Rest and Recovery

Paul: [00:00:00] Hey, Howard.

Howard: [00:00:01] Hi Paul

Paul: [00:00:02] back and we're we're talking well, we're talking about some  things, rest recovery and an exercise addiction, which admittedly can sound mega the rest and recovery part. I'm sure people are on side with. But the, the exercise addiction thing is really interesting and. I brought it up on Twitter the other day, because I, I had a friend of mine was talking to me about that. He was actually getting therapy about his exercise addiction and I had I've run into people in the past who were triathletes and really. Top competitive athletes who either realized, or it was obvious to outside observers that they were addicted to exercise that they just, their life revolved around it.

Not in the sense that necessarily, I, I I'm a, I don't know, I'm a professional blah-blah-blah soccer player and I spent a lot of time training, no, in the sense that if they weren't running, they were thinking about their next run and they were always am,  amping it up and amping it up. And it's, it's a real problem out there.

Howard: [00:01:03] It is a real problem out there, but 90% of the people who listen to us are shaking their head. Like not for me.

Paul: [00:01:12] No, no. And I get it that I, I just it's. I think most people's problem clearly is his motivation. But at the other end, you have this huge group that not huge, but you have this group of people who, and maybe again, it's bubbles that are, that we both run in and no pun intended, but I seem to run across a mutual acquaintance of ours who I won't name, but.

We both wrote into, on Twitter on a regular basis, triathlete was talking about it to me the other day, saying how he was at a recently at a triathlon or I suppose a masters level triathlon event. This guy's a long time endurance athlete. And he was saying. What was remarkable to him were these people who not only had gone through multiple marriages as a result of their exercise addiction, but were at the point of having just had a knee replacement.

We're comparing notes on how long this other guy had taken after a knee replacement until they were back running marathons on their way to doing.  Fold triathlons again, which is just,  come on. This is not a good idea, right? I mean, it's amazing to me, it's really interesting watching how the human mind works in terms of addictions and obsessions .


We talk a lot about people who struggle to get enough exercise. And we don't talk very much about people who, who struggle to control themselves. And I mean, and I'll, I'll, I'll use myself as an example, years ago, I had a terrible problem with overuse injuries, which I didn't call over use injuries at the time.

I just thought, Oh,  I got a really screw yet. Doctor it's just. Stupid, you I'll just do more I'll just do more at you know at the abductor machine And I'll I'll get to the point where I could like crush small planets by doing a deduction You know what I mean Like that'd be so strong I can just smash things and it's like that's not the problem I mean  it's good to be stronger but the problem was it's just too much It's too much of a of a of a well a good thing as we talk about all the time this dose response relationship you too much.

, it's such a long time for me to realize that. I mean, I can say I wasn't truly addicted as we're referring to here, but I couldn't wait to run again. And if all the signs were telling me to stop and take a rest day, I. Probably didn't or I would go hike or do something, but I totally understand how people can get stuck in these weeds.

Have a miss there they're misreading cues and clues, right. They're slowing down. So they they need to train harder.

Right. Oh yeah, . In my case,  do more leg adduction exercises or something. I mean, no, it's exactly. That's exactly what in which is,  learning to not miss the cues and thing that the right, the right thing to do is simply apply a greater dose. I can get risk, better response is just.

The wrong way to think about it, but it's really, it can be really hard to get past that point. And I, I think, and I see this among my friends in the, on the West coast here in the entrepreneurial communities, there is something about that community that breeds that, and maybe that's what it requires to be successful.

Entrepreneur in some ways is a breeds, a very obsessive personality. Where you, you like things that you can really bury yourselves in and you can really get absorbed in. Cause I see it a lot in that community where people are. Yeah. I, I can't, I today's my long run day, I thought yesterday was your long run day. Yeah, that was too. It was like, what are you talking about then? You don't have a long red day. You just long run all the time, right?


 We talk about connecting the dots, right? We did that with insulin resistance metabolic syndrome I do that here When I see people in the office repetitively with these quote unquote over use injuries I talk to them about them I talked to him about the fact that most injuries in runners are training errors And then I get into a deeper dive about a fib and cardiomyopathy's and hypertrophy and all these downstream ill effects of too much exercise and they don't care just, they'll just put it out there. I don't care. I'll deal with that when it happens. Ah, it's very hard to deal with.

we call that hyperbolic discounting, right? People, disproportionately discount futures that they should care about because they seem far enough away that I could essentially discount them to zero.

