I have always believed we humans can learn a lot from our canine companions. Useful things like: Live life to the fullest, love unconditionally and rest when you are tired. Today we add: Don’t bite your friends.
Puck has two dogs he absolutely loves: Bandit & Frank. It pretty much makes his life worth living when we get to go out with one of them. Bandit & Frank are both much faster than Puck (and about half his size), so Puck spends the entire time just trying to keep up. When he gets too tired to try, he waits until they run past and tries to knock them over. But he loves it; he is so happy to have a buddy to play with.
Sometimes though, he gets frustrated and a little overtired. We’ve all been there, right? You are tired and frustrated and you just want to bite someone? If you are Puck, that’s exactly what you do, apparently. Today, as Bandit looped around to come flying back past Puck, he held his ground. Right as she raced by him, he went for his signature move to knock her over. Bandit yelped, but I didn’t think anything of it until I noticed she was missing a tiny bit of skin from her side.
This time Puck had used his teeth. It was only a flesh wound… but I still felt like horrible mom of the year. Puck got a talking to (not sure he was listening) and Bandit got a lot of love. She is such a sweet thing, and this clearly hurt her feelings just as much as it hurt her physically. I can’t blame her!
Don’t bite your friends. Especially if you only have two.
You would think recovery days/weeks would feel great, right? You get to rest, you can sleep a little longer, you don’t have to suffer through those hard workouts, what’s not to like? How about everything?!
You want to know how I feel on my recovery days? Like the tin man before Dorothy oiled him.
I am not alone. Ask most athletes if they feel fresh after a recovery period and they will look at you like you are crazy. Fresh? Ha. More like rusty.
So if recovery sucks so much, why do we do it? Unfortunately, recovery is where your body repairs all the damage you’ve done in training and makes you stronger, better, faster. If you train without recovery your body will eventually shut down.
When you are in the middle of a significant training block, your body is reacting like it would to any stressor. [Note that I am majorly simplifying things here.] Your adrenal glands are pumping out cortisol, which keeps you going and provides a nice happy anti-inflammatory effect. Your body is pumping out endorphins that give you that addictive natural high. Yep, you CAN be high on life. Your muscles are contracting and keeping your circulation humming along. Your joints are moving, nicely oiled. Simply put, it feels GREAT! At the same time, those nice happy hormonal painkillers are breaking your body down. You cannot sustain a high level of stress for too long before you crash and burn. You do not want to crash and burn. So before that happens, you need to slow down, give the adrenals a break and let your body heal. Which is when all hell breaks loose.
I thought this article summed it up really well:
For me, recovery looks like this: My joints hurt. I feel puffy. I feel lethargic. I feel completely un-athletic. I feel unmotivated. I count the days until I can train again.
Quite frankly, I feel like biting someone.