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Old 02-03-14, 09:00 AM   #1
Tall Cool One
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How often should you do a rest/light week when you're training?

I'm in week 8 of my return to being semi-serious about fitness. I started out in week 1 doing 4-30 minute workouts a week where I spend 70% of the time in the 70-80% HR zone and 10% of the time in the 80-90% zone. I have worked up to where this week I had planned to use the same zones with 3-50 minute workouts and 1-40 minute workout with the above zones.

Through yesterday, I felt good doing the workouts and had no problem getting into the HR zones I was attempting. Yesterday when I was attempting a 40 minute workout, I simply could not get my HR up to the proper level. I tried for 15 minutes and was just beating myself into oblivion and simply couldn't get into the 70-80% zone no matter how fast I spun and no matter what gear I tried. At that point I said the heck with it and dropped down into the small chain ring and spun the rest of the workout.

Am I in need of a rest/light week? If so, how little should I do? How often should I schedule a rest week in the future?

That is all.

TCO
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Old 02-03-14, 11:30 AM   #2
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I'm in week 8 of my return to being semi-serious about fitness. I started out in week 1 doing 4-30 minute workouts a week where I spend 70% of the time in the 70-80% HR zone and 10% of the time in the 80-90% zone. I have worked up to where this week I had planned to use the same zones with 3-50 minute workouts and 1-40 minute workout with the above zones.

Through yesterday, I felt good doing the workouts and had no problem getting into the HR zones I was attempting. Yesterday when I was attempting a 40 minute workout, I simply could not get my HR up to the proper level. I tried for 15 minutes and was just beating myself into oblivion and simply couldn't get into the 70-80% zone no matter how fast I spun and no matter what gear I tried. At that point I said the heck with it and dropped down into the small chain ring and spun the rest of the workout.

Am I in need of a rest/light week? If so, how little should I do? How often should I schedule a rest week in the future?

That is all.

TCO
I am not really very experienced/knowledgable, but since no one else has answered, I'll give you my take.

Your experience today means you should take a week off. I usually plan one week entirely off every 8-12 weeks and a half-effort week every 3-4 weeks. But I've been doing this training-thing for less than a year, so you maybe shouldn't take what I say as gospel. It also depends on your age, sex, baseline level of fitness and the intensity of what you are doing.

So until someone more knowledgable answers, stay off the bike.

H
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Old 02-03-14, 12:08 PM   #3
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It depends. Age, experience training, propensity to injury, the intensity of your training plan's current cycle, etc.

I can speak for myself though. I have been training for 5 years or so and riding for 8ish. Late 30s age wise.
I rarely schedule back to back difficult days. I like to beat myself down one day and take it easier the next. The level of intensity the day after a difficult workout is determined by how I feel that day. It can be a z1 to z3 workout. Each week has one day off and several recovery days.
Experimenting over the last couple years has lead me to believe that off days are not as valuable as active recovery for me.
Every third of fourth week is a recovery week where most of my rides are in z1. Maintaining zone 1 is quite the interesting task.
I rarely take full weeks off as I have found that they do not tend to help me fitness wise but the mental break is sometimes a positive.

The whole idea is to stress your body and then give it a chance to rebuild stronger.
I would say try several recovery type efforts or off days in the week and schedule a rest week every 4th week. There is a nice side benefit of not burning out as well.
Play around with it.
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Old 02-03-14, 12:18 PM   #4
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I'm going to disagree.

30 minutes 4 times a week is generally not enough load to cause overtraining or warrant a break.

Secondly, taking a whole week off is not advisable. If you want a break, do a few easy spinning sessions or cut down to 1 ride/week. You don't want to go more than 5-6 days continuously off the bike.

I have days like the one you describe occasionally, I'm not sure what causes them, but it's not overtraining. Try again tomorrow, I'm pretty sure you'll do better.
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Old 02-03-14, 12:37 PM   #5
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I'm going to disagree.

30 minutes 4 times a week is generally not enough load to cause overtraining or warrant a break.

Secondly, taking a whole week off is not advisable. If you want a break, do a few easy spinning sessions or cut down to 1 ride/week. You don't want to go more than 5-6 days continuously off the bike.

I have days like the one you describe occasionally, I'm not sure what causes them, but it's not overtraining. Try again tomorrow, I'm pretty sure you'll do better.
I would definately listen to Hamster's advice over mine.

H
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Old 02-03-14, 12:46 PM   #6
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There are a ton of things that can influence our day to day performance and heart rate. Sleep or lack there of, hydration, diet, etc. As well as exercise related muscular fatigue.

I can't tell you what has caused your off day.

But, most the published training plans will encourage one, "if in doubt, rest." You shouldn't need to get off the bike completely. But, just ease up for a few days. See how you feel after 4-7 days at a reduced work load. Then reapply yourself.

