High intensity training obviously requires easy recovery days to best prepare for a hard workout. Those minutes and hours following workouts or races demand attention to recover and rejuvenate, but all within a season of focus and dedication. . . But what about after the racing is done, when you have some serious down time? How can you boost recovery when you finish your last race of the season?
Use this new (and potentially brief) respite from training to catch up on sleep! Hit the hay earlier than you have been, and stock up on naps. Your body repairs itself more efficiently and more fully while you sleep, so sleeping is the best thing you can do to heal up after a long season. After weeks and months of repeatedly pushing your body to the point of exhaustion and failure, your body has taken a beating! Let sleep work its magic and heal up the tweaks, aches, pains, and injuries you have incurred over the season. If you have acquired any sleep debt over the past months of training/racing, now is a good time to pay that off. This is the best way for your body to fully recover and refresh itself, so do yourself a favor and go to sleep.
It’s ok to plan for your next season, but don’t fill your head with anticipation and angst about preparing to race again. After the season, you have lots of time on your hands during which you were previously training. Fill this time with thoughts and actions unrelated to training. Watch that TV series you’ve been wanting to start or go out to a movie. Lighten up a little bit on the diet and indulge in some delicious dishes you might avoid when you’re in peak season. Slow down and go on a walk with friends. Bottom line, turn down that commanding voice in your head that keeps you on a tight leash when you’re training and racing. This uncompromising attitude is what helps you excel in your sport, and is a healthy form of discipline during the season. But the intensity can build up over time, and the best way to prepare for the next season is to momentarily remove this burden of obligation and rule-following. Be smart and moderate this break so that you don’t go crazy, but do relax and know that the point of this break is not just physical. You need to mentally and emotionally reset and the best way to do that is to live a normal life for a couple weeks. This will allow you to return to training refreshed and ready to conquer the season and its challenges.
Take time to refresh yourself physically in all the most comfortable ways. Schedule a massage- a feel-good massage, not a painful sports massage. Not all recovery has to hurt! Take an epsom salt bath. Besides the fact that they are extremely relaxing, epsom salt baths are also great for soothing sore joints and softening skin. Give your feet some love and get a pedicure (Yes, you too men!) Don’t be embarrassed if your feet are all torn up and gross; pedicures are for all feet, not just pretty ones! like yours to make them feel better! Another way you can show your feet love is by sliding on those OOFOS! They should be your best friend during this post-season break. They make it easier to walk around and reduce the impact radiating back through your body. Most importantly, they’re darn comfortable. The arch support will help relieve stress on other areas of the body, and the soft, soft OOFOAM will keep your feet moving freely. Keeping your feet moving freely will promote blood flow to the bones, tendons and muscles in your feet that have built up soreness over the course of your season. Your feet have the tough job of supporting and propelling your ENTIRE BODY which is a lot of weight and impact. Healthy feet and fascia can promote healing and comfort through the whole body. The awesome thing about OOFOS is that all you have to do is wear them. Unlike active recovery such as foam rolling and stretching, OOFOS allows you to passively recover without doing any extra work. Who would pass up on that!?