The art of recovery

Editor's note: This is the continuation of Cassie's story, the first part of which can be found here.

That commitment you make to training hard six days each week and reading the labels on every package of food, wary of sugar sneaking into your dried fruit, or worse, your bacon—is the same commitment that you must make to recovery. When I say “you” I of course mean “I”, since really this is my lesson that I am learning for the umpteenth time.

So how does one recover? What does that commitment actually look like? You can rest on your couch (and that can definitely be a part of recovery), but on-the-real recovery requires a plan.

Right now in my life, it means committing to my physical therapy exercises the same way that I commit to my strength programming - maybe even a <gasp> greater commitment to my physical therapy plan than to my strength program. It means doing a Mobility WOD with Kelly Starrett at least 4 nights per week ( It means some quality time with my LAX ball and actually using the Dixie cups of ice just sitting in the freezer waiting to be applied to sore traps. It means that some days are going to be 60% days, even when I’d really like for them to be 90% days. It means 7-8 hours of sleep - every night. It means listening to my body – and then taking action based on what I hear. It definitely means rest days.

This level of commitment holds true for my pops too. A year later, he's pretty much returned to his regular level of physical activity, but his recovery is a process. For him it means continuing the practices that he learned in his cardiac therapy. It means letting my mom sweep the driveway every once in a while. It means maybe only mowing half of the three acres when it's wicked hot out, even if he feels fine enough to do the whole thing. It means giving someone else a turn on the ladder, even though the gutters really need cleaning and he does it the best (he really does). And for him, it also means rest days.

In school they teach you to take notes because the act of writing things down helps you to process and internalize information, as well as to commit said information to memory. I have thought a lot about rest and recovery. I have read a lot about rest and recovery. I have definitely talked a lot about rest and recovery. Yet it is still a concept that I have such a difficult time putting into practice. Perhaps by writing it down, I’ll finally learn. I’ve invested so much in my training—years, money, blood, sweat, tears—and only a fraction of these resources have been invested in my recovery. The time has come to increase the investment. Now, where's my ice pack?

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.