Howard: [00:05:51] Right.

Paul: [00:05:52] And that's a problem because it's the Jerry Seinfeld had a great routine years ago on his, I think it was on the Seinfeld show on his, on his show, but he talked about how.

Morning guy and nighttime guy. I don't know if people know that routine. It was a great routine, but the gist, the gist was is that nighttime guy doesn't care about morning, guy morning guys. Like you should go to bed sooner. I need more sleep at nighttime guys. Like, yeah. I asked screw you. It doesn't matter.

I got control here. I could decide what I want to go to bed. And it was that it doesn't feel as if. From obviously that the same person, or at least I hope they are, but it doesn't feel like you, I need to care about the consequences in the morning, because at night I'm having so much fun. And I see that so much with with, with, with runner friends in particular, I'll say, I don't see this as much with Y with friends who are avid soccer players or MMA or MMA guys.

This is not something I want to get punched again today. You know what I mean? It's not something I see a lot of, but I see it a lot in people who are running, who are, who are in trouble. Distance runners, trail runners, any kind of solo endurance sport. And maybe again, this is selection bias. It could just be because I know too damn many of those people, but I see it a lot more in them than I do in people playing team sports, which again comes back to the idea of,  maybe something that you need to watch out for if you're, if you're an active participant in, in these individual sports, is that,  let it have its place in your life.

Treat it as a medicine, but don't let it take over.

Howard: [00:07:17] right. I,  it's runners and tries in.  In my practice probably a combination of both. And I mean, if you can find the time to train for an Ironman, a full Ironman, you're really committed, and it's not hard to take that over the line to a point where you're setting yourself up for just injury after injury.

Paul: [00:07:42] . And then whenever I watch this with runner friends of mine, where then it becomes, there's such an emotional feedback is if your life is really defined by these, this training for these long, these long events, and I can't train anymore. It can seem, and I've seen this. They'll be dismissed by family and friends because it seems frivolous.

You're depressed because you can't run 25 miles today. Come on, be serious, but people have no idea whenever their lives become defined by these activities and have been for a decade or more. Plays so much into their emotional makeup and then just feeds through their whole life. I've watched people really, really have a tough years or more because they just couldn't, they could still do stuff, but they couldn't do stuff at the level they could previously.

And I it's  easy to dismiss that and say, Oh,  there's a lot of people with a bunch of bigger problems, but. So what, there are these people, there's a lot of people out there who really struggle with having created a vision of themselves that they can no longer live up to because of a series of overuse injuries or something else.

And it's  awful to see.

Howard: [00:08:42] . They're chasing something that they can't catch right. Then not having fun anymore. There's no finish line  as soon as they're coming to the end of this race and they're this run and they're planning the next one.

Paul: [00:08:54] , no, it's, it's, it's  remarkable. And I, I, as I watched it happen too many times,


 let's talk about how we manage our efforts and, and, and pace ourselves with respect to endurance in any other kind of activity can be resistance exercise and the terms of art that get thrown around all the time here, I often think are really poorly defined.

And then maybe this is part of the problem, but we talk a lot about rest and recovery, and I think. Most people have  no idea what it means other than possibly I should make sure to sleep. Right. All your people talk to me. Oh, I'm having a rest day.  I what does that mean? Oh, I'm we usually run 20 K or 15.

K. And I'm going to run like 5k hard today. That's not a rest day.

Howard: [00:09:40] No right. Doc Deshaun, Milan had gotten into this with us. All right. Amy arrest day is arrested. You're not running. You're not running slowly. You're not going to. Just run three miles or, or cycle 10, you're going to rest. You're going to let your heart recover. Your brain, recover your entire neuromuscular system recover and you can let your muscles rebuild themselves.

It's, it's really critical. I mean, I look at it. Recovery or the so-called active recovery almost as something that you're going to do in preparation for a race. Right? So if you've been training and running 70 miles a week, 50 miles a week, and you're running an ultra in two weeks, then  the next week you're going to run 20 or 25 miles.

