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Old 06-16-05, 05:09 PM   #1
HWS
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Rest Days

How important is it to take rest days? I typicaly ride 10 to 15 miles a day and one day a week I ride 25 or so (gonna do 50 Saturday). I usually try to ride pretty hard as I have fallen victim to the dreaded "average speed demon" on my cycloputer.
I sometimes feel like I need to rest and tell myself I'm going to take it easy, but it never seems to happen. Do you sometimes have to force yourself not to ride?
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Old 06-16-05, 05:23 PM   #2
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If you don't want to take a day off completely, you can have an "easy" day and force yourself to stay below a certain speed, heartrate or power output. Rest is only important if you want to get faster. There's a line from 'The Cyclists Training Bible' that goes something like this: "Most people go too hard when they should be going easy, and not hard enough when they should be going hard, and as a result, all of their training becomes mediocore." If you take easy/off days, you will be able to push yourself harder on the other days.
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Old 06-16-05, 05:23 PM   #3
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I don't think rest days necessarly need to be spent doing nothing but it is important to reduce the intensity of your training enough to allow your muscles time to rebuild. I personally try and split up the exercises I do so that I never work one muscle group 2 days in a row. Generally that means running 1 day of the week, riding 3 days and then doing light strength training the other 3
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Old 06-16-05, 06:41 PM   #4
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Moistfly, this is a bit off topic, but major points for the FSOL avatar!
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Old 06-16-05, 06:46 PM   #5
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Other than doing 50 or 60 push ups and crunches 4 or 5 days a week, all I do is cycle. Maybe I need to train myself to have a easy bike day and take the 'puter off for that ride.
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Old 06-16-05, 07:48 PM   #6
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fwiw, I usually do rides ranging from 13-26 miles during the week, and then a long ride on the weekend (53 miles on average).

Last weekend I did my first metric century. The day after, I did a half an hour of gentle riding around. The 2nd day I did nothing whatsoever. Then on the third day I found I was miraculously faster and climbing hills that used to tire me out with great gusto.

I think rest is a great idea, it gives your muscles a chance to get ready for the next onslaught.
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Old 06-16-05, 11:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juf2m
fwiw, I usually do rides ranging from 13-26 miles during the week, and then a long ride on the weekend (53 miles on average).

Last weekend I did my first metric century. The day after, I did a half an hour of gentle riding around. The 2nd day I did nothing whatsoever. Then on the third day I found I was miraculously faster and climbing hills that used to tire me out with great gusto.

I think rest is a great idea, it gives your muscles a chance to get ready for the next onslaught.
Agreed. I did a huge ride on Sunday (about 70 miles in 90+ heat on rolling hills), which was exhausting. Monday, I did no riding. Tuesday, I felt a little better and did an easy ride. Then Wednesday, I went out and had the ride of my life. I felt incredibly strong.

It makes no sense to go hard all the time. When the muscles can't heal, it can't grow stronger, which means you'll never progress. If you don't want to get better, then don't take time off.

I'm not even saying you need a day off completely, but you need to learn how to do a recovery ride. Light spinning of the legs is a god way of getting in a little bit of exercise without prolonging the damage done from the riding you've been doing.

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Old 06-17-05, 01:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moistfly
I don't think rest days necessarly need to be spent doing nothing but it is important to reduce the intensity of your training enough to allow your muscles time to rebuild.
There are two things you can adjust on recovery days: intensity and volume. Intensity (level of effort) times volume (time) is the important relation for determing physiological stress. If you go long, go easy. If you go short, you can up the intensity somewhat.
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Old 06-17-05, 04:56 AM   #9
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Thanks for the input everyone. I'm going to spend today catching up on some much delayed projects around the house and do a little work on my bike. I promised myself that I would go for 50 miles this weekend so I'll do that on Saturday.
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Old 06-17-05, 06:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HWS
How important is it to take rest days? I typicaly ride 10 to 15 miles a day and one day a week I ride 25 or so (gonna do 50 Saturday). I usually try to ride pretty hard as I have fallen victim to the dreaded "average speed demon" on my cycloputer.
I sometimes feel like I need to rest and tell myself I'm going to take it easy, but it never seems to happen. Do you sometimes have to force yourself not to ride?
Our club is made up of quite an array of hammerheads so we designate certain days "spinning days." I believe in active rather than passive rest. I believe one does better to take an easy spinning day where you supply blood, but not lactic acid to your legs. I also subscribe to the philosphy that training in intermediate HR zones accomplishes nothing. Hence, one should train either in the 90% HR zone - which builds strength and LT, or in the 65% zone which enhances recovery. Those that train in zones between those two are accomplishing neither. Having said that, I have been hammering so hard the last few days, that my body said "stay off the effing bike today idiot," and I decided to comply. But having said that, I intend to inflict serious damage to my training partners on the Saturday morning ride!
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Old 06-17-05, 09:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skydive69
I also subscribe to the philosphy that training in intermediate HR zones accomplishes nothing. Hence, one should train either in the 90% HR zone - which builds strength and LT, or in the 65% zone which enhances recovery. Those that train in zones between those two are accomplishing neither.
Glad you wrote "philosophy", because there's a body of science that says those intermediate intensity levels are beneficial. And since fatigue limits the amount of time one can train at 90%, those other levels become even more important to a training program. "Tempo" isn't just for fun.
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Old 06-17-05, 09:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrymorse
Glad you wrote "philosophy", because there's a body of science that says those intermediate intensity levels are beneficial. And since fatigue limits the amount of time one can train at 90%, those other levels become even more important to a training program. "Tempo" isn't just for fun.
And your point is well taken Terry. Intuitively, it feels that those intermediate training zones would be beneficial for base building purposes. Having said that, I can tell you that my experience running on a national class level has led me to believe that philosophy has a lot of merit. I have always been a hard trainer, and the results seem to come quick in that mode. The body is simply forced to adapt to the increased demands and recruits new fibers in many forms to bring into battle against the brain that is forcing the hand of the body. I know that through applying the "philosophy" that I alluded to, I went from not being a cylist to breaking a state time trial record with 11 months of very hard training. I find that I don't have time to waste in the intermediate zones, and wait until I am virtually forced into the lower areas by simply listening to my body.

