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Tuesday: Fitness

January 25 2011

Recovery should be a big part in every athlete?s fitness program and, since it does not get the attention it deserves, we?ve made it the topic of this week?s fitness section at There are generally two categories of recovery: short-term recovery and long-term recovery.
The ?cool-down? phase of your workout and the 24-48 hours following are examples of short-term recovery. Short-term recovery is the time your body uses to repair soft tissue damage, to rebuild it stronger, and to prepare for the next go-around. Without proper short-term recovery you are not allowing your body to repair itself from the stress it endured. Meanwhile, you are making only minimal gains or even losses in your fitness level. Recovery sessions, consisting of low heart rate activity, can be incorporated into the days following a workout. Proper eating and drinking habits should supplement the recovery sessions as nutrition plays a big part in your recovery. Recovery days should be built into both short and long-term fitness programs.
Not only days, but weeks of recovery should be built into your yearly training program at some point. Amateur riders often spend long amounts of time training for one particular event, such as Loretta Lynn?s. This offers you the chance to design a program that allows you to peak your fitness at high levels for the time of the event. After such events, long-term recovery should be incorporated into your program to allow your body to regroup. Professional riders need to hold or make gains in their fitness level through their extended season of racing.

There are only small amounts of time in the professional?s racing schedule which can be allotted to rest, and recovery is very important during these times. You can include long-term recovery in your program by simply changing your fitness routines throughout the year, incorporating circuit training into your workouts, or modifying the length and/or intensity of your workouts. For most motocross racers, a well-designed program will focus on strengthening weak areas during the off season and will emphasize high-intensity training during the race season. Annual training programs should be broken down into 4-5 different phases throughout the year, based on one?s racing schedule, and should offer a wide variety of workouts throughout the year.
Heart rate monitoring over night can be helpful in determining one?s current recovery phase, but often it is just a matter of understanding and listening to your body?s needs. In order to make fitness gains, you have to put your body through large amounts of stress it is not accustomed to, but to do that you need to have maximal energy and power. Basically, your hard fitness days are only as good as your recovery the previous days. Athletes sometimes feel that if they are resting for the day then they are not following their program. Understanding how important recovery is will remind you to allow time for rest. To make large fitness gains, be smarter on your recovery days and work harder on your high-intensity days.