Taking A Day Off

As a coach, I tend to see two types of athletes. Those who under train, and those who over train. Today I am going to talk about those who over train. The over achievers, the ones who love to work out and the ones who feel like if they take a day off, they will lose everything they have worked for.
When is it considered over training? When exactly do you cross that line? This is the tough balance for competitive athletes who want to get the most competitive edge and be the strongest, fastest and fittest possible. Luckily, there is a lot of science and research that provides great detail on how to progress an athlete properly, how to prevent over reaching, and how to stay clear of over training. There are some proven methods of coaching and amazing data that aids a coach in knowing how to manage an athlete to prevent someone from doing too much. The problem comes when athletes are not coached, and therefore do not have a second qualified opinion to guide them, or when an experienced athlete cannot take a day off without feeling guilty.
Anyone who knows me knows that I easily fall into the latter. I tend to feel very guilty when I take a day off from training. Perhaps it becomes an addiction or a form of stress relief. But, simply put, your body needs a day off to recover and repair. Science shows the process of exercise as breaking down muscle and rebuilding it stronger through nutrition and recovery. When you are an endurance athlete training for an event, it becomes even more important to reach your goals and peak properly. A good coach will help you to see the results of what a day off can do on the way to meeting and exceeding your goals. Part of the training program is to teach my athletes how to break through the mental block of thinking you will lose fitness if you take time to rest and recover properly.
How do you prepare for your day off? Plan it in advance. Plan it on a day that is already busy and difficult to squeeze in a workout. Another option is to plan something you have wanted to do and haven’t had time for, so you have a solid reason to take a break. It’s a mind trick, but it works. Last but not least, you can always hang out with those friends of yours (you know the ones) who don’t have a problem taking a day off. I am completely confident that they can probably give you even better tips! Whatever your method, get on board. Over training kills goals. Taking time to properly recover is critical to any endurance athlete’s success. Train hard, train smart and learn to recover.

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