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The Nutella recovery

The Nutella never tasted so good. The chocolate-hazelnut spread lightly melted as it spread across my morning whole grain toast.

Oh yes, I could sing odes to Nutella. Along with the other "junk" food I'm indulging in this week. For the record, it's not a gorge fest but rather the addition of treats -- things given up while training for Muskoka. Granted, I probably didn't go much faster as a result of passing on donuts and ice cream for a few months. But it did help me improve my overall health and helped me mentally believe I was putting myself in the best possible position for race day. And so came my little sacrifices.

This is the time period now to enjoy.

Welcome to active recovery and the off-season.

For three days I did nothing. No swimming. No biking. No running. No strength training. Heck, not even much stretching.

Yesterday became the first day back to activity. The practice of active recovery is to engage in low-intensity workouts in the days following a difficult race. The idea is to physically (and psychologically) maintain some fitness while allowing the body to recovery from the punishment of the race (and the training leading up to it).

Light and low intensity means no running for a few more days. But it did mean getting back on my bike for a light 30 minutes. Moving the legs around felt good. Very good.

Then came 30 minutes in the water for a steady swim. I enjoyed the movement in the water, the feel of the glide -- and it all came without wearing my cherished my fins. Perhaps the best part of the active recovery in the pool is swimming for enjoyment instead of for results and the complete confidence that inspires in a still-learning swimmer.

The weekend brings more low-key bike rides and easy swims. Next week officially launches a four-week structured off-season. The key is to get enough rest for the body and enjoy my downtime, without inhaling an entire package of cookies or jar of Nutella during a Law and Order marathon. 

Then again, nothing ushers in the transition to fall as much as taking a long bike ride to get donuts and cider.

It's a great chance to celebrate the accomplishment, take in the changes, and start to dream and plan for next year.

--- Amy Moritz
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