Who knows the secret to maximizing your performance? I believe there are multiple secrets, because one thing alone does not turn you into an elite athlete. In my opinion the three utmost points to elite performance are:
If you don't read any further, you will have just learned the "secrets" to elite performance. But if this is the end of the line for you, implementing those three points properly - and knowing why you should be doing so, will remain a mystery. For those of you that are curious, read on, as today's post will be about the first point: recovery.
Contrary to popular belief, working harder does not constitute performing better. While hard efforts are par for the course and necessary to improve performances, training hard all of the time will only lead to injury. With the advent of social media and the internet, many athletes are gaining insight into what elite athletes are doing for workouts. But, what they are not seeing, is the aftermath. And that is just as important - if not more so - than the actual workout. Elite athletes don’t just train hard, they recover hard too.
The science and benefit of sleep has been gaining a lot of media attention lately, and for good reason. It is the cheapest and most effective form of recovery there is. Yet, it is highly underutilized. The focus for so long now has been on how to gain more training hours, when it should really be geared towards looking into more recovery hours. Triathletes that have increased their recovery times while still maintaining quality workloads have demonstrated less injuries and better times.
Some of you may be asking yourself “Well, that’s nice, but how do I know how much sleep I need? Or whether or not I'm ready for another hard workout?” This is a completely valid question, as up until recently, most athletes would judge their state of "readiness" based on unreliable factors, such as soreness levels. Today, the world of sports science has evolved and has discovered that many of the “secrets” of recovery are accessible and reliable, with the right technology and data analysis. When these variables are monitored and managed well, athletes are able to get the most out of their workouts as well as reduce injury so that they can continue to train well and perform better.
As an athlete, you're already doing a lot. Whether you’re a high school swimmer and have a job while also juggling classes, clubs, and your social life, or a mother of three who is a competitive triathlete who also works 70 hours/wk at a law firm, adding something else to your training is difficult, even if it will ultimately help you. In my experience athletes who want to be performing at their peak don't necessary yet another person telling them to workout, they need someone telling them when not to. It's ingrained in our brains that the more we train the better we'll be. But speaking from experience, over-training without proper rest and recovery won't get you anywhere but stuck on your butt while everyone else is out there getting better.
I'm so happy to be a part of SwimBox Elite, our new performance optimization service. Over our careers, Dominic and I have seen too many athletes that have trained themselves into short or unfulfilled athletic careers due to overtraining, not to mention more injuries than we can count. Discussions of how to fix this lead to extensive research and testing that ultimately manifested into our new program. If you have experienced poor recovery from workouts, inexplicable drop-offs in performance, long history of injuries, or want that slight edge over the competition, this is for you. Our program offers virtual recovery monitoring with email updates on actionable steps, 24/7 data collection, and personalized coaching based off of your specific needs. This will ensure that you are getting the most of your training. Each component of our program ensures that you are recovering well, moving well, and training well. Our goal is for each of our athletes to improve their performance by at least 5-10%.
*stay tuned for the next post in this guest series: Moving Well