Preparing for a fitness assessment by scaling back how much work we are doing in the days or weeks leading up to it is not a new thing. Think about training for a marathon, sports growing up, or, if you’re still hanging on to childhood to fly around the country and chase a frisbee like I am, a big tournament. There’s a word for this, taper. Athletes perform the best when they front load the physical work, and are able to prepare mentally and recover during the days leading up to an event.
So how does that idea translate to our Spring Training? We are overreaching. A lot of us are probably getting pretty used to waking up sore and coming in to get the work in anyway. The mental resilience necessary to grind day after day will pay off everywhere in your life, not just in the gym. But waking up sore, walking funny to the gym because your hamstrings and calves are tight, and expecting to PR that day just doesn’t add up. We are overreaching right now and we are right in the thick of it. Once we get through our two weeks of pushing, it’s important to take a step back. Not only will taking that step back make you feel better, but it will empower you to perform better, too.
We are going to have to hang on to healthy habits to feel good about our finish. That can look like a lot of different things. From taking a recovery day in the studio, to coming in just to move during open gym, or taking a day completely away from Fly Feet. Those are three different places so try to refine your compass on where you are that day. If I’m looking at taking a recovery day in the studio then that means I’m taking the tread at my own pace. For me, I won’t go above a fast jog. When I’m on the floor, it means that I’m really paying attention to how my body responds to the first round of work and taking my next steps from there. When I’m already sore and the first round hits you like a truck, that’s a good sign that it might not be the best idea to push it that day.
Whether you planned it to be a high intensity day or not, your body decides where it wants to be that day, not your calendar. If I do have a day where I need to scale it back I will use about half the load and focus on stability and technique. You can do the same thing in open gym without the rigidity of our workout. Hop on the tread to walk for a while and build your way into jogging then come down to the floor and get into whatever hurts with a lacrosse ball or roller, hamstring smash on a KB, and set yourself up for an improved range of motion for tomorrow.
If I’m going to take the day off, I make sure that the energy that I would have put into the gym goes into the rest of my day. Instead of running and knocking out reps, I’ll go and throw a frisbee with friends. It’s strenuous enough to get me moving and out of breath without leaving the carrot of trying to crush it in the studio dangling in front of my face. I might not be training that day, but if I’m sore and actively trying to replenish, I eat mindfully towards that goal. What that looks like for me is probably different from a lot of other people, but setting yourself up for success is a key piece of sticking to any sort of challenge be it fitness related or not. Staying hydrated is a big piece of success during these challenges and an off day is a great chance to catch back up if you are behind. It comes with a lot of trips to the bathroom, but you digest food better, you have better clarity mentally, and you generally have more energy when you’re hydrated.
Recovery looks a little different for everyone, but that’s fine because it really should. Everyone has their own struggles and strengths, and each of our bodies react differently towards different stimuli. Don’t take it personally if your body is more sore than you want it to be. It’s responding to what you did, so make sure that you pay attention to what it needs. Listening to your body, especially when we are asking a lot of it, is such an important piece of being successful. Recover well, my friends.
All hail the TreadMighty,