When Does Recovery Become More Important Than Training?

  •  It’s not uncommon for coaches to have to reel their athletes in rather than push them to perform, so the question remains, when should you prioritize recovery over training?
  • Two of the best indicators for readiness to train are mood and motivation. 
  • Before embarking on a new season, or a large block of training, be sure your athlete’s mood and motivation are stable and in a ready-state.
  • Creating a positive, goal-orientated environment for the athlete can help their physical and emotional status throughout an injury.
  • Most importantly, allow the athlete’s pain to guide your flexible recovery plan.
  • Quite possibly the most important barometer in knowing whether the athlete is ready to train is their environment. 
  • But it’s essential for us to notice when the bucket is full of other things: work, family, social events etc. Let’s take the holidays for example. 
  •  When the bucket begins to overflow, we must pull back. If not, the athlete will become overwhelmed, exhausted and lose motivation. 
  • I like to call in the ‘non-negotiables.’ These factors must be healthily attended to before an athlete takes on a heavy training program. These include nutrition, sleep, stress and movement. These play a role not only in the individual’s life but also in their readiness to train. 
  • Our diet helps the body repair damaged tissue and balance energy throughout the day. If the athlete does not have a positive relationship with food or a balanced diet, many factors associated with readiness to train will be impaired. 
  • Sleep is the best recovery modality as it releases hormones that help the body adapt to the previous day’s training stimulus.
  • Stress = stress, regardless of whether it is served up in training or from a personal source.
  • Lastly is movement. We have to ensure the individual is ready to train. We can most easily do this by discussing current and previous injuries, taking them through a basic movement assessment and by evaluating their response to training.

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