THE LONG TERM DEVELOPMENT OF AN ATHLETE

By Su

For those of you training for the Laguna triathlon in November, the next 8-10 weeks are going to be a crucial time for your performance. This is the time in your training plans where you will start to push your body to new limits that you may not have done before. Being a triathlon there are a number of things that you need to work on, mainly the 3 events within the triathlon, swimming, cycling, running. However one of the most important and often forgotten aspects of training is recovery and regeneration sessions which are vital in order to achieve maximum performance.

“The long term development of an athlete is in large part a function of the athlete’s ability to recovery and adapt to the training stimulus.”
Today’s athlete typically trains year round, they might take a small break here or there but for the most part are doing some form of training most of the year. This can cause certain muscles and joints to be overloaded and overworked which increases the occurrence of injuries, both acute and chronic.
Recovery can be broken down into two main categories, Passive recovery and Active recovery. Passive recovery is just that, it is passive. This type of recovery happens when an athlete finishes a training sessions and does nothing. It is not as effective as active recovery but still has some benefits to it. Sleep for instance is a form of passive recovery.
Active recovery on the other hand is much more beneficial for helping an athlete recovery and be ready to go for their next training session. There are a number of types of active recovery but most are categorized within the following: massage (foam rolling, massage therapy), hydrotherapy, static or PNF stretching, and nutrition.
So the next time you have a hard training session, make sure you leave time for the recovery part of it too, it only takes about 15-20 minutes but can make a huge difference in the long run, after all we all start training for sport or for fitness because we want to change something, that change is only going to happen when the body is able to recover!

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