How Much Training and How Much Rest ? Does Rest Result in Record Results ?

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Age Group Champions know the value of "smart training;" mixing high intensity and volume with periods of rest and recovery
Age Group Champions know the value of “smart training;” mixing high intensity and volume with periods of rest and recovery for optimum race results over a career

Bikers, runners, swimmers, and even professional football players are coming to the realization that rest days can be as important as hard workouts to overall improvement, recovery from training, and peak results. While not a big fan of major American professional athletics, Herndon Virginia lawyer Doug Landau came across a Wall Street Journal article in the paper’s Sports section. (Yes, the WSJ has a sports section !)

The article titled “The Packers’ New Workout Plan” looked at the Green Bay NFL team’s institution of “Feel Good Friday.” Practice on Friday is canceled, but deep-tissue massages or other treatments are mandatory during the pro football season. These low-key movements the day before a big game can help keep players fresh, and analysts seem to feel the players are keeping healthy.

While there seems to be no consensus on whether athletes should rest or train before a big event, Landau’s own regimen has consisted of a “light” day (or two) before Triathlons and Duathlons, and an easy “recovery day” afterwards. If the Virginia lawyer is heading to a National Championship, he will taper for up to a fortnight beforehand in order to be “rested and ready.”

Some bikers push themselves in the days leading up to a big race and Marathoners will reduce training volume, but still do sprints and lighter running leading up to the event. Sports scientists suggest that training within a day of a game or race should be done with an eye toward replenishment of glycogen, the body’s energy storage substrate. It takes about 24 hours to replenish the body’s carbohydrate stores. According to lawyer Landau, “It is better to have athletes who are “fresh” than those who are exhausted due to overtraining. I have seen too many athletes get injured, burn out or turn in sub-par performances because of doing too much in the days leading up to competition. My late father was a crack track athlete who competed as a high schooler at the Millrose Games in Madison Square Garden. Norman Landau was a great proponent of taking it easy on the days leading up to a big meet. He certainly questioned those coaches who had my sibs doing exhausting workouts close to major competitions.” To read more on this interesting article discussing when athletes should train, click here.

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