Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - Haywood Reports
Haywood National Team Report: Rest and Recovery

- By: Beckie Scott

Greetings everyone at Haywood from the sunny snow-covered slopes of New Zealand!  We have been here for just over 2 weeks now and have but a few days left of skiing and training down under before we pack our bags for home.

The Snow-Farm lodge and trails have treated us most excellently, and we have been very privileged in terms of the weather, conditions, grooming and nightly cheese platter.  It has also been a welcome break from the daily routines of home that sometimes requires mustering up more energy than one has in reserve after a hard day of training.

Following this camp, in which for the most part we have spent the better part of three weeks training very hard twice a day, every day, most of us will go to our homes and families and have “mini” vacations.  That is, a small break from routine training, the team/camp environment, some time spent doing other activities, and most importantly, a rest.  The break won’t be long, but how it is handled, managed and absorbed will be every bit as important as the training that was put in during the camp.

It is quite a simple formula – hard training + resting well = training absorbed and performance improved – yet sometimes quite a difficult concept to put in to practise.  The reality is that many, in both the sporting and career domain, have come to believe that pushing on through fatigue and weariness will inevitably result in getting ahead.  And that may indeed be the case in the short term, but when one looks at the bigger picture and the ideal goal of successfully performing on a consistent and high level, there is no question that the role rest and regeneration plays is every bit as important as the time, effort and energy spent working hard.  Ultimately, being able to step away completely and effectively from sport, or work, and allow oneself the time and space to regenerate enthusiasm, energy and excitement for what is being undertaken, can make all the difference in long-term success, and quality of life.

Taking a break, from its tiniest form (like stepping outside for some air) to it’s most obvious (a tropical vacation), is very much a thing of personal preference.  The key is discovering what works for you, and what brings you back to a place of complete balance, vitality and rejuvenation.  A break is something that, taken effectively, restores both your physical and emotional energy so that upon returning to the daily demands and challenges of the working life, you find that the reserves you need to face whatever comes at you are there.

For me, funnily enough, a true break from the rigors and strains of the training life comes in the form of a vacation with my entire family.  Far enough removed from sport and completely dedicated to having a good time, all the time, a week with most of my relatives in some mountainous locale (probably our house in Panorama) will be enough to regain perspective, restore my energy, and send me back to the training life with plenty of joi-de-vivre to go around.  The bar-b-q will be fired up, golf clubs brushed off, my Harley-riding Uncle will roll in to town and the rest of the crew will follow in a mini-van parade of dogs, kids, cousins and relatives.  It will be a full week of good eating, drinking, crazy antics, catching up and, most importantly, having fun.  I can hardly wait.

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Source: Cross Country Canada

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