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Coach Steve being aero!

RECOVERY: You've just had an uninterrupted stretch of great training followed by an excellent race effort; your energy level is high and you feel indestructible; you want to keep the good vibe going by hitting it hard in training.

Don't do it. Now is the time to take it down a notch. I've seen this scenario many times with athletes I coach, and I've done it myself. The most likely time for a breakdown to hit is when you're on a fitness high, feeling impervious to injury.

Alternatively, you might be the type who goes out and beats yourself up after a disappointing race. Your reaction when a race performance is less than perfection is to go out the next day and train even harder after than you did before. The race is over so how hard you train doesn't matter, right? Again, this has been me; don't do it. Count to ten, relax, and take time re-think your training going forward.

Your body can only take so much stress from training and racing over a certain stretch of time before something breaks. How much depends upon your own unique physiology, psychology, and age. An athlete's physiology and psychology are closely connected. Sometimes physiology leads, sometimes psychology, but if either part breaks down the other will soon follow. With age recovery time increases; all athletes over 40 agree on this.

A good post running race recovery rule is to take an easy day for each mile you raced. An easy day can be just that, still running, but at low intensity, or it could mean some intensity, but no races. A good coach can get a feel for your endurance sport 'mojo' and make an informed judgment about how much recovery you need.

Active recovery is best for both the body and head. When you've been training consistently over a period of time, then stop, your body goes into a funk. Many athletes do exactly this after a big race effort, feeling lethargic, and in some cases depressed. Light training keeps you in a groove, recovering, yet still moving. Easy training after a successful race can be the best part of your season if you have the patience to break through the initial tendency to either keep pushing, or stop completely.

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