Coach Shawna: Why Do We Need to Recover?

I’m cut from a different cloth and they don’t make the fabric anymore…
— unknown

Athletes sometimes forget that they are human.....yes, me included. Anyone who knows me knows that I am an intense athlete, so this is where I really need to check in with myself! No matter how fit you are, we are all susceptible to injury and overall body fatigue, in addition to mental fatigue. When we exercise and more so when we compete we tax all of our systems: endocrine, muscular, skeletal, respiratory. At some point guess what? We need to rest and recover, for both our mental and physical health.

What some athletes don’t realize is that it is during and after the recovery phase that we actually become more fit. At a high level, this is where the body goes through a general adaptation through several phases including the supercomensation phase of training which increases our baseline fitness level to continue to become more fit. If we do not go through each phase and spend too much time in fatigue and do not recover, we run the risk of decreasing our fitness level. See below....


In summary, you can see how recovery is part of becoming more fit, in addition to keeping our bodies healthy.

So where does the mental aspect come into play? Regardless of whether you are a competitive athlete, or you have taken on a sport for overall health and wellness, let’s be honest in recognizing that there is a huge mental aspect involved. Not sure what these are?

  1. Taking on new challenges takes us out of our comfort zone, and creates a bit of anxiety in all of us.
  2. Learning to balance your training demands around your life takes some juggling and tends to stretch us at times.
  3. What about the pressure on ourselves to succeed; it’s human and it’s normal. If you are a competitive athlete, the amount of focus that goes into training and competition is high especially at the elite level.

— Coach Shawna is a USAT certified triathlon coach and a Playtri Level 1 Coach. Visit her website at or contact her at