I spent last week on holiday mountain biking in France and it got me thinking about the role rest and recuperation has to play in a professional athlete’s life. I know that it was nice for me to get away for a little while and think a little less about S&C instead focusing on staying upright on my bike on some of the downhill trails! As a result I feel refreshed and extra enthused going into the late ski pre-season.
This is something I think that can have a very positive impact on athletes too. Most spend all their time thinking about and training for their sport. To be able to sever the link for a short while and recover mentally and physically is an important skill for an athlete in their day to day life and can mean they return to training with greater zeal and determination. Also, managing social and organisational aspects of their lives requires this ability and for me is a necessity, especially when you look at LTAD and the eventual end of a career in sport.
How often and long the rest and and recuperation periods should be will be different for each athlete and this is where the trust and awareness of self you develop with your athletes comes to the fore. You could even combine some R&R with a little training stimulus; one of the downhill skiers I work with was waterskiing recently on holiday, a great proprioceptive bout and I can also recommend downhill mountain biking with a hardtail mountain bike for increasing grip strength!