I’m not doing my usual cross training routine this week.
Why, you might ask?
It’s bout week! *squeeee*
And here’s what I’ve learned about bout week:
I know that I need to be ready for my bout this week: physically, mentally, and emotionally. I don’t want to have a breakdown in any one of these categories when it comes time to hit the track. And I cross train hard (though intelligently) during the season. Weeks like this, where I take it easy before bouts, helps me do a few things:
- Get my mind right. No one wants me out on the track when my head’s not right (it’s just a lot of me screaming: “Where the f*** are you? Get the f*** up here!”) Taking the week before a bout to just relax my typical training routine helps me center myself. Think about it, I can use my mental energy to visualize my game play or go through any pre-game “meditations” that I need to. There’s no calculating weight plates to go on the bar or stressing out about how much I’m lifting/running/jumping/etc. and if it’s too much (or not enough) with a bout coming up.
- Focus in on my skating. I attend as many practices as I can during the week pre-bout. You might think that goes against what I was just saying about ‘not training’, but moderate to lighter practices on game weeks help you focus on your skating — which is what you’ll be doing come Saturday. This is a really great week to slow down a bit and dig into strategy, break out and do individual footwork and skills, and run drills where the team gets to have fun, build their trust, and bond.
- Prep my body. I spend an inordinate amount of my life on a foam roller (you will hear A LOT about foam rollers here) and that time increases on game weeks. I want my muscles functioning at their best when I’m ready to skate. If yoga is your thing to stretch out, do it. If you’re into epsom salt and lavender baths, great, go for it. But take care of yourself.
- Drink water.
- Eat well.
- Get enough sleep.
- Rest. Well-rested muscles function optimally. This is true all of the time. However, when I’m not preparing for a bout, I’m more concerned about forcing my muscles to adapt to build more strength, speed, power, etc. I don’t want my muscles working to adapt and repair damage when I know that I need them to perform optimally soon. Like in a week. Like on Saturday. Like in a bout.
I don’t actually forego my cross training all together on bout weeks. I spend 2 days in the gym — as opposed to my typical 3 — doing light, mostly bodyweight workouts. These workouts are shorter and less intense than my normal cross training workouts. They’re geared towards moving my body through all the ranges of motion that I’ll need when I’m skating AND keeping me from going completely stir crazy at the thought of NO WORKOUTS!!
This is a part of Intelligent Cross Training. I didn’t always approach bout weeks this way, but once I tried it, I realized that my body functioned better during the bout when I tapered off my cross training the days prior to a bout.
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