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Proper recovery: Importance of rest and easy days

Active recovery days and rest days are an essential part of any training regime, yet many athletes overlook them and fail to give themselves enough time in between hard training sessions to recover properly. Easy runs, rides and swims are crucial to improving  as a triathlete. Here are a few reasons why even the pro’s include rest days or easy training days in their routine.ThinkstockPhotos-476144559

Prevents overuse injuries: It’s good to push yourself, but it’s also important to make sure your muscles have enough time to recover. It’s better to take one day off a week then having to take three to four weeks off because of an overuse injury.

Restores glycogen stores: Your muscles use glycogen as fuel to work through a workout, so you need to allow enough time to restore your glycogen levels.

Increased sport-specific economy: Running, cycling or swimming economy is the amount of oxygen that is needed to run, ride or swim at a given pace. With a higher economy  you need less oxygen to sustain a given pace you can hold that pace for longer.

ThinkstockPhotos-487298089Increased capillary capacity and blood volume: With an increased capillary capacity, oxygen can be exchanged in your cells more efficiently, which means the more your capillaries are developed, the more your muscles can get the oxygen they need to keep running, riding or swimming faster.

Builds base mileage:  Easy dasy can help build  base mileage and the higher base mileage you have, the easier it will be to sustain a good pace over longer distances.

Improved muscle tendon strength: Easy workouts allow you to gradually strengthen your tendons so that your tendons will be able to sustain greater forces.

Active recovery: Easy workouts help you loosen up and  increases blood flow to tired muscles, helping to promote circulation and removal of waste products in your body. ThinkstockPhotos-160939441

The most important thing for proper recovery is to get enough sleep. Adequate sleep levels help promote positive mental health, balances hormones and proper muscle recovery. Without enough sleep, your body will not be able to perform to its highest potential.