Now that my training and competition season is over, it is time to rest, recover, and reflect.
This season has been hard, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I need to respect the recovery of all three.
First, the physical rest. I have managed to increase my volume and intensity of training very gradually over the years, and this season. Working into my off-season I need to be gentle with myself. Stopping suddenly, my body will revolt. I have experience with this. Stopping before, due to injury, I have paid the price. My legs don’t get what they are used to for activity, my hamstrings tighten up and pull my lower back out of alignment. That is just one of the symptoms of a poor recovery process. Taking a couple of days off, then easy biking and stretching for the next couple of weeks. I am giving my body the best chance at recovery. It seems to take a certain amount of low intensity heartbeats to get the job done. Waking up the other day to the thought of playing tennis was refreshing. Tennis can be hard on me physically but getting the activity, doing something different, is part of my recovery. Golf, walking, easy jogging with our dog Lilly, swimming, yoga are some of the things I can do for rest and recovery. A few weeks of this and I will be ready to increase to hard levels of training.
That is the physical. The mental and emotional rest and recovery is not so cut and dried. I need to listen to myself for the direction. Pumped after a great season I want to go hard again. The danger arises when I run out of gas physically, mentally or emotionally later during the training season because I have not rested enough, or taken a long enough break to be hungry again.
Reflection on the season and my goals are also essential. Setting out to qualify for the upcoming Olympic trials, I met my goal in the 500 meter race. Three races skated at 39.00 (the standard) or better, improving as the season progressed. In the 1000, finished my last race with my seasons best 1:16.15. Needing a 1:16.08, I missed by about 3 feet. Qualifying next fall is still possible. Leaving everything on the ice, I am very happy with my result. In the 1500 I missed by 3.44 seconds. The 1500 was not a realistic goal and that is ok. I was proud of the only 1500 I raced this year, the second fastest ever for me, and the consistent laps. I will concentrate on the 1000 this coming season. The 3000 this year I skated was for fun and the last 4 laps were progressively faster. What worked, and what did not, is also essential during the review of the season. Building on my strengths, correcting the mistakes, moving forward.
Recognizing my support network and sharing the rewards with everyone involved in my success is a joy. My wife Maripat, my father Harold, my coach Nancy are all indispensable players in my journey. I hope they know how much I appreciate their help and share in “our” success.
Onward to new goals, being patient with resting, and giving my legs and my head a well deserved rest.
Racing results for me are available at http://www.speedskatingresults.com/index.php?p=17&s=4067