That's an active recovery week, but. If you're training hard,  if you have a really hard day, your next day,  I'm not an active recovery believer in that next day. I'm a rest believer you need a rest day. Otherwise. As we just mentioned, you're going to start to see that your work you're putting out more effort and more work to maintain the same times your heart rate is creeping up.

You're a little more short of breath. You're putting out a little more effort than you used to. You're starting to overreach and you're not realizing it. And you're thinking about it wrong.

Paul: [00:11:09] And does that. I'll give you my answer on this, but I mean, over, over time, my, my, I mean, this is probably just an aging thing, but my, my need for rest is really changed. I could get away with having consecutive days running 20 years ago. I, and I know lots of people my age, who still run every day, but I can't.

If I ran every day, I guarantee you. And I don't know what it would be that would break, but something will be abbess within a month. And I just, my body doesn't put up with it and it could be my biomechanics. It could be a history of prior injury. It could be anything I don't really care, but the bottom line is I need at least a day off between runs.

And so what I at most do is I'll have maybe Monday, Wednesday, Saturday running or something like that. And. That seems to keep things relatively in control. And I think that's an, this goes a little bit back to the exercise addiction problem, but I think that's really hard for a lot of higher end people to do, but really competitive athletes.

But I also think that people lose track of how that changes as they age that,  at 16, when I was competing on the track team, we had,  morning and evening workouts and ran every day and everything else. It's like, you gotta, dude, you can't do that. Right.

Howard: [00:12:25] right. I learned this lesson. Right back in April when I got. My stress fracture at the beginning of the shutdown. And I gotta tell ya, I'm still dealing with the repercussions of it. My foot isn't still broken, but because of the downtime associated with that at my age, getting. Back up to pay speed distance and Durance has been tortured.

Paul: [00:12:55] Yep.

Howard: [00:12:56] as  Oh, I've turned more to my bike to cycling now because I'm having such a difficult time getting back out on the trails. And so if I could go back six months, eight months now and. Smack myself in the head to realize what was happening. And I know again,  you're not a data freak, but I am.

And I saw that,  if I look at my curves, it was there, it was screaming at me that this was gonna happen.

Paul: [00:13:27] . Every day. Was it, it, was it every day or was it distances? I forget.

Howard: [00:13:30] It was both. I started running every day and I,  I got my notch, my mileage up because now I had every day free.

Paul: [00:13:40] Yeah. Turns out free time is is bad for our help. , no, I I, I totally get that, but it's been, that has been one of the hardest things to learn from me as I get older is that I. Even when the opportunity arises,  we'll be up in the mountains for a while. I just can't, I can't do stuff every day.


If I do bad things happen and running in particular, as much as I love running, running is a particular is a, is, is an activity that for me anyways, requires a real effort to fit in,  rest and rest and recovery. Because if I don't just. This, just too many things that can, that can go wrong. And if for whatever reason, I don't have the same experience with cycling.

I don't have the same experience with other activities, but I will say, and I'm curious your thoughts on this. I, I didn't really understand how important rest was with. I become much bigger on resistance exercise over the years. And. That's almost sounds like a pun bigger on a resistance exercise. I haven't actually become that much bigger, but that's a different issue.

And I had no idea until I was talking to a few of my more gym centric friends that how built into that community rest is that people really, I think, in the resistance community, right. In many ways, understand the importance of rest and recovery better than deranged endurance athletes. Do. I don't know what your sentence is of that.

They just, they get that muscles grow on the days when you're not using them.

Howard: [00:15:08] Oh, there's no question. Right? They will not exercise the same muscle to two days in a row. They, they fully understand the repercussions of too much exercise.  They all have friends, who've had their pack fixed their biceps fixed and, and they don't want to stay out of the gym and,  Kudos to CrossFit, but they really nail this home for their athletes too.


Paul: [00:15:35] What did they do?

Howard: [00:15:36] Well, they,  train each box, we'll put together a program so that they don't overtrain. On consecutive days.

Paul: [00:15:47] I see, I see. I see. Okay.