Again, however, it works for the Olympian interviewed - it's not easy to get to the Olympics these days, and of course coach Fred Methany has been a very successful coach for many years teaching the 65% or 90% effort philosophy.

The bottom line however is that as my deceased friend Dr. George Sheehan used to say, "We are all an experiment of one." Some, unfortunately, just like high school chemistry class, are boring experiments!
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Old 06-17-05, 09:58 AM   #13
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Yeah but how much of that progress was due to your innate ability to begin with, training aside.
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Old 06-17-05, 11:55 AM   #14
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I read that U.S. Olympic athletes train like this: two days on, two days off. Not sure if that would work for us nonworld class athletes with mere mortal training methods. I usually listen to my body and take a rest day when I need it. Sometimes one day, sometimes two days. Sometimes three days in a week, sometimes two. Just go with how your body feels.
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Old 06-17-05, 12:31 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jbonus
I read that U.S. Olympic athletes train like this: two days on, two days off. Not sure if that would work for us nonworld class athletes with mere mortal training methods. I usually listen to my body and take a rest day when I need it. Sometimes one day, sometimes two days. Sometimes three days in a week, sometimes two. Just go with how your body feels.
You may have read it, but it is not true. My fiance's son was on the national team for two years, and when they were training for the olympics in Colorado Springs, it was two workouts a day, not two days on and two days off. Maybe the olympic tiddly winks grammer school team trains that way, but no world-class athlete trains that way.
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Old 06-17-05, 12:35 PM   #16
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Yeah but how much of that progress was due to your innate ability to begin with, training aside.
Unfortunately, genetics plays a major roll in most athletic endeavors. Lance was measured as the highest VO2max score ever recorded at the Cooper Clinic when he was 16. I was lucky enough to be blessed with aerobic type genetics. When I was a kid, I ran a 5:36 mile with no training, hence I was in fact blessed with great genetics for aerobic sports. Genetics, however, will take you only so far, and genetics coupled with very hard training is what makes champions.
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Old 06-18-05, 08:37 AM   #17
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I am not a training expert - but I'm learning the best advice anyone can give me is to "get in tune with your body and listen to it." How do you feel? Do you feel like you're lagging? (Take it easy then.) Do you feel like you can hammer it home? (Then go for it!) The fact of the matter is if you don't understand your body's natural rhythms, you'll be pushing it when you should be pulling and pulling when you should be pushing.
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Old 06-18-05, 09:02 AM   #18
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Lately, I have been doing doing fast-and-flat 30-milers three weekdays, and one hilly 60-miler on Sunday. That leaves three days off - since I commute a very modest 8-10 miles each weekday, I get active recovery on those days... most importantly that Monday after my hardest ride. It's a new routine for me, so I am a bit fatigued, but it feels more comfortable already. The only other exercises I do are deadlifts for my hams, and crunches - these are for strength balance though, not to build muscle/endurance.

Saturday is complete rest. Right now I am laying in bed, having prepped for a huge brunch for me and my late-sleeping teens. After eating this meal, I have no doubt that there will be more relaxation on tap!
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Old 06-18-05, 09:12 AM   #19
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If I had to train at 90% all the time, my training rides would be VERY short.
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Old 06-18-05, 11:05 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juf2m
If I had to train at 90% all the time, my training rides would be VERY short.
It's not that one should train at 90% all the time - it's that when you "train" it should be at 90%, and when you recover it should be at 65%. The secret is to find the best combination for you, and you alone. We are all an experiement of one. Perhaps one or two "training" rides a week is sufficient for you, and the rest should be recovery. Others might do well on a more challenging schedule. Of course, it also comes down to goals. If one is simply a fitness rider, there is no point killing oneself. If one expects to compete, and compete successfully, one must train the body to deal with lactic acid and oxygen debt - both of which tend to raise lactate threshold which in turn enhances your ability to race sucessfully.

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Old 06-18-05, 05:04 PM   #21
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Ah, well I am just a regular rider who wants to be in good shape and improve. When I am killing myself on hills I get to 90%, but the rest of the time I am in the 80% ish range. When going on flats or downhill, it goes lower. I can't help that...anyway, my rides have a lot of variety!
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Old 06-20-05, 08:42 PM   #22
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There's nothing better than a rest day. I can see it coming two days prior.
One a week when I was racing at my best. Now that I'm older, I take two a week.

There's nothing better than taking a full week off the bike in August. It pays big dividends in Spetember and October.
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