Can pizza and beer help you prevent injury? In a round-about way, YES.
We hear all the time how hard elite athletes work. But what about the time they put into recovery? Just as important, and usually even harder for an athlete to include in a training plan is a 4 letter word… R-E-S-T.
Runners’ Edge Alaska’s Athlete Ambassador and Ultra-Cyclist, Miron Golfman, shares why incorporating rest into his training is so important. It is quite literally his recipe for success… Pizza and beer included!
For the month of April, I am not riding my bike. In fact, I’m not doing much of any training. I am deliberately giving myself a month to reset and regenerate. The goal of this break is to mitigate burnout and recenter in regards to identifying my athletic goals. Really to be a little lazy and build up excitement to get back on the bike come May.
Taking this break is part of a larger self-care and injury prevention strategy as an athlete. As I look toward my larger cycling ambitions, strategies around injury prevention are key.
Below are 4 key ingredients in my recipe for athletic success:
1. Identifying My Objectives
I’ll be honest, I tend to have a pro-risk type of personality. It comes naturally. Whether it be kayaking off a 30ft waterfall, canyoneering into keeper pot hols in the middle of the night, or simply getting on my bike in the worst of weather… Count me in! As I lean into my athletic career I am becoming much more calculated with where and when I am willing to take risks knowing there is a chance of injuring myself.
When training, I am minful to only push so far. When my knees being to hurt, I dial it back understanding that not getting injured before a race is more important than achieving those couple extra watts or miles. Being calculated about not getting injured one day, means I can be out training the next with certainty.
Leaning on my support systems is key as well. With the help of my Physical Therapists, Natalie Snyder, I have a weekly regimen of various exercises that strengthen my knees and areas of my legs that are out of balance. Additionally, I am constantly working with my cycling coach Janice Tower, modifying my training schedule week to week recognizing when to slow down due to fatigue or stress, and when I am strong and can in fact push a bit harder than planned.
Past the start line, it’s all out. When my knees start to scream, I grit my teeth and keep going. That isn’t to say I loose sight of my larger goals (AKA- the next race that will come the next week or month). Even when I’m racing I’m doing all I can to address issues I might be experiencing. The last thing I want to do is go so hard in an event that I injure myself and am not able to continue with the season ahead.
Recovery is everything. When I don’t get enough sleep and don’t eat well, I feel it in the following days of training. When I don’t take enough time to rest after a big event, fatigue will inevitably set it, making any training ineffective. Sustaining my goals as I train for races a year or even two years ahead requires that I also think of my health and injury prevention with the same long term vision.
By Miron Golfman
Runners’ Edge Athlete Ambassador