Training Purposes and the Placement and Stress of Recovery

Lately I have been getting deep into the science of recovery and training with a purpose.  When I read and watch this stuff, it really makes me excited to know that at WOL we stress the heck out of recovery and reading the bodies signs and our athletes are pretty good about following their training cycles, but many athletes do not understand why they are recovering or what their training means.  Is it just “the workout of the day?”  Is it just, “lets go to the track and do 800s”?  Unfortunately if it were that easy, any one could just pick and choose workouts from runners world or a running book and do them, but there is a purpose for workouts, and a big purpose for recovery.

Workouts are cycled into training schedules for a reason.  They guide an athlete to gain confidence, but they also put the right amount of stress on the athlete so that the athlete can adapt to the new training load.  If there is too much load and not enough recovery – BOOM either injury, sickness or burnout will eventually come into play.  This is why it is so important for athletes to recover properly.  There is no doubt that it is difficult for the general population of runners to work in perfect cycles.  There are a million 5ks and marathons and it is a hobby and lifestyle for most runners.  So how do we continue, and reach our potential, all without burnout, sickness or injury?  Can you just do the same thing over and over again and expect to improve?

Here are a few great tips we tell our athletes:

First off, understand your body.  Do you know what type of week your in (e.g. build week, strength phase, or preparation phase?)  Is your focus Intensity or Volume?  If you are doing both volume and increase intensity – that is a recipe for overtraining and needs to be watched.  So if you do not understand these things, you need to learn them.  #2 Understand your adaptation response……how much time do you need in between workout days.  Typically for the beginner athletes, 36 to 48 hours.  For the intermediate to Advanced athletes 24 to 48 hours and between really hard sessions up to 60 to 72 hours.  Workouts are not easy distance days either, workouts are increased efforts of higher intensity.

#3 If you really want to improve, you have to stress the body so the body supercompensates and adapts to the workout.  This is why you cannot just do the same thing, because after about 3-4 times of repeating the same workouts, your body has already adapted and will not gain any more fitness from that point forward.  The hard part about this, is that every time you stress your body, it goes into a fatigued state and that is when you MUST focus on recovery……hence #4……

#4 If you cannot put forth the same effort of recovery that you do into your training – then you need to train less to balance the two.  Ask any WOL athlete, and they will typically tell you that we are slowing them down more at practice to keep them in control.  It is good to push hard, and there is a time and place for that.  But when you push hard, you break down your body hard.  If you are going to ride that line, you MUST understand that recovery must be in the mix and it must be stressed hard.


Functional warm ups and cool downs

Massage – 1-2 per week or foam rolling – typically if you are sore foam rolling, that is a sign of deep fatigue and you need to maybe take that extra day.

Ice baths – one of the best ways to recycle out by-products of hard exercise, decrease inflammation, recover muscles and allow for the next training cycle to go well.

Thanks, Train SMART!


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