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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 02-21-11, 07:33 PM   #1
bdinger
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to day off or not?

Hi clydes,
What's the general consensus on days off? I just got back on the bike after a six month leave, and it feels great but even while taking it easy I can tell I have a long way to go before I'm back where I was. As such I really don't want to overdo it right out of the gate and frankly its been a long time since I've been this out of shape.

So.. days off. Good or horrible?
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Old 02-21-11, 07:37 PM   #2
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Ride slow, ride often, rest when you need it.
Have fun with it.
You will become stronger the more you can ride.
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Old 02-21-11, 07:37 PM   #3
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I got a trainer for Christmas this year and have been riding it every day for at least 30 minutes. I took one day off last week because I was traveling all week and skipped the exercise bike in the hotel. I'm a diabetic, and my blood sugars were higher the next day. So I plan on riding every day. A day off will be a light easy ride.

To answer your question, a day off is horrible.
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Old 02-21-11, 07:47 PM   #4
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Day off good. Body need break.
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Old 02-21-11, 07:56 PM   #5
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I need them to keep from getting stale. Without days off I sometimes find myself dreading the upcoming ride, just a little. <ducking>
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Old 02-21-11, 08:02 PM   #6
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Hi clydes,
What's the general consensus on days off? I just got back on the bike after a six month leave, and it feels great but even while taking it easy I can tell I have a long way to go before I'm back where I was. As such I really don't want to overdo it right out of the gate and frankly its been a long time since I've been this out of shape.

So.. days off. Good or horrible?
OK, depending. If your legs feel like lead, or you start hating the bike, then take some time off. This is supposed to be fun.
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Old 02-21-11, 08:23 PM   #7
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One question I'd have is: What makes you want to take a day off? Are you injured? Do you feel like not riding on a particular day?

I have what I refer to as a throttle-control issue. I'm either wide open or stop, on or off, black or white, all or nothing. So back when I was running, I'd run as much as I could, even risking injury. When I got in to cycling, the same thing.

Since then, I have learned that rest days are, in fact, needed. Physiologically, it gives the muscles time to rest and regenerate. Mentally, if you go too long while ignoring a desire to stop, you'll burn out. As a subset of this, if you force yourself to continuously do long distances (as in "I really must do 50 miles today") then cycling becomes a chore and you'll want to do it less and less. Finally, if you are injured, you should most definitely rest - that pulled muscle/torqued knee/tweaked Achilles is not going to heal if you keep hassling it.

In short: Listen to your body. If you feel you need to take a day off, take it. Do something else instead of riding (hiking, running, swimming, whatever), if you're worried about falling back into your old ways. Then...get back on the bike!
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Old 02-21-11, 09:00 PM   #8
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Great replies here, and its pointing me in the right direction. Right now I'm forcing myself to go slow and will take a day of if the. Snow flies or my body tells me to. Right noe it's pretty easy to take it easy as even if I hit the gas, well, there's not much there .

Incidentally my wife reminded me that 2008 started out exactly the same and ended with me at my lowest weight and having completed a gruelling 136 mile gravel ride.
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Old 02-21-11, 09:05 PM   #9
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Great replies here, and its pointing me in the right direction. Right now I'm forcing myself to go slow and will take a day of if the. Snow flies or my body tells me to. Right noe it's pretty easy to take it easy as even if I hit the gas, well, there's not much there .

Incidentally my wife reminded me that 2008 started out exactly the same and ended with me at my lowest weight and having completed a gruelling 136 mile gravel ride.
Yes, and you became my hero. I wanna be you when I grow up. Aside from living in Nebraska, of course. :-)
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Old 02-21-11, 09:46 PM   #10
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I believe in 2 types of recovery--active and passive.

Active recovery is an easy spin day or a cross training day. Passive recovery is a complete day off.

If you start to feel any signs of over training syndrome, you need time off!
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Old 02-21-11, 11:48 PM   #11
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Hi clydes,
What's the general consensus on days off?
If you're going to stress yourself enough to improve quickly (get faster, go farther, burn more calories in less time) you need recovery days, weeks, and months.