Howard: [00:15:55] I think it's funny cause you,  you and you're running, the problem is when you start out, you may plan on doing a nice, slow run, but then you get pissed off at something

Paul: [00:16:07] It's fad. I was telling you that the other day. Yeah, that's right. I know. I'm trying childish that way. I have a very fragile male ego cross with it's considered a little bit of childishness and so it doesn't take much to suddenly make me think, Oh crap, I need to go way faster than I was planning to. And then anyways, bad things happen. But yes.

Howard: [00:16:27] our kids get faster than us and we have to try and speed up to catch up.

Paul: [00:16:32] Oh, my kids can dust me now. It's not even funny. I just I've given up even pretending at one point I might've feigned a shoe that needed to be tied and up. Sorry, I got to stop and nah, it's just, it's just, they're just way, way, way faster. So, so let's get into some of the markers here in terms of rest and recovery.

And as you say, I'm less of a data guy that I once heard that I once was on this stuff. I've gone full non wearable, anything. I was joking the other day that I'm like, I don't wear any any  tracking devices when I'm running. I have nothing going on. I said, I'm like, literally I joked. I'm like weeks from running naked with a gorilla  mask on.


You actually are more sane than I am, and you're actually tracking some of these things, Let's talk through this a little bit. One of the ones that I used to think I needed to pay attention to in terms of indicators that I needed to get more aggressive about rest and recovery.

Other than obviously I've just broken something would be if I'm seeing consistently higher elevated heart rates for the same thing, like I'm running the same loop as I did last week. And I'm either I'm slower for the same heart rate or faster at a much higher heart rate or something. These are signs of some level of fatigue that's kicking in.

Howard: [00:17:47] . So I think the most important time to monitor yourself is the first thing in the morning. Right? So your resting heart rate That's really the one thing I use the aura ring for. I couldn't care less what my sleep score is. It's it's garbage, but , I'm looking at my basal body temperature.

Right, because it's going to be elevated if you're over-training or near that you're going to see a lower or even potentially much higher heart rate variability. And you're going to see a higher, a higher resting heart rate. Right? If my normal resting heart rate is 46, I can wake up some

Paul: [00:18:27] off, show off,

Howard: [00:18:28] well, well, but it's 54 or 55,  it's really different.

That's not going to be a good day.

Paul: [00:18:35] For sure. And that's a, and that's a classically great Barker and one that people don't look at. Right. Because they'll look at their heart rate during the activity, but not necessarily,  what did you get to when you bought them down at 7:00 AM this morning?

Howard: [00:18:48] Correct.

Paul: [00:18:49] That's a Superman.

Howard: [00:18:51] A hundred percent. I think your resting morning heart rate is going to be your best tool. As a short-term signal day to day, I think your heart rate variability, if you track it daily with either the nighttime heart rate variability. With an aura ring or morning measurement with a chest strap or with your phone camera.

If you look over the long-term, you're gonna see trends, you're gonna see your distance pace and everything increased, then all of a sudden your age. HRV just started to crash as did your times and your performance. You will start to see these training errors, but again, to guide my day to day is definitely the resting heart rate.

During, during the run or during a ride,  my, my new toy now is this DFA alpha wan. It's a complicated HRV signal. But what it's been proven to give you. Is your lactic acid threshold.

Paul: [00:20:01] I see. Okay.

Howard: [00:20:02] so it's fascinating so that your DFA of 0.75 is probably really close to your lactic acid threshold.

So you don't need to go to a lab and breathe in to a mask. You don't need to have your, your lobe poke for lactic lactic acid measurements.

Paul: [00:20:21] Or run on a treadmill, tell you vomit or whatever.

Howard: [00:20:23] Right. This will give it to you. And you'll see on days when your resting heart rate is up, that you're going to cross that 0.75 threshold at a lower heart rate.

And on days when your resting heart rates low, your HIV is high. You're going to be able to push a lot harder before you hit that 0.75 threshold. And that's meaningful because that's when your mitochondria switching from fat-burning to glucose. Now you're building lactic acids. So now you're going to get exhausted.

So it's all hooked together.

Paul: [00:20:58] So have you seen when you've seen a worse HRV number, have you said to yourself? Okay, I gotta, I gotta take today off.

