I know there have been previous threads on this topic, but i have some specific questions.
Over the past 3 months I have been riding a lot more than than i normally do. My program has consisted of intense XC mountain bike rides of 1.5 - 2 hour durations at least every second day. On the alternate days I do approximately 55 minutes of (mainly upper-body) weights and about 50 minutes of walking as well as an easier road ride for approximately 50 minutes. I virtually never have complete rest days.
Over the past 6 or 7 weeks i have been having what i now realise are classic symptoms of overtraining. These include extreme lethargy/tiredness (particularly of the leg muscles), loss of interests, mood changes and weight loss among other things.
I understand that I will probably require a long period of rest or reduced activity to fully recover from these symptoms. However, there are some XC races coming up in a few weeks and i wish to recover as soon as possible with minimal or no loss of fitness.
My questions are:
In order to recover as quickly as possible, would it be effective to simply reduce the intensity and volume of riding that i do and include at least 1 rest day in every week? Or will recovery require many days of complete rest (eg no physical activity)? Which method is best?
Is it a bad idea to continue the upper-body workouts while i'm waiting for my legs to recover?
Also, how long can I expect recovery to take? When can I start strenuous riding again?
And is it possible to make a full recovery without losing any fitness?
Any advice/assistance would be greatly appreciated.