Is it time to rest?

by Arlyn on January 8, 2009

My legs are really sore. How do you know when it’s time to rest? Training uses a simple, amazing principle. When you apply stress to the human body, it reacts by adapting and even overcompensating to better handle that stress in the future. The key is that the adaption and overcompensation occurs during rest. Knowing when to rest and when to train hard is important.

Joe Friels, The Cyclists Training BibleI’m currently using Joe Friel’s, The Cyclists Training Bible to build my training plan. I like that he takes a methodical, analytical approach to training. One idea in the book that resonated with me is that it’s not how many miles, but what you do with the miles that counts the most. This is important to me because I want to balance my training plan with my full-time job and being a father, husband and friend.

I’m currently in the Build 2 phase of my training plan which includes three high-intensity and three low-intensity workouts a week. Balancing my life means that I can find time to work out 4 days a week. So, I drop the low-intensity days and basically train every other day.

Joe spends a lot of time talking about overtraining. I don’t worry too much about it though, since I’m skipping the low-intensity days. Even at my advanced age (39!), I should be able to recover properly.

Except that my legs have been hurting. They were a weak on Sunday’s ride with the Descenders and on Tuesday’s Tour de Scripps Ranch (hill day) they were achy and I was not able to go 100% uphill.

So, do I need more rest? Or do I trust in my plan and keep rolling?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark January 8, 2009 at 3:39 pm

My philosophy is, “listen to your body.” If it’s telling you it’s tired, then you’re tired. The book/plan is a guideline, not a strict regimen that must be followed to the letter. I know you well enough to know that if your thinking you’re tired, then you are. You are not one to give into a little ache or soreness. Take an extra day off and rest – you will benefit from it. Push your body too hard, too early, and you may injure yourself – and that will definitely cost you some time off the bike.

Bullet January 8, 2009 at 7:56 pm

I agree with Mark. I’m reading one of Joe’s books as well. It’s doubtful that you are getting the full benefit of the intense workouts if you are going in tired. Check your nutrition and make sure you are taking in the right nutrients after an intense workout to help your body recover properly.

Arlyn January 9, 2009 at 12:31 pm

@Mark: These are all good points. I decided to do not skip my Thursday workout, but do flat-road work instead of hill sprints like I had originally planned.

@Bullet: Good point on the nutrition and underscores my decision to quit drinking in preparation for my first road race. I felt much better on yesterday’s interval ride.

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