Runner’s Recovery and Reflection
2012 is drawing to a close and with Singapore’s premier running event now a (not too) distant memory, it’s time for some R&R (recovery and reflection).
Athletes require recovery time from structured training. It involves a focus on sleep, good food and being active away from their primary sport. If you’re a runner, you could pick up cycling, go hiking, try your hand at stand up paddle boarding or see how you get on at your local rock climbing wall. Whatever choice may be, the goal is to maintain a base level of fitness while physically and mentally disengaging and recovering from the work you have done over the past year in training and racing.
During the recovery period, we should also reflect on the year that has passed and begin to put in place a plan for the coming year. Things to consider when looking back over the past year include:
- Training consistency
- Race performances
- Injuries (if any)
- Strength and weaknesses (mentally and physically)
- Training environment
- Social network (our friends, colleagues and family and their influence on our goals)
- Lifestyle (work and family commitments etc.)
- Test results (we use testing to track progress and identify any changes in heart rate training zones as we progress throughout the year)
From this, we identify any changes that we need to make and begin to plan for the coming year. Things we aim to identify when planning the year ahead include:
- Peak races (usually 2 - 3 in a year);
- Supplementary races (used to test fitness, nutrition and race conditions);
- Weaknesses to work on and how to address them;
- Body composition (introduce nutritional changes if this needs work);
- Testing dates (when in the season to visit the lab, what tests to do) and
- Limiters (anything that we know will limit our ability to execute the plan. These include work, travel family engagements etc.)
Once we have all this information, we begin to put in place the structure needed to have a great season ahead. The plan does not have to be detailed but from my experience, it provides a very necessary and fundamental framework for anyone who aspires to improve his/her performance. This holds true not just in sport but across all aspects of our lives - a plan is the bridge to our dreams.
Have a very Merry Christmas and all the best for a happy and healthy 2013!