Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why athletes fight recovery

We all know that recovery is essential when competing/training in endurance sports, but most of us, even myself often feel/have felt guilty about taking a day off to rest and recover. The body stregthens and repairs itself in the time between workouts, and continuous training without recovery can actually weaken even the strongest athletes. So why do we fight recovery??

We as a culture are so afraid of failure. We are about control and doing, not surrender and just being. When we fail at a race or not do as well as we wanted, we try and work harder to "fix" it, instead of giving the body time to recover.

We need to recover to prevent fatigue and rebuild. If you are looking at your log and see that your speed is starting to take a hit or you are constantly writing you are fatigued, you are starting to lose your ability to perform at your maximum potential.

4 causes of fatigue are: lack of energy, pain, mental fatigue and dehydration. Any of these can cause you to feel fatigued. Pain from prolonged periods of exercise can make you mentally fatigued, as does acidosis.
Muscle injuries result in muscle fatigue. Dehydration also prevents oxygen from reaching the brain causing mental fatigue. Energy fatigue limits performance when an athlete cannot generate energy to sustain their workout.

Do you see the pattern? If you are mentally fatigued, you are physically fatigued and your workouts will suffer. I see no point in hitting x number of miles, or yards in the pool if I cant even get myself out of bed in the morning or I am thinking everyday I don't want to workout. Take the day off, or two if you need to. Refocus, eat well, hydrate and come back a few days rested. You will prevent alot of injuries this way and you will hit those miles, time, whatever it may be.

My coaches plan was not set in stone. It was a guideline for me to follow. If I saw that I was fatigued or not hitting the numbers I wanted, I took some time off to refocus. In the whole year I was with Coach Mary, I NEVER had a injury. I think this is saying alot about me being in tune with my body, nutrition, hydration. Also, my coach was very open to me taking a day off if I told her I needed one, or I was too sore. We changed the plan. I wanted it to stay fun and for the reasons I wanted it to. If my plan was different, I knew I needed a mental break. It happens. You recover and come back stronger.

This is only my opinion. Feel free to share any comments you have! I am open to all!


  1. You know, we just get so accustomed to go-go-going that a rest day seems like such a wasted day. But the benefits are so great. I am working on reading my body more. If I'm in a crappy mood, I really need to figure out if it's because I'm stressed, or is it because my body is trying to tell me something. When my miles get sluggish and I'm doing everything I can to move forward, it's usually a sign that a day off will do the body good. Not always easy, but the next workout shows the power of rest!

    Good for you for being so in turn with your body!

  2. that is my biggest problem, taking rest days. some days i embrace them, other days i shun them
    now that i have a coach i plan on listening to her and my body :D
    great post and a good reminder
    glad to hear you were injury free, Mary is amazing

  3. Very well written girl, very well written.

    Trust me, I am not amazing. What is amazing is when you get to take a journey with an athlete..... and watch them discover what's already within themselves. That's exactly what I got to watch Kristin do!!!!

  4. Well written for sure.

    I think I like recovery a little too much....proof that I am not really an athlete, just someone who worksout so she can eat a lot.

  5. My recoveries became much better after I've started taking Navy Seal Formula. Read about it on I did not really want to take any supplements but this one is natural and quickly brings me up. I like the effect and I like how my workouts have improved due to this product.