by Kevin Farr, BSc, 14 time Canadian Masters Track Champion
A goal race takes a lot of training and planning. You focus on that one race and work hard. Whether your plan was a PR or to simply finish you stuck to the plan. Race day comes, you cross the finish line...suddenly it’s over. What’s next?
In a word……RECOVER.
One aspect of training that’s commonly excluded from a race plan is the post race recovery. Whether you realize it or not, your body and your mind need time to bounce back. Recovery is just as important as training and can be a great tool for easy improvement. The rest and recovery phase doesn’t mean that you must give up exercise. Its simply a period of reduced training. The biggest road block is fear of losing the fitness gained over months of training.
Most athletes will under recover as opposed to over train. Thankfully, it takes a little while to lose your hard-earned endurance. For most athletes, it takes about 10 -14days for your aerobic fitness to start to decline. And what you lose initially is mostly what was gained in the last few months (peak phase) of training.
The key for a recovery plan is to base how your mind and body feel as opposed to a calendar of time and days. For example if you’ve run a race under ideal conditions your recovery may feel easier and more effortless than if you had run a demanding course under adverse conditions. A reduction by a runner of 25% to 50% of his or her typical mileage and a break from higher intensity track work during the rest period will maintain virtually all of the hard earned fitness gains from the previous training season and provide a springboard for the start of the next phase
Once the mind and body feel fresh, ease back into training. Slowly increase the km`s and then add some easy workouts. From here you are set to begin a new training phase to the next goal.