Howard: [00:21:07] So if I, if I

Paul: [00:21:09] Good morning number. I mean, so.

Howard: [00:21:10] right, so generally comes together. So,  I'll get a higher basal body temperature. I'll have my, my HRV is down and my resting heart rate is up. Again, I'm going to put more than the resting heart rate from day to day and the HRV over a longer term.

Paul: [00:21:28] . Why do I care about basal body temperature in the morning? I have, this is not something I previously considered.

Howard: [00:21:35] So when you go to bed at night, your basal body temperature actually drops to enable you to go to sleep. That's why it's good to have a cooler room, but if you are, if your muscles are really active and churning and trying to rebuild themselves . You're going to keep your metabolic machinery running a lot, a lot harder at night, and you'll actually heat up.

So you'll see you Bazell body temperature up,  0.5 0.6 0.4 degrees as opposed to dropping 0.8 or one

Paul: [00:22:08] Huh. And so you'll see that obviously in, in the morning is  the, whatever the morning bottoming out number is,

Howard: [00:22:13] you  will. And you'll see it. It'll it'll correlate extremely well with your resting heart rate.

Paul: [00:22:19] No, I hadn't. Well, I'll never know what, what I'm S I'm naked with a gorilla mask. So when will I now, but I'm sure for people who use these things, this will be very useful

Howard: [00:22:29] I don't have to wear the aura ring in public so that you're not one of us, but you can just wear it at night and no one will see you.

Paul: [00:22:38] I don't know. I'm on I'm on a one man. Jihad here. It's just a thing I have. What other what other markers do you want to get into recovery in a second? But is there anything else that you look at? I mean, for me, I look at, I have some known areas. Is like back to the right at my right.

A doctor is a known issue. My left hamstring known issue periodically Achilles. When I start to feel something in these three or four areas for me, that's just a seat of the pants. Yeah. I'm I'm doing too much.

Howard: [00:23:06] That's good for you. I mean, I, whether I run a mile or 10, I have the same pains. So,  yes, I miss my foot stress fracture. I should've seen that coming.  If I, if I start to get grind pain, tibial, pain, pain, along certain areas of the foot around the metatarsal walls. I would come and stress fractures occur.

I'm going to stop.

Paul: [00:23:30] . Yeah. So for me, for me, it's mostly just irritating old, prior stupid injuries. And then I say, okay, this is, this is a really bad idea.


So let's jump over to recovery for a second, just because I've gone full circle on this topic. Like I do most. And I used to, I used to be so. Pretty against a lot of the voodoo that goes on in the recovery side of things.

And by active recovery, I'm talking not necessarily about tour de France style, active recovery, where instead of riding 300 kilometers, I ride 80 kilometers. It's not that kind of, that I'm talking more about the kinds of interventions people do that. I see people doing that. They think it's going to help them get better and it could be it could be some form of,  myofacial release.

In terms of massage therapies. I see people doing dry needling. I see people doing cupping. I see people doing, I don't know, on and on and on and on. So I'll give my answer first, which is, I used to think all of this was ridiculous, but if it made you happy, do whatever you want, as long as you don't start trying to dry needle me or whatever.

And, and then I had a good friend of mine who was a really fantastic distance runner. Oh, claimed he'd been injured his whole life and found this, this, this woman here in San Diego, who does these really is very effective at doing this myofacial release stuff. And and it's, he claimed it kept him running.

And so I did it for like, Two years or whatever else, but I realized I had no idea, you know what I mean? I have no, I have no alternate universe where I didn't use her. And so I had no idea how to compare the data from using her to not using her. So I decided I'll just stop because it's cheaper not doing this and I'm cheap and nothing changed.

So I was like, okay, well, this doesn't really do anything, but I just don't know anymore on this stuff. And so I've largely stayed. I largely did very little in terms of active recovery that I'll do other than,  instead of running today, I might go for a bike ride.

Howard: [00:25:24] right. , I'm not a big believer in these modalities. I certainly don't have the time for them. I'm a believer in rest right. You need a rest day. And as you mentioned, it's not an active recovery day. I look at. Recovery we, but days and rest days and rest week, sometimes as being just a really important aspect of your training, you're giving your metabolic machinery and muscles a chance to repair themselves.

