Once the competitive skating season draws to a close, the recovery phase of an athletes periodized training program then comes into play. The recovery phase, which can last a few weeks depending upon the skater’s condition, will enable the body to rest, heal, and return to activity before getting into pre-season training. The following are key components for optimal recovery post-season.
- Mental and Physical Rest: After training vigorously all year, and experiencing the highs and lows that form a part of any competitive sport, it’s time to give your mind and body an opportunity to recover and to refresh with plenty of rest and proper nutrition. This involves getting enough sleep, relaxation, fueling your body with nutritious foods, enjoying time with family and friends and giving yourself a necessary break from your sport to make it easier to get back into peak condition.
- Heal and Recover: Throughout the season almost every skater will experience some kind of overuse or injury from this very repetitive and highly demanding sport. No matter how we work to prevent them, it does happen. Devote this time towards rehabilitation and healing so that you may return to the ice healthy and injury-free.
- Correct Muscular Imbalances: As a conditioning specialist, I often see this with figure skaters. Our sport is very one-sided, having the tendency to develop imbalances both in strength and flexibility. Identifying and solving these issues during the recovery phase will help prevent injuries and prepare a strong foundation for building in the pre-season.
- Active Rest: Athletes need to stay active to some extent during the recovery phase. Engaging in other activities or sports that you enjoy and working up from a low to moderate intensity is beneficial to keep the heart, lungs and muscles going, while giving yourself a break from your usual intense training regimen. Yoga, cross-training and light sessions at the gym are great activities for active rest.
Giving your mind and body this chance to heal, recover and rejuvenate post-season is essential. It will provide a heightened state of readiness for skaters to return refreshed and motivated to work towards achieving their peak performance for the next competitive season.