Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs

Embrace the lows, they’re the launchpad to your highs.

The 5th Training Principle of Different Breed focuses on recovery and understanding that the highs and the successes are only possible due to the dips and the down time.
This can be one of the hardest things for some athletes to put into practice

Everyone I work with is more than happy to do all the training sessions but often I get a lot of push back or reluctance regarding rest days, active recovery days, deload weeks and taper phases.

One of the main reasons given is guilt. Guilt for taking time off when they could be doing something, which feels lazy. I totally understand this notion but it is not a healthy attitude or a smart logic.

These aspects of training are just as important as the work. Without them the effort you are putting into to your training could end up wasted.

So, let’s break it down a little, one by one…

Rest days during a training block are crucial to allow your body to adapt to the stress of hard training. On rest days, avoid strenuous activity and let your body and mind recharge. Minimum one rest day a week which involves nothing more than walking and mobility work is the standard rule.
Proper rest days enable you to come back stronger for your next hard workout. Without adequate rest, you’ll experience fatigue, loss of motivation, and increased injury risk. Plus you could experience a progress plateau, or even a regression as your body fails to recover and absorb the level of training stress you are enduring.

Active recovery days involve light exercise that increases blood flow to enhance recovery without producing additional fatigue. This could be an easy jog, swim, spin or even involve some light bodyweight strength work as long as it done at low intensity. The increased blood flow will transport nutrients to fatigued muscles while removing metabolic waste products. Staying moving on recovery days will help you feel fresher when returning to hard training while still allowing adaptation to occur. If only having one rest day every 7 then including one active recovery day could make a massive difference.

Deload weeks should occur every 3-4 weeks of hard training. The purpose is to back off and allow more complete physiological, mental, and emotional recovery – not just within a week but accumulated over weeks of training. Reduce your training volume by around 50% during the deload week. You can maintain some intensity but this should not be high for every session. You’ll return rejuvenated and ready to stress your body with hard training again during the next mesocycle. Deloads prevent overtraining, burnout, and loss of enjoyment.

Tapering prepares you to perform at your peak on race day. Gradually reduce your training volume by 30-50% over 1-3 weeks leading up to your key event. Frequency and intensity stay higher to maintain fitness. The reduced load allows time for any accumulated fatigue to dissipate. You’ll feel refreshed, motivated and ready to give your best effort. An effective taper requires patience and avoidance of the temptation to overtrain during this crucial phase.

Hopefully this helps you understand a bit more about the how and why of effective endurance training and how recovery plays such a critical role. You should now fee l totally confident to put these key phases in to your plans without a hint of guilt, knowing you are doing exactly what you need to do to help move the needle on your fitness, outside of the hard graft of training.

About Liza Smith

Liza: The Endurance Expert – Unlock Your Peak Athletic Potential!

Dedicated to endurance, particularly in extreme events like Ironman, OCR and Ultras, Liza stands out not just as a coach but as an emblem of determination and tenacity.

With a reputation for moulding winners and transforming raw potential into prowess, Liza is the top pick for those aspiring to reign supreme in their sport.

Liza’s coaching philosophy centres on the power of the mind. Her five pillars – Control the Controllable, Find the Positive, Focus on You, 100% Effort, and Extreme Ownership – guide athletes to both mental and physical excellence.

Whether you're just starting out or vying for the gold, Liza ensures your hard work delivers results. Train with Liza and unleash the ultimate athlete within you.