Active Recovery

I’m working on Active Recovery in my personal life as well as my professional life.

As a mountain biker, this is a term used to define the continuous momentum after a hard push or steep incline (aka a long slog). Honing this skill takes practice, mental toughness and a tenacity for improvement. Even when my lungs are burning, my legs are shaking and my mind is screaming to take a break.

I’ve learned though, the amount of energy needed to get going after I allow myself to stop (or in some recent cases, throw down my bike in defeat) isn’t worth the small amount of rest. I’ve realized gathering up the momentum to get back on the bike, start from a stand-still, overcome the mental block of having just completely stopped, just isn’t worth it. If I can get past the initial urge to quit, to slow my pedaling, shift into a lowest gear instead of hopping off my bike, concentrate on my breathing to slow my heart rate, keep my mind focused on moving forward, all while continuing to pedal, I am in much better shape, both physically and mentally.

Active recovery applies to any strenuous, tough, or arduous life task and something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately with so many uncertainties, so many things on my plate. It can be overwhelming at times, often causing my to-do-list to go out the window, the wheels in my head to start spinning in no particular direction and the actual accomplishing of tasks to flee the scene. Scattered is the state I have found myself in over the past few weeks and active recovery is something I’m conciously working on.

It’s ok to slow down, and can be beneficial after a hard push towards something. To allow yourself to focus on the goal at hand, not every little thing you need to accomplish, has helped. But I’ve realized that I need to just keep pedaling, no matter how slow, no matter how small the task is or how long I still have to climb. Concentrate on my breathing, keep my mind focused on the positive outcome I want and I move forward.

And dang, the summit is almost always worth it.