This is the last week before the SCMM and I thought I will share my thoughts on this important aspect. While much focus is given on training aspect and some on nutritional aspects, very little attention is given to the recovery aspect. So here goes.
1. The ‘form’ that you should have on race day is the combination of two factors. Your Training Load and your Recovery. So Good Training Load + Adequate Recovery = Good form on race day.
2. The body has either a 48 hour recovery cycle or a 72 hour recovery cycle. Each one of us is different. And a week is prescribed for recovery since it will approximate two cycles. After your Sunday last long run, you must rest Monday and Tuesday. Then a shorter mid week run on Wednesday to ‘re-kindle’ the body and the next three days to again get into good strong recovery.
3. Adequate sleep is an important aspect of recovery. It is not just Friday night or Saturday night sleep that is important. During the entire week you must catch more than adequate sleep. Some of us are naturally bi-phasic ( or even tri-phasic ) in our sleep patterns. So if you feel sleepy post lunch , catch that snooze. Remember that the average Kenyan athlete sleeps upto 15 hours a day. Yes 15 hours a day.
4. One very important reason for adequate sleep the entire week is to reduce the inflammation of the body caused due to stress hormones. Intensive training ( as well as everyday life situations ) release them. Bringing their levels down will not happen on a Saturday afternoon of lazing around the house. It will take a week for the mind ( and the body ) to recuperate and recover so as to bring the level of inflammation down. Thus being well rested, you body can deal with the stress hormones that race day will release.
5. Next to sleep the other important stress to control is digestive stress. Carb loading does not mean having a large bowl of pasta on Saturday afternoon. It means having an extra chappati / rice serving at each meal the entire week. Digestive stress is also equally taxing on the human physiology and arises from eating too much food or eating wrong types of processed / packaged foods containing hormone disruptors. Eat natural is my mantra.
6. Besides sleep and digestive stress, there are many other aspects of recovery. Yoga, Stretching, Bucket of Hot water for legs ( I will be doing this every single day and the colder weather helps ), steam, sauna, foam roller, massage ( no, not that types ) are all other ways to reward yourself for the hard training.
Recovery is a very important aspect of earning your PB and is too serious an issue to be kept putting off till the Saturday afternoon preceding race day.