People like to think it is the hard training that gets them fitter however it’s during your rest time that you develop the most. Recovery is essential for your body to absorb the training and to allow your body to make an adaptation to the load that you have placed on it. It’s also vital for your mental wellbeing, it’s a tough task training for an event (like Tough Mudder) and you need some down time to switch off and ensure you don’t get sick of training.
Listen to your body! It’s the old cliché but there really is no better person to judge how well you are recovering than yourself. Be honest and consider how well you are performing in your workouts, how well you are sleeping, whether or not you are picking up colds and how relaxed you feel about the event.
Of course, in fact active recovery is an essential part of your workout. These sessions need to be very light and preferably non weight bearing, such as cycling and swimming. This will vary greatly depending on your fitness levels, how quickly you recover and how much training you are currently doing. A good guide is actually your appetite – if you’re tired and hungry after your active recovery you have probably gone too hard.
A tapering period is designed to allow your body to recover and regenerate itself in preparation for an event. These periods need to be erring on the side of too little rather than too much, and be full of healthy meals and quality sleep. Don’t get too hung up on carb loading and the like – this will naturally happen anyway with your lower activity levels. By all means workout, but reduce the volume and be realistic about how you feel after them. Throwing in a sports massage and a trip to the steam room is heavily advised!
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