Unless you’re a distance runner, or watching Dr. Phil or Intervention, you probably don’t hear the word “recovery” very often in your day-to-day life. I certainly hadn’t heard this word outside of drug rehab discussions until I delved into the world of distance running myself. Recently, Women’s Running Magazine published an article on “Recovery Days” and as I read it, something occurred to me – this concept is for distance runners, but it really should be applied to all of us.
Go with me, here. Let’s explore the ways that the advice for runners really applies to everyone.
Plan Recovery Ahead of Time
For Runners: Women’s Running Magazine argues that “planning recovery time is just as important as planning your work-outs.”
For Everyone: Planning recovery time in your career is essential to achieving work/life balance (or integration, whichever buzz word you choose to use). If you know you’re about to enter a month of heavy workload – late nights, weekends, taking home projects, and staring at your Blackberry religiously, it will be incredibly difficult to end that cycle unless you plan ahead. When you know a time consuming project is coming to an end, give yourself a vacation day or two afterward to transition out of that workaholic stage and focus on recovery.
Utilize Both Active and Passive Recovery
For Runners: In the Women’s Running Magazine article, Coach Joe Friel says, “there are two types of recovery – active and passive. Passive recovery means no physical activity, while active recovery can entail a short, low intensity workout.”
For Everyone: When planning recovery in your career or life, planning active and passive recovery could be incredibly helpful. After a big project, you may need to take a few days off – that’s passive recovery. But if you’ve just had a crazy week from hell, leaving at 3:00pm on Friday may be just the ticket – that’s active recovery. I’ve been known for years for going to a movie on Friday afternoons when the week has really kicked my butt or I’ve worked the weekend before – totally active recovery, and not a huge break, but needed nonetheless.
Take Care of Yourself, People
For Runners: Again, Coach Joe Friel says, “Sleep and nutrition should always be the first considerations when recovery is needed.”
For Everyone: When you’re coming out of a busy time at work or in your life, don’t sit yourself on the couch with a bag of Cheetos, instead engage in recovery where you’re taking care of yourself nutritionally and with good sleep patterns. Your recovery time will be more successful if you’re first and foremost taking care of yourself.
So even if you’re not going into “recovery” a la Intervention or Dr. Phil, and even if you’re not an endurance athlete, you can and should add recovery to the tough times in your life and career. Build in recovery and you may find that the busy times aren’t as difficult as they used to be.