As the winter draws closer there is a temptation to start training more and more pushing harder and harder in an effort to reach that elusive goal. As we are in a recovery week for our fitness for ski instructor training programme we thought now was the perfect time to explore this often talked about but rarely understood condition.
Is overtraining real?
YES. Cue the barrage of angry responses from fitness fans across the globe. So let me explain that answer. Genuine overtraining refers to extended patterns of excessive work and substandard recovery but very few people actually put themselves in the condition of overtraining. Those that do are often elite athletes who train 19-25 hours a week every week of the year, with no time off, at 100% all the time. These do not include hours posting photos to instagram or fiddling with your mates bicep these are quality training hours. Ask yourself do you train that much, at that intensity?
So the real question for most of us is have we ever or will we ever experience over training. The answer to this is probably no. That does not mean though that we can not be under recovered.
Are you passionate about recovery?
As coaches we meet hundreds of people who are really passionate about their training. They will tell us how hard they pushed, for how long and how amazing the rest of the day was. We meet a lot of people who are excited about training, but not so many who are excited about recovery. We get it training is fun and far less people get excited about a picture of you getting an early night than smashing your PR. There is however only so much time you can dedicate to training so what happens away from the gym can make the biggest difference and help you smash those plateaus.
Our key areas of concern for recovery
As part of all our ski instructor training programmes we run recovery sessions to ensure our trainees are ready for what the next day holds. We believe that the following areas should be your starting point when assessing your recovery.
Think of your body like your transceiver, you would not go skiing with it only 20% charged. If you do it will probably run out of battery as soon as you switch to search mode. Which makes it a pretty useless tool. We are no different to a transceiver with out 8 – 9 hours sleep a night giving us a full charge how can we expect to perform at our best when needed.
Pfft what stress your ski instructors. Something you have probably heard from every person who has never experienced the terror of looking down a bumps line to see a line of blue people trying not to look judgemental and then of course there is the general stress of training, balancing your finances and looking for work.
Managing stress is essential to maintaining a good level of recovery. Stress kills us. It is almost impossible to train hard and recover while under a high amount of stress. Nothing seems to work right.
There are hundreds of way of controlling and managing stress and we do not have the answer for everyone but try and find one that works for you. It could be as simple as disconnecting from the world switching of your mobile and going for a run.
Recovery Practises & workouts
This article is long enough and you are probably already dosing off so we are not going to go into these in detail. These are just starting points for you to explore and build your own library of knowledge on each.
- Foam Rolling
- Ice baths
- Recovery walks
- Massage Therapy
- Salt baths
- Contrast baths
Not every work out needs to kill you and just because you are not lying on the floor in a sweaty mess does not mean you have not done some valuable work. If you are feeling tired, sluggish or injured back it off and do a recovery workout. These workouts can focus on core stability, hip or shoulder mobility, creating an aerobic base or can be solely used to practise a skill or drill.
If your body is the engine or power unit what you eat is the fuel. High performance engines use a very different petrol to the ones that you or I use to fill up our cars and our bodies are the same.
As athletes what and when we eat will have a direct impact on how we perform and recover. Over the next few weeks we will be posting a series of blogs on nutrition looking at how, why and when we should consume certain nutrients.
Improving your recovery will probably improve performance
Training is easy, it is fun but what you do during the 22 hours of every day that you are not training is just if not more important. It may not be glamorous or likely to get you thousands of instagram followers but by paying serious attention to recovery you will be able to stay injury free, work harder in the gym, and make a lot more progress. People often plateau because they are tired but they are not over trained just under recovered.