If you lack the patience to ride really slow (half as hard as you can manage for an hour) or are completely shot one or both of your recovery days during the week should be off the bike.

Traditionally every fourth week is a rest week - five or six relatively easy days.

That generally repeats for 12 weeks with increasing stress (time or intensity) unless you taper to be fresh for events, you might keep most of your fitness for up to a month longer, then take 4-6 weeks where you ride at a comfortable endurance pace until you recover and repeat the process.

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So.. days off. Good or horrible?
Good. Necessary to reach peak fitness and not crash from over-training.
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Old 02-22-11, 05:21 AM   #12
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Yes you need "Days off". How much and how often is such a complex subject that even if you had a personal trainer they might get it wrong. I would error on the side of too many.
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Old 02-22-11, 07:59 AM   #13
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Yes you need to take days off. Treat it like weight lifting, you don't lift the same muscle group ever day in the gym. When you are on the bike you are using the same muscles over and over, they need time to rest and build stronger. Repeated use will weaken the muscles, rest time is when they rebuild and become stronger to deal with the increased load they have been placed under.

If you are just doing light riding to build your endurance back up I would think you could get away with two rest days a week.
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Old 02-22-11, 09:52 AM   #14
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A day off is good. Your body needs the recovery time. You don't have to do nothing on that day either, you can just do something else.
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Old 02-22-11, 10:04 AM   #15
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If you truly stress a muscle, it takes at least 24 hours for the regeneration process to take place. So if you're hammering away on Monday, and do the same thing on Tuesday, you really aren't letting yourself get stronger. If you want to ride every day, great. Hammer on Monday, practice a high cadence on Tuesday -- or something like that. Let your muscles regenerate after a particularly hard ride and you'll get stronger, quicker.
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Old 02-22-11, 12:56 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bdinger View Post
Hi clydes,
What's the general consensus on days off? I just got back on the bike after a six month leave, and it feels great but even while taking it easy I can tell I have a long way to go before I'm back where I was. As such I really don't want to overdo it right out of the gate and frankly its been a long time since I've been this out of shape.

So.. days off. Good or horrible?
Personally, I found I made better progress when I took at least one day a week off from cycling. Then I found that I made even better progress when I found that a day off from cycling didn't mean no activity. I have since reduced my riding to five days a week, and go to the gym the other two. The off days seem to help a lot. One thing is that I don't do two off days in a row. For me my off bike days are Monday and Friday...
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Old 02-22-11, 02:42 PM   #17
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The problem is the bikes that you have posted in your signature. How can you take a day off with those just beautiful machines just lying around?

Here is what you should do, send them to me. That way you won't be tempted to ride and your dilemma is solved.

I am a solutions oriented poster after all ;-).
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Old 02-22-11, 04:29 PM   #18
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I love to ride, but I also love my days off. Passive recovery days mean that I take my regularly scheduled gym or ride time and go spend time in the hot tub, then the sauna or steam room. Gotta keep the muscles loose.
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Old 02-22-11, 05:19 PM   #19
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Hi clydes,
What's the general consensus on days off? I just got back on the bike after a six month leave, and it feels great but even while taking it easy I can tell I have a long way to go before I'm back where I was. As such I really don't want to overdo it right out of the gate and frankly its been a long time since I've been this out of shape.

So.. days off. Good or horrible?
It depends, when you in training mode or distance building mode, then days off can really work for you, in that rest days mean a few things:

1) You recover on the rest days, so you can hammer on the ride days
2) If your supposed to ride certain days and have off days, you can switch around, rather then miss completely.
3) You don't burn out as quickly.

If you ride, just to ride, then it doesn't really matter, ride when you want to and more important things don't get in the way, although you need to make sure you don't put too many off days in a row or all of a sudden the last ride was a couple of months ago.
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Old 02-22-11, 08:36 PM   #20
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I actually took today off from everything, I think last night's post was spurred by more of a general burnout than anything related to the bike. Called in to work, did some work around the house, napped in a recliner.. it was a good day.

Tomorrow I'm ready to go commuting again. 18 on the way in and 53 on the way home. How do you dress for that nonsense???? LOL
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