Hiking to Recovery

I got to spend this long weekend with my Dad, hiking on a beautiful spring day, in Rouge Park here in Toronto.  This time of year is very cool.  You have the remnant of winter, a little frost and a little snow in the more shaded areas of the hills and rocky terrain.  At the same time, most of the snow is gone, exposing dormant vegetation.

Going through a very woodland-ish trail with paths cut into rocky elevations and depressions, its so easy to get lost in the splendor of the forest.  We had the chance to go with a hiking group where the experience of: climbing semi-icy hills and hopping over streams brought more adventure than any lifting session could.  Hiking has power to it.  The experience was almost Tolkien in nature, as our merry band of adventurers meandered through the great forest of Rouge Park.

Hiking’s ability to let us escape into nature is incredible.  When you don’t have any cars, buildings, or sounds of the city, you just feel like sitting down for a moment and taking in the natural landscape around you.

Training in the gym all the time you lose sight of how awesome it is to just escape into nature.  Its liberating.  Through heavy tree canopies that provide shade from the sun to just hearing the sound of a stream as water thrashes over rocks, is enthralling to the senses.

We talk about stepping away from training for a moment to recharge.  Whether that be a day, a week, or the length of one of your training cycles (a few weeks), the time to ease emotional stress is so helpful.  Its a more abstract type of restorative work.  In one way you are getting physical benefit from long, low-intensity work from the actual walking.  However, you also get a mental reprieve from just walking through a very low-arousal environment.  That experience, can be incredibly gratifying as you return to your more stimulating forms of physical activity.

The most enlightening sight of that trail was finishing up with the trail guide in front of a serene pond that you looked down upon in a reservoir.  Just a blue sky, a cool wind, and some geese swimming on top of the calming water.

A great recovery day all in all.