Let me guess what you’ve been up to lately. Does it go something like this? Go to work, stream the Tour de France while you work, leave work, meet your buddies for a ride, try not to spill the beans about the stage results to the poor suckers who cannot stream while at work, sleep, repeat. That’s my favorite way to spend 21 days in July. Maybe throw in a couple of challenging centuries on the weekends to make things more interesting. Daylight is long and, despite the heat, this is a great time to ride as many miles as you can fit into your schedule.
Cyclists know that this is the good life, but it can leave you feeling fatigued with low energy. Still, many of us try to push through the “mid-summer slump”. The power meter says that we are riding strong and we don’t want to miss out on a day on the bike outside! We’ll have to dust off the stinkin’ trainer soon enough, right?
I recently asked Brent to weigh in on this topic and here’s what he had to say:
When you’ve been training very hard and you start to feel exhausted, what you need is some REST!!!
This isn’t always the solution that cyclists want to hear. I know when I’m riding strong, that’s when it’s the most fun and I just want it to keep going. Unfortunately, it’s not realistic or healthy to expect and demand that from our bodies. The past 15 years have taught me the rest and recovery periods are absolutely vital for continued improvement and health. Your body will tell you when it’s time to rest, so practice listening for the cues.
Fatigue can present itself in different ways for each rider so listening to your body and taking notes, figuratively or literally, will help you define your personal plan for recovery. The timing of your recovery can depend on your training goals and ambitions so you will need to make space for it on your training calendar.
For recovery, I recommend adding an easy week to your schedule. Take a few days off the bike and a few days short and easy rides. Focus on sleep, healthy diet, rest and enjoy life off the bike. Use the time you would be riding to tackle a home improvement project or hang with a friend you haven’t made time for with the usual training regime.
After a week or so of stocking up some energy, you can ease back into your cycling schedule with some opening efforts and test your fitness level. There’s a good chance you may not feel super immediately, but once you open back up you will likely be better than ever.
Now, it’s time for me to start reaping the benefits of my recovery time and make the final preparations for the Tour of Utah. There’s still a lot of racing left in the season, but I am definitely looking forward to enjoying some rest and relaxation with each of you at the Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo.