Recovery is something that is very important for anybody that does sport, whether you are a professional or not. This is something that gets neglected and from my experience runners tend to be the worse. I see many runners pound their bodies week in week out all year without any rest; some run marathon after marathons, some run a very fast marathon and then a few days later they are running hard again. Well all these people in my experience and my coaching experience struggle with injuries, going backwards with form, slowing down etc. In an ideal world running all the time sounds perfect but if you are being realistic there is no way you can maintain form all year round, your body will breakdown. If you look at top athletes and one particular Olympic Gold medallist Gwen Jorgensen, she takes a month off in the off season; most people won’t even take a day off.
For me rest and recovery is important and I have managed to keep my body in good shape and injuries to a minimal the past few years. Rest is rest and means not doing other activities in place. Many people have an injury and decide to cross train when they have been told to rest and in fact they make their injury worse. I know some injuries you can cross train and help maintain fitness however expert advice is needed for this.
After a hectic summer season and probably too many races I thought it was best to rest up after the World Championships. Unfortunately I picked up an Achilles injury which in the past I would of panicked. However my mind set has changed and at least I can still run.
In previous years I would train all year round because being from a running background, there are many running races all through the year and I wanted to PB every race I done. I now know with my experience that it is not the best idea and I shouldn’t go pounding away every single week; recovery and rest are important. So I had two weeks off after the race; I then done easy training for about 3 weeks after, keeping my runs to a max of an hour and cutting down on the runs for two weeks and three easy swims a week. This was also to factor in Achilles problem as well.
So for the first time in four years my target and important races are now in the summer so I have to keep my self-ticking over. I have set my targets as you may have read in my previous blog, to keep my fitness up. I am slowly increasing the miles now and really working on my running economy and endurance. I have the Cross Country season now to keep me busy and hopefully improve on my placing from last year. My big race is Brighton 10k which I will try to get close to my PB but may not be possible at the moment; I am in no rush to get fully fit yet.
With recovery being important at the moment I think it’s important to get a massage to help my injury recover. Dealing with an Achilles injury can be a nightmare and even stop you doing your hobby forever. I had an Achilles injury a few years back and rested for 3 months before I could run again, this time it was very painful but did not hurt much while running so very different. My advice for anyone who has an Achilles injury is to be patient and don’t rush back because it’s a slow healer and could cause further problems. Perhaps next year I will take a whole month off.