I received an email asking me to explain the recovery strategy pdf I posted a couple of days ago.
The goal was to create a document that made each athlete aware of recovery methods available to them on a daily basis that could be used to maximize training and performance. Using these strategies has essentially eliminated the following conversation.
Conversation: Day 1
Coach: what happened today? Your workout sucked.
Athlete: I don’t know
Coach: did you eat today? Did you sleep? Did your dog die or something?
Athlete: yeah, yeah – I’m just out of it, I’ll be alright tomorrow
Conversation: Day 2
Repeat day 1
Since the introduction of the recovery sheet, it has become obvious what has transpired. They can lie to me for hours if they want, but they can’t lie to themselves. If they were out all night and got two hours sleep and breakfast was a pack of doughnuts and Mt. Dew, what do you expect? Your workout is going to suck. If an athlete is truly interested in maximizing their performance they will use this sheet as a tool to improve performance. Worst case scenario it gets them thinking about what they do when they leave a training session and are on their own from 23-47 hours.
Like most coaches, I’m always getting questions from athletes regarding exotic recovery techniques that some pro athletes use which are methods my athletes don’t have at their disposal on a daily basis. Everyone wants the fancy cutting edge stuff when realistically they don’t take care of the simple things like a quality night’s sleep. I wanted to come up with a series of strategies that could be easily followed and filled out daily. I did some research to see what other coaches were doing in this regard, which led me to the work of Nick Grantham from the UK. Using some of Nick’s work and procedures I recently implemented, I came up with the precovery/recovery sheet. It is essentially an attempt to make each athlete responsible for their own recovery using basic recovery techniques.
I use a three part approach: pre training, training and post training. A pre training questionnaire is completed within an hour of waking. Questions include: how many hour of sleep did you get, how fatigued are you, how was your sleep, level of muscle soreness, stress level and mood. Scores are recorded using an RPE scale of 1-5. I would like the RPE total score to be no less than a 15.
The training section is a collection of basic info regarding the actual training or practice. It consists of a few question used to gauge the intensity and effort of each session. I want them to list the activity, duration, body weight pre and post activity, max and average HR during training, volume, session difficulty RPE and session satisfaction RPE.
The final section includes both precovery and recovery methods. I needed this to be as simple and easy to implement as possible. These strategies are pertaining to daily nutrition habits, hydration, rest, sleep; relaxation and post work out stretch and cool down. It’s a point accumulated system that reveals whether adequate attention is being given to physical and mental recovery needs. 17-20 daily points is optimal; 15-16 points is good but shows room for improvement; 14 or fewer points means an evaluation of recovery behaviors is needed.
The precovery and recovery sheet has helped me reinforce the importance of what is done after a training session and how it affects performance. I’m not trying to claim that I have created some sort of earth shattering document; I have used many sources to create strategies that fit my situation and my athletes. I’m sure there are more sophisticated ways to track this information. My guys buy into the sheet and use it. I am sure with the feedback I get from my athletes I will continue to tweak and improve upon these strategies. However, as of today this is what I’m using.