As an athlete we've all had days when nothing felt right. Our body felt off. Our performance was ehhh to put it mildly. But when when those days begin to happen more frequently?
For me, it came to a head when I was training for a half marathon. I was in Florida on vacation and thrilled to not be running on the snow lined roads of Massachusetts. I had an eight mile run planned and I checked out a route in advance.
It started off okay. I completed my warm ups in advance. But about 2 miles in, my calves just wouldn't release. They had been feeling insanely tight and all the rolling for self-myofascial release that I was doing just wasn't helping. After 4 miles, I decided to walk for a bit. When I started running again, my legs felt worse. I ended up alternating between running and walking the rest of the way with the amount of time walking being greater than that of running. Every step in the run had my calves and body feel like I was torturing myself.
Why was the problem getting worse and not better? After all, I know the body. I know which muscles do what and how to release and strengthen them. But my body was failing me.
The one thing that I did notice was that my breathing seemed forced. Hmmmm
I got home and met with a trainer that I was working with. He did a few muscle tests and discovered that my hamstrings weren't working the way they should. That was partly why my calves were overworking.
I also gave myself some time off. (Something that is hard when you are on a training schedule.)
After a week I hit the road for a short run. I felt amazing! My calves were happy and working, but pain free. My breathing felt controlled and deeper. Each run felt better and better even as I added on the distance.
My best time for the actual race wasn't my fastest, but I had a solid, pain-free, efficient race. Isn't that what is more important?
I am not the only one who has discovered the benefits of recovery and breath work.
Joe DeFranco of DeFranco's Gym regularly trains professional athletes including NFL players and WWE Fighters. He was at the same immersion as me and had his best night's sleep after the first day. He became a convert to down-regulating and I'm sure many of his athletes are also benefiting.
When we become better at recovery, we become better athletes, no matter what your sport. Our workout sessions can have more focus and fine tuning. Our mental state and level of concentration increases. Your sport doesn't matter.
Recovery training is no longer an option, but a necessity.
Kate Hamm combines her 15+ years of experience in the fitness industry and high-end resort program development into sought after wellness adventures at AnamBliss. She is a licensed Yoga Tune Up® instructor and a Roll Model® Method Practitioner. Visit www.anambliss.com for class and workshop schedules, future retreat dates and locations.