and a consequent reduction in physical health and performance. If these areas are going well, the athlete is better equipped to deal with the physical and mental stress of sporting life.
Strategies include: spending time with friends/families, away from the sporting environment, having downtime for reflection.
Reference: Hamilton, A., et al. (2007). Recovery: the magic ingredient of any training program. Peak Performance. P2P Publishing Ltd. Nutrition and recovery, 23-34.
If you need help, reach out to our caring and friendly Infinite Health Team at our Chatswood or North Sydney Physiotherapy Clinic. You’ll be glad you did!