Recovery is essential for Irish dancers to restore physiological and psychological capacities. As you know, Irish dancers train high volumes and at a high intensity. Without proper recovery following multiple high-intensity training sessions, practice sessions and competitions, a dancer increases the risk for poorer performances and injuries.
Even if you are still not dancing at the top level, the same rules still apply. Now, when I say that you should introduce a recovery or rest phase as some may call it, this does not mean that you completely shut down, do zero exercise, eat junk food and ignore everything good. WRONG! This is not the case. A recovery/rest phase is introduced to help you to rebuild as a person and as a dancer… its not introduced to destroy and ignore everything good that you have done until now!
In my opinion, the recovery phase is the most important training phase, BUT, it is the phase that most dancers tend to ignore. Now, you are probably asking the obvious question, WHY? Why is this phase so important?
Your body has been used and abused over the course of the competition phases. After performing the same dances over and over, using repetitive movements, competing at feis’s every weekend, it is time to take a pit stop and refuel. After a long competition phase, the body could do with a short break to recover from all those aches and pains you have been experiencing. Depending on how often you have been training, if you have been constantly training 5-6 days per week for the past few months, I recommend that you take up to 10 days off. During this time you should chill out, visit family and friends, go on a holiday or take part in another activity that you enjoy that does not demand a high volume of work. So to go back to your question ‘why’?
During your dance practices, training sessions and competitions you are actually wearing your body down. It is when your body is completely rested that the body is able to recover and recuperate. So to completely recover from all activity or injuries recovery and rest is they key! Simple!
Here are a few simple tips that you can introduce during your rest phase:
1. Drink plenty of water ( approx 1 litre for every 50lbs that you are bodyweight)
2. Get at least 8 hours sleep every night
3. Don’t use any computers or watch movies etc before bed. Read a book instead.
4. If you were not eating and drinking proper fuels or if you went a bit off track, now is the time to start doing the right things.
5. Think about your goals, what you would like to achieve, put a strategy in place and be ready for the next phase!
If you need more advice, if you need to put a strategy in place, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Irish Dancing Physical Fitness via Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or the Website.
Thank you for reading.
Peter O’ Grady
Author of the training book for Irish dancing ‘Upping Your Step’
This can be purchased on his website www.irishdancingphysicalfitness.com