This week we're talking about another important yet often neglected aspect of training, active recovery.
In recent years there has been a shift in training ideology to focus more on recovery. Different tools and techniques have been developed to help athletes recover more quickly in order to get back to performing at a high level. We could talk for days about tools like the normatec boots, e stem machines, compression garments etc. but what about a more cost effective way of boosting recovery?
Active recovery is a low intensity low volume form of movement that is helpful towards improving your bodies ability to heal and recover from a race or workout. Active Recovery workouts can benefit you in a variety of ways. For starters they comfort those of us who struggle with the idea of taking a day off. Keeping your recovery day active allows you to feel as if you have still made progress in your training without having the mental struggle of taking a rest day. I find that taking a relaxing active recovery day also helps me clear my head and enjoy the outdoors without focusing on time splits or power output.
Active recovery also helps get waste products and lymph moved out of the body by gently moving and not stressing your body's systems. Tight sore muscles often loosen up and begin to feel better after a light walk or an easy spin. Taking extra time for this sort of activity allows you to escape the stresses of intense training and enjoy a bike ride or hike with your family.
These workouts can also be more structured to ensure that you hit target areas that may be giving you grief. For example, try mixing in a yoga class if you've been struggling with low back issues while putting in long miles on the bike.
Perhaps your active recovery day could consist of one of these activities.
Morning Hatha Yoga
Easy Hike or walk in the park
Light 60 Min spin staying in zone 1/2
20 minutes of contrast Hot/Cold Tubs or Contrast shower
Paddle Board to your favorite riverside brewery
If you're lucky enough to have access to one, sitting in an infrared sauna is another great way to boost recovery and spend time setting your goals for the coming week of training.
Overall the idea is to get out and move without doing anything too intense. Consider working active recovery days in as we progress into the offseason to keep your body fresh and your mind focused on goals for next season.
Sidenote: If you're interested in trying out different recovery tools like the Marc Pro or NormaTec boots come check out our Recovery Room which comes complete with Netflix.