What does time off mean for a professional rugby player?

Rachael Burford, Two Chicks ambassador and Professional Rugby Player is used to hard work, but even professionals need some down time! In this blog post Rachael talks about what time off for her looks like.

People always ask what a typical training day looks like, but I thought I would also share what time off looks like for an athlete and the positives about allowing your mind and body to rest so you can feel refreshed again. I’m no expert but I know what works for me, it’s a case of trying to find what works for you.

Taking rest is always welcome, most people have the luxury to book themselves a summer holiday and then count down the days to get there. It’s the same for athletes, we look forward to our rest days and weeks off from work/training.

IMG_4933Switching off mentally

I find it hard to switch off from rugby because not only is it my profession, but I have also set up Burford Academy, so when I’m not training I spend a lot of my time working. Having a rugby/life balance is not easy, it can be difficult to stop training because your worried that your fitness levels will drop or your lose speed or put on weight. Yes these thoughts go through our minds as well, not to mention the horrible DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) you get when you start training again – it’s horrible! But you have to listen to experts, in our case our strength and conditioning coach and take a break.

As you age you get to understand your body and listen to what it is telling you. If you’re exhausted you’re probably depleted of certain nutrients and your muscles and body aren’t recovering so stop! Rest and recover and then make your sessions worthwhile!

What I try to do to switch off is get away from my normal routine and environment so I normally head back home to Kent and see family and friends. I always visit Rochester High Street and my favourite coffee shop, The Deaf Cat. There I can relax by either meeting friends, taking my mum or sister there or even doing some Academy work. It’s always so refreshing to change your surroundings. I also try and see my nephews Henry, Jack and Jamie. They are such a handful but lovable to be around and they remind you that there is more to life than rugby and the rugby bubble I live in most of the time. We have two dogs Roxy and Freddy, again another handful and always wanting attention. We live next to a river where I take the dogs for long walks when the weather is good, one of my favourite things to do along the river Medway.IMG_3752

Physical Rest

Your body physically needs the rest to allow your joints and muscles to repair and regenerate, this will allow you to train harder and smarter when you return. We put our bodies under a lot of stress when we train and especially in a contact sport. My body needs time to regenerate, this helps stop the breakdown and wear and tear of my muscle and joints.

I don’t completely stop…

Even though I’m not full-on training I still stay active just in different forms. During my week off I will walk the dogs, attend hot yoga a few times a week, and swimming is a great way to stay active without putting your body under stress. Finishing off with a steam room or sauna warming your joints and muscles.

Make sure you take time out from what you do on a daily basis, learn to take a break. It doesn’t have to be abroad, it can be as simple as planning a night with the girls or lads, a family get together or simply reading a book and having a cuppa.

Just remember to slow down every now and then!


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