Two weeks of quality training are behind me. It doesn't seem like a lot but I still have 6 more months to go before Ironman Lake Placid and without emphasis on recovery, there is no way I can progress with intentional exercise-induced stress and fatigue.
My body is going strong but to be proactive, I will rest my body and mind before I really need it. A solid 9 hours of sleep last night and I know a day off from training was needed since I am not a napper and nighttime is the only time I can rejuvenate and repair. I am a fan of active recovery (ex. swim, non-weight bearing activity) as a replacement for a day off but never when it comes with waking up with an alarm. Seeing that the drive to and from the gym may take more time than the actual swim, alongside feeling rushed, meal prep, etc. I didn't even need to think twice about not doing an active recovery/drill-focused swim this morning since I asked myself last night "What will I gain from this swim?" NOTHING. I'd rather walk Campy and stretch.
Sometimes active recovery does a body good but I do not associate active recovery with body-image control, feeling guilty about eating on off days or feeling "off" without a workout. All I have to think about is my upcoming week of training on Training Peaks and the day off is exactly what I need to help me out with the next 6 days of training.
A while back I wrote an article on nutrition on off/recovery days and I feel it is an appropriate time to share the article again. Seeing that we are almost into February, if you are sticking with an exercise resolution or if you just started your triathlon training/running/cycling plan to gear up for the upcoming season, it is likely that you still going strong and perhaps, haven't considered the beauty in rest and recovery.
The key with off days is to not lose focus of recovery. The idea of a planned rest day (whether Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday - depending on when you need the recovery to ensure a quality, consistent week of training) is to keep up with all the things that you need to do to ensure a great next x-days of training. Sleep, stress management, stretching and diet are key as you can not assume you will recover from the past 6 days or so of training just by not doing cardio or strength training and eating whatever you want and sitting around with tight muscles. Take that control that you have with the diet and exercise/training (which is likely the reason why you struggle with taking planned "off" days) and use that for your recovery day so that you will increase the chance of having consistent training all month long.
Thanks for reading!
Nutrition on rest days from exercise/training