Recovery is defined as the process of psychological, physiological and social re- establishment of athletic performance abilities. The scope of recovery has received copious amounts of attention in the last 15 years and has broadened towards a more holistic whole person approach. It very much focuses on the person’s response to stress physically and mentally. Adequate recovery will optimise the effect of your training into positive adaptations and enhance your athletic performance.
The flip side of neglecting your body and mind results in overtraining, illness, injury and poor performance. Recovery does include non-sport specific activities, for example, work stresses, social relationships, financial or health stresses.
There are several reported strategies and approaches pertaining to stress monitoring outside of training specific monitoring (see our blog post on training workloads for more details).
– Muscle soreness pain
– Positive social interactions (friends, family, spouse/partner)
– Sleep quantity and quality
– Degree of enjoyment with training and competitions
– Training monotony
There have been many links between poor sleep amount/quality and illness, underperformance, injury and poor training outcomes. The science of sleep demonstrates the physiological recovery our body undergoes each night. It is the time when our body repairs and adapts from the effect of our training activities.
Total sleep need (quantity) and sleep quality are critical in optimising post-exercise recovery.
A simple sleep hygiene routine can be a useful strategy to maximise the benefits of sleep;
1. Minimise phone/white light 1 hour before bed
2. Setting a bedtime – assist your circadian rhythm and ensure you are getting your optimal sleep needs
3. Cool, well-ventilated bedroom
4. Meditation, journal or fill in your training diary to quieten those worrying thoughts,
let go of the day and debrief on your training performance
5. 5-10 minutes of stretching before bed
6. Reading something that you enjoy