You trained hard for a couple of days: hitting the gym or the track. You now deserve a rest day. You are looking forward to this day to replenish your energy and be ready to hit the the gym harder or carry on the conditioning work you are doing. Here we are. You come back from work or from uni, the entire evening in front of you. Perfect moment to start that Final Fantasy games you were waiting for. A whole evening on the couch, that will be great. You snack on Doritos and chocolate milk, because you deserve it (and it is full of carbs and protein, right?). You forget the time, the game is great. When you look at the time it is midnight; you won’t have your 8 hours asleep tonight. You do your training the next day, but you don’t really feel recovered at all. In fact, you may even feel worse. What happened? Are rest days not for you? That is why I prefer to talk about recovery day instead of rest day. In the expression “recovery day”, it is clear that your mission is to recover and to get ready for the next phase of your training, a notion you don’t have when you talk about rest days. So, the question is how do you recover? Here are a couple of things to consider.
- Be active. You don’t want to spend the day on your couch. It can be what you feel like, but your body will not be happy. I am not saying you should make a John Lambourne of yourself and go for a half-marathon as a recovery run. I am talking about doing a 15-minute jog, doing a warm-up, having some fun in a park or playground moving around and having your head out of ultimate. Just get your blood flowing. In Melissa Witmer’s words (she is talking about post-tournament recovery but it applies to recovery in general)
You may be tempted to lie on the couch and eat ice cream (okay, I’m tempted to do that every day) but your body is meant to move. Every day. (Full post)
- Stretch and Roll. You may be quite sore after a couple of session. Here is an article about how to reduce muscle soreness for your glutes, but it can be read in a broader way. Personally, I love this stretching routine. For a summer, I was doing it every day. This one is longer, but more relaxing. You can skip the first 5-10 minutes if you don’t feel like rubbing your shoulders to produce some heat. FPTfU Coach Rob Dulabon has just released a series of Yoga routines aimed at Ultimate athletes. I will not go into details about rolling (or self-myofascial release, but there are number of resources available online. Think about working on your quads, hamstring, calves, glutes, lats. You can massage your lower back with a ball or a peanut which you can make by taping two balls together. It is quite effective.
- Eat well. You have you evening off, you can take time to cook some nice food and why not, some snack for the week. Don’t forget to drink water. Sometime, when we are not training, we forget that.
- Sleep well. You heard it thousand of times. You need to sleep to recover. You need to sleep to learn. You need to sleep to be happy. Go to bed. Now!
- Forget all of the above. Sometimes, more than your body, it is your head that needs a rest. Go out, have a pint, forget about training, and about ultimate.
If you want more ideas or details, I found this article quite good (okay, forget about the paleo diet though!)
Have a nice recovery day!