How to recover and sweat at the same time
Recovery can be a tricky thing. Last week, I wrote about a simple way to know if you are ready to train. I posed 3 simple questions that you should ask yourself, instead of using all of those external measurements and gadgets that we see our pro athletes use, to determine your state of readiness.
Did I get 7 hours of sleep?
Am I in a good mood?
Do I desire to train?
Many of you wrote in or talked to me about your answers to those questions and how hard it is to be honest with yourself about your answers. As athletes, we often times are the worst judge of our own state of readiness to train. I remember when I played soccer, I pulled my hamstring in training the day before a game. I could barely walk on game day, but I had convinced myself that I could still play and I told the coach I was ready to play. Of course, once we started warm ups, it was obvious to the coach that I could not even run, so he pulled me off. My point is that it can be tricky to really make the right decision on a daily basis on your readiness to train. I have found that showing up to the gym, heading out for a run, or doing whatever it is you had planned that day for movement can still play a part in providing a stimulus for you. It just might be in a different way than you had originally planned. If it’s hard for you to judge your state of readiness or you are on the fence, I find that a good solution is to take a more skill-based approach to movement that day.
It looks like this:
Show up to the gym, head out on your run, or do whatever it is you had planned for movement for that day.
Shift your mindset from work to skill. Make a decision that you are going to place more focus on skill and movement than on work or intensity.
Take the opportunity to work on something you might not be that good at or something you know you should be working on.
For me, I usually dig into places where I know I’m really tight. I work on mobility. Then I try to pick a skill-based movement that I have to give thought to and concentration. Lately, I have been doing running drills since I’m trying to improve my running mechanics. The goal for me is to get out, keep myself moving, feel like I accomplished something, and get a little sweat in. I always feel better after a session like this than I did before it. Usually, the next day I am ready to go!
Remember, the important thing is to start to pay attention to your training days. They should all be very potent, focused, enjoyable, energetic. If they aren’t, then maybe you should try a skill based recovery day.