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FlightZONES Marathon Training Sharing #07

 Rest and Adaptation to training

Training effect is basically a product of stress and adaptation. Stress is placed on our body system when we train. The system then undergoes processes to adapt to the stress so that it is ready for future stresses. Consequently, the body becomes stronger.


What is important, however, is the need to take note of when this adaptation occurs. Many athletes believe that we get stronger during the training. The truth is we only get stronger after we train. When we complete a hard workout or race, we are actually weakened, because our body has just undergone immense stresses and needs time to recover and adapt. This adaptation takes place during recovery. This, to me, is one of the commonly misunderstood concepts of training. Recovery is essential to improving performance. Without adequate and well-timed recovery, improvement will not take place.


Most athletes know that getting enough rest after exercise is essential to high-level performance, but many still over train and feel guilty when they take a day off. The body repairs and strengthens itself in the time between workouts, and continuous training can actually weaken the strongest athletes.


Rest days are critical to sports performance for a variety of reasons. Some are physiological and some are psychological. Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen. For recreational athletes, building in rest days can help maintain a better balance between home, work and fitness goals.


In the worst-case scenario, too few rest and recovery days can lead to overtraining, a difficult condition to recover from.


What Happens During Recovery?


Building recovery time into any training program is important because this is the time that the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place. Recovery also allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues. Exercise or any other physical work causes changes in the body such as muscle tissue breakdown and the depletion of energy stores (muscle glycogen) as well as fluid loss.


Recovery time allows these stores to be replenished and allows tissue repair to occur. Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, the body will continue to breakdown from intensive exercise. Symptoms of overtraining often occur from a lack of recovery time. Signs of overtraining include a feeling of general malaise, staleness, depression, decreased sports performance and increased risk of injury, among others.


Adaptation to Exercise


When we undergo the stress of physical exercise, our body adapts and becomes more efficient. It’s just like learning any new skill; at first it’s difficult, but over time it becomes second-nature. Once you adapt to a given stress, you require additional stress to continue to make progress.


There are limits to how much stress the body can tolerate before it breaks down and risks injury. Doing too much work too quickly will result in injury or muscle damage, but doing too little, too slowly will not result in any improvement. This is why we set up specific training programs that increase time and intensity at a planned rate and allow rest days throughout the program.


Balance Exercise with Rest and Recovery.


It is this alternation of adaptation and recovery that takes the athlete to a higher level of fitness. High-level athletes need to realize that the greater the training intensity and effort, the greater the need for planned recovery. Monitoring your workouts with a training log, and paying attention to how your body feels and how motivated you are is extremely helpful in determining your recovery needs and modifying your training program accordingly.


Active Recovery


10 Ways To Recover After Exercise


There are as many methods of recovery. The following are some of the most commonly recommended by the experts.


1. Rest. Time is one of the best ways to recover (or heal) from just about any illness or injury and this also works after a hard workout. Resting and waiting after a hard workout allows the repair and recovery process to happen at a natural pace.

2. Stretch. If you only do one thing after a tough workout, consider gentle stretching. This is a simple and fast way to help your muscles recover.

3. Cool Down. Cooling down simply means slowing down (not stopping completely) after exercise. Continuing to move around at a very low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes after a workout helps remove lactic acid from your muscles and may reduce muscles stiffness.

4. Eat Properly. After depleting your energy stores with exercise, you need to refuel if you expect your body to recover, repair tissues, get stronger and be ready for the next challenge. Ideally, you should try to eat within 60 minutes of the end of your workout and make sure you include some high-quality protein and complex carbohydrate.

5. Replace Fluids. You lose a lot of fluid during exercise and ideally, you should be replacing it during exercise, but filling up after exercise is an easy way to boost your recovery. Adequate fluid replacement is even more important for endurance athletes who lose large amounts of water during hours of sweating.

6. Active Recovery. Easy, gentle movement improves circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body. In theory, this helps the muscles repair and refuel faster.

7. Have a Massage. Massage feels good and improves circulation while allowing you to fully relax. You can also try self-massage and Foam Roller Exercises for Easing Tight Muscles and avoid the heavy sports massage price tag.

8. Compression Wear. They promote blood circulation and increase oxygen flow to working muscles, which in turn help to clear accumulated lactic wastes, speeding up the recovery process.

9. Foam Rollers are used for myofascial release, a technical term for self-massage. They aid to reduce nagging aches and pains, increase flexibility and circulation, speed recovery from injuries, and rejuvenate after travel. These improvements are accomplished through the release of trigger points (painful knots), which indicate muscle fiber and fascial adhesions in soft tissues of the body.

10. Avoid Overtraining. One simple way to recovery faster is by designing a smart workout routine in the first place. Excessive exercise, heavy training at every session or a lack of rest days will limit your fitness gains from exercise and undermine your recovery efforts.



Team FatBird’s FlightZONES,

Elizabeth Quinn, About.com Guide,

ADVISORY: You are responsible for yourself and your property for all Team FatBird run sessions. Team FatBird and its members shall not assume responsibility or liability for any loss of property, injury, damage, accidents, death during the runs.