If you are driving and see a police officer posted on the side of the road with a radar gun, what is the first thing you do? Slow down, right? Question is, why? They already got you. They aren’t going to let you off just because you slammed on the brakes to go from 90 to 60, right?
The same applies to your body and recovery. The season is crazy. Classes, lifts, practice, and games/races all add up to your body going fast and “speeding.” If you speed too much, you might get pulled over, meaning your body decided that you are going too fast, and it starts to break down, either with a physical injury, mental stress, or feelings of burnout. Just like being pulled over, these things can stop you in your tracks and inhibit you from continuing forward. Now just like driving, just because you speed doesn’t guarantee you will be pulled over (training too hard doesn’t guarantee an injury); it just increases the chances that it will happen.
So, how do you avoid getting caught speeding? Slow down! Take time to relax, recover, and unwind. It may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes the best thing you can do for your athletic performance is to do nothing. You already practice 3-4x/week and lift 2-3x/week. Do you really think adding another lift or practice is going to help? Often times it won’t (if you push yourself hard enough in the ones you already have). Most often, you need to give your body what it’s not getting- recovery!
That is why I recommend having some dedicated rest days. You already have everything you need on the stressful end, and doing more activity will only add more stress (aka speed more). Now I am also not saying to hit the brakes too hard. Going too slow (not training enough) is also dangerous and ineffective if everyone else is going faster around you.
In order to maximize your performance, you want to be just on the speed limit, where you are pushing the boundaries so you are going as fast as you can without getting pulled over.
Last part of the analogy- you need to know where you are and what the speed limit is. Yes, you can drive 60mph on the highway at some points, but you cannot do that in a school zone. Same with training. Yes, the summer is a great time to hammer your lifts, sprints, and conditioning work (aka. going 60). But now that we have added school, practices, and social events, it is time to slow down and go the speed limit here (aka 40). It will pick back up again, but not until you are literally out of the school zone (ie. May/June).
So drive fast (but not too fast), and avoid getting pulled over!