You're giving your bone a chance to remodel and recover. You're eliminating a decreasing the risk of a chronic running related or cycling related stress injury. And you're decreasing the risk of over-training. And if you know any athletes who've suffered from over-training, it's a nightmare. These, these athletes are crushed for a year sometimes or more it can destroy a career.

So,  these are very. Real risks and real issues that rest can help avoid. I don't think that cupping is going to help anything.

Paul: [00:26:33] Okay. That's my view. And I don't want to know not to give a fence to the national cuppers association or anything. I'm sure there is one. If it works for you, God bless you. I just it's, I'm a data guy when it comes to this stuff and it's just not obvious to me what it genuinely does. And as I said, with my, my own experience in my reading of the data is that it's at least equivocal.

If not. For us. So it's just a tough one to figure out exactly what you should do with. So I, I, my answer increasingly when it comes to rest and recovery is that recovery is kind of a math thing for most people about learning how to rest properly.

Howard: [00:27:05] So you're a data guy when it comes to cupping and my fascial release, but not for your breastfeeding.

Paul: [00:27:12] No. I know it's talked to my wife. I'm just ridiculous this way. What's the, what's the Emerson. Why foolish consistency is the bug bear of small minds. I'm inconsistent about all this stuff to them. Dreadful fault.


As you look, as you look out here and do you think people that you talk to are becoming a little bit more sophisticated about this, or is it in terms of this meaning importance of rest that  you, as much as you want to exercise the rest is in many ways equally, if not more important, do you think people are becoming a little bit smarter about this or is this still a, a lecture you have to deliver?

Howard: [00:27:51] , no, they're not. I mean, I think that trainers are, I think the coaches are, so I think that coached athletes run a lower risk of injuries. And over-training so but I don't think that individual runners are, are yet

Paul: [00:28:08] that's my, that's my sense as well. I mean, one of the most positive, if you believe that a lot of what happens in pro sports in some way or another kind of leaks into semipro and then eventually down into amateurs, it's been very interesting over the last. 10 years or so, I'm going to use the English premier league.

As an example, there used to be just absurd, tasked with running, running, running, running, running, running, running, running. When he goes, how many, how far you ran? How many sprints who did, how much running you did in the game a week, a season or whatever. And finally, over the last say, five years, they become very aggressive about everyone's wearing all the players are wearing GPS trackers.

You'll often see photos from training and they're all wearing right. They're wearing vests and GPS trackers, and they know down to it,  Fuel meters, how far they've run that, that week, that day, that session. And they're managing it in a really aggressive way. And it's, and it's paid off. There's great data showing that this, this new, this season aside, cause it's been a bit weird because of the pandemic, but in general.

. The incidents of most overuse injuries related to running distances have really fallen off and that's real testimony to people. Finally getting the message about the importance of, of rest.

Howard: [00:29:18] soccer is incredible. I mean, especially in English football, they, they don't tear. Their ACL is often they, these athletes don't miss many games and I love the series.  A Netflix on like Manchester city and their tanks and their rooms and the number of trainers and their food and diets.

It's really cool. Incredible.

Paul: [00:29:44] , no, it's great. And, and that is what people don't realize is that how long it took to get there because 10 years ago, 15 years ago it was medieval genuinely. Right. And I mean, and in some ways, interestingly, and this is a side story for another time, but I was listening to something the other day where they were talking about how they got religion on this topic.

And a lot of it came actually from transfer of knowledge back from of all places, the NFL. That a few of the, a few coaches in, in the premier league spent a little bit of time in the U S with us soccer teams and got involved with U S NFL teams. And they saw this more scientific approach to managing players, which,  may or may not extend to a lot of things.

The NFL does. I have no idea, but in this specific domain of distance, that this was something that they could bring back to the premier league. And so some of it came from there, which was  interesting.

Howard: [00:30:37] It's really a fantastic,  and hopefully all these training tools are gonna leak out to our bubble, our bubble friends and runners.

Paul: [00:30:47] Yeah. Yeah. Well, I won't be wearing them, so I'll rely on you, but nevertheless, thanks, Howard.

Howard: [00:30:53] Thanks, Paul.