01 Jun Press the reset button
If you are anything like me, you are a little bit addicted to training and the buzz you get from feeling fit and strong. Let’s face it, all endurance athletes are a bit, ahem, obsessive about fitness levels, am I right?
But as I mentioned in my last blog, rest and recovery are imperative for many reasons.
First up, taking a break doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising entirely, and it’s certainly not a free pass to lie on the couch stuffing your face with chips while binge-watching the latest new series on Netflix (side note – check out The Barclay Marathons – those participants are crazy). Stay on track by eating well – snacks like our protein balls or healthy smoothies will satisfy your hunger without you piling on the kilos.
Bear in mind that a few extra kilos isn’t a bad thing, as Chris McCormack famously said
“You need to be fat in July to win in Kona”
Think about reducing your training load and changing up your chosen activities. Try that strength class or yoga you’ve been talking about all summer. Give your body time to recover from your last training block – and I mean more than 24 hours – by fuelling yourself with the right nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
Permit yourself to have a break, and you might find you free up some mental space and can focus on other areas of your life that are most impacted by a gruelling training program.
This may mean more time with family, or with friends that like to stay out later than you normally can manage in a big training block. Getting a project done around the house, or putting in some more work time if that’s your thing too.
Having downtime allows you to make up for all those last minute pre-race freakouts (my ORANGE goggles, where are my LUCKY ORANGE GOOGLES!!) and the endless discussions about splits, watts and swim drills over coffee.
Taking time off allows you to reflect on your season and set yourself some new goals for the next season and avoids the dreaded burnout. Time off can really help with perspective on your strengths and weakness, and it is a great time to have an honest conversation with your coach about this. No one can perform at an exceptionally high level all year round. Professional athletes build downtime into their event/ training calendar, and so should you.
I find taking a break helps me clear out all the clutter that I have accumulated over the year, confusion about my performance, ability, strengths and weaknesses (which I will be talking about in my next blog) and gives me the freedom to dream big about what it is I want to achieve next (watch this space!).
Take a break. Eat well. Exercise for fun. Your body will thank you for it!