When people try to get bigger and/or stronger they tend to learn towards working as hard as they can without stopping to think about the toll this is taking on their body and their mind. I include the mind here as when you tax yourself physically you also tax your central nervous system which leads to psychological and emotional stress also.
After an athlete has trained they become fatigued, and the more fatigued they are then the greater the repercussions are on the athlete. These aftereffects include - poor coordination, low recovery rate and, decreased speed and power in muscular contractions. Emotional fatigue is also a common aftereffect of physical fatigue, as mentioned earlier, especially after a particularly hard session or a competition. It's easy to see here that training again in this condition could be detrimental to your training.
Recovery must become a daily part of your training plan, allow yourself this time to recover so that you can truly give it your all the next time around.
There are also various factors that need to be considered when looking at recovery rates, which include : -
Age - Athletes over 25 need longer to recover (creeping up on me this one.) Whereas athletes under 18 need more time to facilitate overcompensation
Gender - female athletes have a lower recovery rate due to endocrinal differences, such as the lack of testosterone
Environment - Training at high altitude or different temperatures
Mobility/freedom of movement - tight myofascial tissue make it difficult for the blood supply to deliver the necessary nutrients
Type of muscle fibre - fast twitch fatigues much quicker than slow twitch
Type of exercise/energy system used - an aerobic session would take longer to recover than a sprint session
Psychological factors - this effects hormone production, a negative athlete will likely produce more stress hormones which can have detrimental physiological effects
Injury - another hormone related one, an injury will lead to increased levels of catabolic hormones and ammonia
Diet - if the diet isnt sufficient then the body is not getting what it requires for metabolism, creating energy or muscular reconstruction
Efficient energy transfer - A better conditioned athlete will be more efficient at turning fuel into energy and dealing with the waste products from this transfer.
That is quite a list for you all there! All of these things need considering when it comes to your recuperation.
When it comes to recovery you can try various means, such as -
kinotherapy - this is where you rapidly discard of the waste products in your muscles, such as Lactic Acid. This would entail either some light aerobic work or stretching. More commonly known as 'Active Rest'
Complete rest - This is basically just sleep. It is recommended that you 9-10 hours sleep when you are an active athlete. Not all of this sleep has to come at night, 10-20% can be made up in power naps throughout the day.
Contrast baths/showers - This is one I use, beware though if you finish with cold you'll feel more awake, but if you finish with warm you'll feel drowsy quickly. Keep that in mind if you're about to drive home!
This is just a brief overview of the factors involved in, and the ways of incorporating, rest and recovery into your training plans. I hope this has helped you all!
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References - Tudor O. Bompa, PhD - Periodisation - Theory and Methodology of Training
Picture - http://namigreaterhouston.org/recovery/
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