One of the key points I have been trying to stress this summer and fall has been the utmost need for high quality recovery. This level of recovery starts with hydration, nutrition and relaxation (sleep). Ice baths, massage, mental work, etc. are the next level. That means none of that stuff is any good without proper hydration, nutrition and relaxation (H-N-R). The crazy thing is, H-N-R requires no giant tubs, no therapists, no real expensive tools. It requires discipline and dedication to the task. I have said for years that what separates the champs from the almost champs are the "little things" and those athletes who do those little things the best always end up winning.
So, I posted a quick article about hydration, and the importance of it. Check it out here. But, it seems like we are not doing as well in the other two areas of nutrition and relaxation. Coach Whitneack noticed it, Coach Neale has mentioned it. So, I did some research, and found a some great resources that have lots of information on those two topics for athletes. Some of the better links I found were:
Athletes: What to Eat and When for Top Performance
This is a great article about the protein, the idea of re-fueling, and how to avoid getting into a nutrient deficit.
Recovery Nutrition Guidelines After Hard Exercise
This article covers a little bit of what the first one talked about, but in a broader sense. Still, it is great information, even to hear twice!
Sleep Deprived Tri-Athletes Face an Uphill Battle
This is article is geared towards tri-geeks, but it can apply to us as well. Hard working, dedicated, busy, busy, busy teenagers often sacrifice sleep before anything else. This is the worst option, but read this article to find out all of the negative things that occur with even a little sleep loss.
The first two articles were written by Nancy Clark, a renowned sports nutritionist. You can check out lots more of her nutrition ideas here. I got the sleep article from Active.com as well, it is a great site to really dig into to find information on all things training.
But, you can hear it from me, you can hear it from other coaches, you can read about it and study it. But, you still have to do it. This is where the "bad guy coach" comes in. I have instructed all of your coaches; that if any athlete shows up at practice not 100% recovered and ready to work at their maximum, to send them home. No modified practice, no re-scheduled practice, no begging or pleading. You turn right around, and go home. It is our job to coach you two hours a day. It is your job to do all of the little things the other 22 hours to be a ready for the coaching. If you don't fulfill your end of the bargain to the utmost, then we don't now fulfill ours.
The tickets for AZ are purchased, the registration is sent in, the hotels are booked, the rental cars are reserved. But, we will not sacrifice your overall health for any of that. The coaches will get you as ready as we can, but you need to get yourself as ready as you can also. Take H-N-R as seriously as you take hitting your times on intervals, or using perfect technique lifting weights. I believe through dedication, discipline and the proper perspective, H-N-R will become second nature to you. Make it happen.