No matter your sport the most often neglected part of training is recovery. But how does one recover exactly? What counts? Is it just sitting on your butt crushing candy all day. Well that works but not everybody can swing that kind of down time. You might still have to work and that might be physical, clean the house and take care of the kids. We all know that recovery is important but also that all those tasks do tend to pile up when you’re training for something. So if you still have to live your regular life and get adult things done how can you recover on your rest days? Many of us can’t get out of all of our family responsibilities, take a day off a week from a physical job or have a whole lot of time to devote to recovery. If that’s you, you’re not alone the majority of ‘regular athletes’ have to juggle a lot to get a few hours to devote to getting some rest. Well here are some ideas a few of which will even set you up well for the next week of training!
Lazy meal prepping
When you’re training you’re tiered and you have way less time to do all the other life stuff you have to do. Personally I find I’m way more likely to order out in training. AKA honey cooks while I’m running with his cell phone. 10 out of 10 not complaining though! One great option for your rest day is to do some meal prepping (or at least planning) for the upcoming week. You’ll probably eat better that week and maybe even save yourself some money too. Take some time on your rest day do do some prep work for the upcoming week. Make a list go to the grocery store and spend a few hours in the kitchen. This is actually pretty restful and doesn’t have you doing a whole lot more than standing up for a couple of hours at the most. But here’s where you get into the lazy bit. Since it’s your rest day take every single opportunity to cut corners. Sit while you peel, lay down while you wait for the oven to preheat and let a more rustic cut slide today. If at the end you can’t find matching lids and covers just use tin foil… you’re eating it in a few days anyway. Personally I don’t want to eat the same thing day after day unless it’s pizza so if that’s you, just cook a big portion for today and maybe tomorrow and freeze the rest. That way later in training you have some easy go to healthy dinners ready to go.
A nap, sleeping in or an early tuck in
The pros swear by their sleep schedules in recovery almost across the board. They make sure to get 9 hours a night and take a nap every day. That sounds great and also like a fairy tale with an unrealistic happy ending. We all have something to deal with like sleep issues, being busy and god help you get some sleep if you have a couple of kids. On a recovery day put all the ducks in a row you can to get a little extra sleep. Maybe that means prepping overnight oats and picking out your outfit the day before and getting to lie in a bit in the morning, maybe it means having a longer lunch break and a nap or just heading to bed a couple of hours early. No matter the lengths you have to go to it’s only one day a week for a short time. One night shouldn’t do much to disrupt an established sleep schedule and we all know how great a few extra hours can make you feel. There is a reason the pros overwhelmingly get the sleep they need for recovery. Steal that as much as you possibly can!
Tackling the errand list
That’s a weird one right? Sometimes when you’re constantly going you just want some quiet time to yourself. If you’re also part of a busy family it can be really hard if not impossible to just chill on the couch for half a day or an evening while reminding people you are currently recovering. That might no fly in a lot of houses but if you’re out running all the errands for the week for everyone… you might just get away with it. You’ll need to make a list and make a plan so take stalk of the groceries, makeup, household goods, dry-cleaning and well everything you’ll need to get in the next week or so and do it in one shot. Make sure to ask your partner what they need too, after all you’re not an animal and then just do it! This is pretty great because you’re mostly sitting in the car, you’re all alone and for the rest of the week you’ll also be less stressed and able to chill more then. It might even make for a happier home in the next few days too. In reality you’ll mostly be sitting, a bit of walking and cart pushing and standing in the odd line or two. If you choose to have a great attitude as you do a weeks worth of errands in a few hours you might even enjoy it!
A long epsom salt soak
This is definitely one of my go too options. The science is out on whether or not epsom salts actually have magical healing properties but let me tell you I swear by it. Run a bubble bath as hot as you can stand and put the actual amount of Epsom salts in that the package calls for. In this case more is more. Also draw out this bath for as long as possible so load some YouTube videos, add hot water do a face mask and make sure to exfoliate everything. A hot bath is amazing for healing you muscles and your mind and the longer you soak in it the better. If you can arrange someone to bring you lemonade and fan you while you’re there all the better. This works by rejuvenating your body and slowing you down fo about an hour at the same time. I know most people prefer showers and maybe find a soak in the tub a bit gross but trust me you’ll be better rested after. Bonus: most people find a hot bath helps them sleep better too!
Movie night nest
If you don’t live alone it can be a pretty aggressive move to stick to your guns and laze around while someone else does all the day’s work. Why not bring your partner in on the recovery action? Work as a super efficient team to get supper on the table, clean up and put the kids to bed early so you can have some great chill time together and go the extra step to make it special. Pop some popcorn, drag all the comfy blankets in front of the tv and really tune into a special movie you actually picked out before hand. Snuggle, cuddle and really watch the movie like you used to when you were first dating. If you both love your recovery time it will always be a priority for you and it might even improve your relationship.
Recovery can be the most important part of any training plan but how do you do it and real life every week when you’re training? Sure it would be nice to copy what the pros do but regular humans don’t make money from their sport. We have to settle for a few hours and protect them where we can find them. How do you prioritize recovery in your life? What’s you favorite recovery hack? Leave it in the comments below!