Guidance on Your Recovery Period Between Training Cycles

Many of our training courses will continue for 2 or more months. Depending on your starting fitness level and the intensity of the work you are doing regularly, you may be able to work like that for 3 to 6 weeks before you may feel fatigue accumulating. It is quite possible that for other reasons you will need to set aside some days for recovery sooner than your training plan has scheduled for you, and that is OK. 

With consideration to many factors in your life and in the demands you have upon your body, it is recommend that you insert a rest period after every 4 to 6 weeks of deliberate, organized training. Some systems of your body and mind may feel just fine, but others may be more fatigued that you realize and some rest would help them recover.

A recovery period does not mean ‘Do Nothing’. Rather, it means you should:

  • Stay moving, but…
  • Lower the total volume of training (lower the number of meters)
  • Lower the average intensity of your physical activity – take it easier on the joints, tissues and metabolic system
  • Use the body and mind in different but complementary ways to your main sport – let the body solve different kinds of puzzles
  • Make the activities of this week as enjoyable as possible.
  • Continue to eat the best nutritious foods and drink lots of water
  • Continue to get abundant, quality sleep (this is a MAJOR influence on recovery)

The degree to which you follow these recommendations depends on how much rest you may need. It is quite personal consideration.

One way to measure how effective your rest week has been is to notice how eager you feel all over to return to your deliberate practice of swimming or running. If you’ve rested well, you should feel eager and you should feel strong. If you don’t feel eager, then consider how you might need more rest or how you might need to alter your manner of training to make it more inviting.

Rest and Recovery Is Vital

It is not just exercise that is needed to improve strength and performance. You need rest and recovery too. This is vital to your performance and longevity in this activity.

Rest is what you do. Recovery is what results from your good rest. When your rest is sufficient, your body and mind have recovered and they are ready to work again, onto a new level of challenge.  


Why Recover?

It takes ‘training stress + recovery’ to produce improved performance. It is obvious that workout time needs to be high quality – but that is where you are breaking down the body. What is not so appreciated is that recovery time needs to be even higher quality because that is where the body is repairing and actually making itself stronger.

Your recovery after workouts is just as important as the workout itself. The better your recovery, the more you can work without injury. The more you can work without injury the better you can perform.

Getting a full, interrupted night of sleep is the #1 contributor to your recovery.

Eating clean, whole, mostly-plant-based nutrition is your #2 contributor to recovery and performance.

Make a habit of drinking plain, clean water regularly throughout your day, not just during workout time. If you feel the need to drink during a 1 hour workout, then it is likely that you have not hydrated enough in the hours before practice.


Rest Day

The rest days during your normal training week may not involve running, but being sedentary on those days is not necessarily good for your recovery. Your body needs to be moving to continue to circulate nutrients and flush waste products that have built up from training. Walking, swimming, yoga, light bicycling, gardening, light manual labor around the house are all ways to keep your body moving and stimulate refreshment.

You may do other general strength and conditioning work for the body as well, as long as it does not add much stress to the run-specific muscles that need to repair and clean out.


Rest Week

This training plan assigns only 3 or 4 days of run training per week, and this may not create much build up of fatigue over the 3 months of this program for some people. Also, it is likely that you will experience interruptions in your training which will force extra ‘rest’ days.

However, after 4 or 5 weeks of consecutive training there is the possibility you may notice you don’t feel quite as energetic on your runs, or your eagerness to go is waning. Accumulated fatigue may show symptoms in your body sensations or emotions. When you sense you are feeling some deeper training-related fatigue, you may consider taking 3 to 5 days away from your normal workouts. Do much lighter running or different physical activities to keep your system moving and cleaning out. When you sense more energy and eagerness to resume running, you know recovery has taken place.