I find it troublesome. It's an uneasy tension; breaking things down (or being broken down) with action and then attempting to cobble things together again. We seldom live in the balance between the two.
Yesterday I had had a discussion with my coach about recovery. Sunday I ran long and it went quite well in many ways (including that I didn't get hopelessly lost even though I was in Framingham running during Jordan's swim meet). I felt pleased with myself and wrote a novel about the run in painstaking detail in my Training Peaks log. The one detail I didn't really cover, however, was how I recovered, and so, inevitably perhaps, Kurt asked, So how was the recovery?
My athletes will laugh at this, because I am always asking them how they recovered, or asking them to recover, or instructing them how to recover. But when Kurt asked me I was unprepared to answer. Okay, I guess. I feel okay now. My legs aren't really trashed.
Yes, but HOW had I recovered. Had I taken an ice bath?
Umm. no. I was sitting on a hard bench watching Jordan at a swim meet. No ice bath. Just leftover egg and bagel in my lunch bag and some water. And anyway, I hate ice bathing so much that I have decided taking them is totally stupid.
We then went on to discuss the effectiveness (or not) of the ice bath. (Or, I should say, I went on and on about cold water immersion in the exercise phys. literature and he was sorta silent until the end when he said, Just do what I say, Mary.)
All this talk of recovery got me thinking about --- recovery.
I feel like I always am being asked to recover, or asking myself to recover, or trying to allow myself to recover. Yet my life is completely NOT set up to recover. It is set up to be a crazed lunatic. And why is that?
I think it's because we are taught from an early age that recovery is for losers.
Losers take naps.
Losers get up late.
Losers hang out on the couch eating and watching TV.
Losers snuggle under warm blankets and say "leave me the fuck alone" after a hard workout.
Winners, on the other hand, work their asses off, like ALWAYS. I was not raised by a Tiger Mother, but that doesn't mean I didn't get the message loud and clear. Work your ass off, go to a first rate school, and then keep working, cause if you don't you will be a wastrel who is an incompetent, lazy, loser.
What I find so hard about this sport is this uncomfortable tension. Work hard--work REALLY REALLY hard, but also recover, be good to yourself... listen to your body--don't overdo it-- etc etc blah blah. WHICH IS IT?
It's both, of course. I just find the balance hard to manage. I have trouble being both hard core and also committed to rest--I always seem to err too much on one side or the other. It's a problem.
I really am not a big believer in the ice bath. How can something that makes me so tense and uncomfortable be good for me after such a hard effort? I prefer heat and stretching to cold after a hard workout (that sentiment didn't go over so well in the PBM school of thought, I will add.) I try to eat after I have a hard workout, and I try to eat DURING my long workouts. But in general the minute I finish working out I have something I need to attend to: a child, dinner, work, a pressing internet life, etc. No time for naps and warm blankets and a life of leisure.