As I sit here writing this, I am subdued with a mountain of grogginess. Not something any amount of coffee will resolve but I promise I will certainly try to with as much caffeine as possible.
After an arduous spring I have finally been able to devote more time for my personal fitness. So I did what any normal person would do and jumped straight back into training like I hadn’t miss a single day — 7 days a week with moderate amounts of intensity. I’ve been riding my bike more and also started with off-bike, gym sessions to compliment the riding. Some days it would be both off-bike gym work in the morning and a ride in the afternoon/evening. Soreness and fatigue will not hold me down. I am going to beat fitness back into my body. The more I suffer, the better I am getting — no pain, no gain — right?
Let’s look at a training program, any training program. You pick the desired goal. It could be muscular endurance, muscular strength, TT’ing or CX…..it doesn’t matter. Each of the training programs are unique but share some common themes. There is a beginning phase (base, foundation), some sort of adaptation to get ready for increased work load, and a big building phase where the goal is to increase strength. All of this is followed by a “peak”, if you will and then repeated to some degree.
Also common to any training plan, and perhaps the most important is rest. Rest should occur on both a micro and macro level throughout your training and you should treat it as if it were gold! It is here that many of us will reap the benefits of the suffering that’s happening in training. That soreness from that sprint workout you did last night are you muscles screaming for rest. That soreness is damage to your muscles, a necessary stress in the journey of improvement, but something that needs to be treated with respect. It is during these periods of rest that will allow us to continue to give our best during training.
We are not professional athletes. I believe it is harder for the amateur athlete than it is for a professional regarding rest. It is not our job to train, eat, sleep, and repeat. As amateurs, we need to be more diligent in monitoring ourselves, our efforts in training, and most importantly rest….whenever we can get it. It is not easy to come by so take it when you can.
Without adequate rest you risk becoming overtrained and completely ruining the work you have already done. Without adequate rest we do not let our muscles heal, recover, or strengthen. Without adequate rest your performance is inadequate.
Today is my rest day. A day to let the body rejuvenate and recover, to be better tomorrow.*
*Rest days should not include taking a 3 year old to a PIY farm where you have to drag a 30lb metal wagon over rolling terrain, trying not to spill all the berries you have already picked.