In answer to your direct question about how frequently "recovery" or "rest" weeks are normally scheduled: Depending on the nature of the plan, the intesnity of the workouts and the total accumulated fatigue, most plans will have a "recovery" week ever third or fourth week. Recovery weeks still include a fair bit of training, but, at reduced intensity and duration to allow muscles to repair actively after weeks of overload. Again, depending on the plan, "rest" weeks, which contain little to no training, may beschedule after 8-12 weeks, or not at all. It all depends.
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Old 02-03-14, 12:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
I would definately listen to Hamster's advice over mine.

H
+1

I usually find myself taking 1 week off after 3 weeks training. My usual training week is

Mondays: 0ff
Tuesday: Base INtervals 1-2 hours
Wednesday: Easy 1 hour
Thursdays: High intensity INtervals 1-2hours
Firdays: easy 1 hour
Saturday: Balls out 2-3 hours
Sunday: Endurance / Tempo 4-5 hours.

Recovery week:

Mondays: off
Tusdays: .5 hour easy
Wed: 1 hour easy
Thursday: .5 hour easy
Friday: .5 hour easy or off
Saturday: balls out 2 hours
Sunday: tempo 2 hours.
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Old 02-03-14, 01:45 PM   #8
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I would definately listen to Hamster's advice over mine.

H
btw I was kidding with my +1 response Your opinion is as valid as anybody else is!
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Old 02-03-14, 01:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamster View Post

30 minutes 4 times a week is generally not enough load to cause overtraining or warrant a break.
That was week 1 of the 8 weeks. I'm now up to 3 50 minute sessions and 1 40 minute session.

I know my training load is low. But, I was almost completely out of shape when I started back up again. 2 years ago I was doing 180 mile weeks.
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Old 02-03-14, 01:59 PM   #10
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What is average for one is underwhelming for another and too much for someone else. It is all relative.
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Old 02-03-14, 01:59 PM   #11
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btw I was kidding with my +1 response Your opinion is as valid as anybody else is!
Sure my opinion is as valid, but it is based on way less knowledge/experience, so the advice in the end should not carry equal weight. That's just a fact that and something that is maybe not immediately evident on an Internet forum.

In fact it would be semi-helpful if most advice here was offered up with a disclaimer. For example, "I'm a 25 year old male racer and you're a middle-aged endurance-oriented lady, so my advice might not totally hold, but..."

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Old 02-03-14, 02:03 PM   #12
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As someone already said, you can't always predict when a bad day might happen. Previous training loads, age, sleep, diet and overall outlook (stress) affects how you perform. Sure, your training isn't as much as some others, but the current level is high compared to where you started. I would start out tomorrow being completely open and flexible - be prep quit if you don't feel good after ten or fifteen minutes of going easy.

I also agree a day of active rest is better than a day off completely. But let your body tell you that. If you continuously push while fatigued, you set yourself up for all sorts of possible problems down the road.
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Old 02-03-14, 10:34 PM   #13
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In fact it would be semi-helpful if most advice here was offered up with a disclaimer. For example, "I'm a 25 year old male racer and you're a middle-aged endurance-oriented lady, so my advice might not totally hold, but..."
I do try to adjust my advice based on the person I'm addressing, and try to hedge my statements (note the word "generally" in my first response) (obviously, I can't be accurate for everyone everywhere). In this case, though the person who asked the question did not give much personal info and I can't rule out the possibility that he's a 75 year old with COPD, it's pretty unlikely that he is overtraining. Standard CDC guidelines call for at least 2.5 hours/week and, ideally, 5 hours/week of moderate-intensity cardio for adults. 3x50 + 1x40 is just over 3 hours. Personally, I started cycling regularly about 2 years ago, I was up to 6-8 hours/week by the end of the first month and I managed to log 55 hours in 3 weeks by the end of the second month.

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As someone already said, you can't always predict when a bad day might happen. Previous training loads, age, sleep, diet and overall outlook (stress) affects how you perform. Sure, your training isn't as much as some others, but the current level is high compared to where you started. I would start out tomorrow being completely open and flexible - be prep quit if you don't feel good after ten or fifteen minutes of going easy.
Agreed. Get a good night sleep and try tomorrow, if it does not help, maybe you do need some extra rest.
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Old 02-03-14, 10:53 PM   #14
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I do try to adjust my advice based on the person I'm addressing, and try to hedge my statements (note the word "generally" in my first response) (obviously, I can't be accurate for everyone everywhere).
I was not actually referring to you. You write answers to questions that are long enough (and well-written enough) that you are clearly thinking about what you write, not everyone does that. Mostly I was trying to make the point to laberrios1 that although we are all entitled to our opinions, not all opinions/answers are equally valid. Some of them come from a postion of greater knowledge, experience, or even just more care in answering the question.

H

PS thanks for answering my training questions. If I won the lottery and didn't have a $ care in the world, I might just go get a degree in exercise physiology. Either that or law school, but that's a different thing altogether.
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Old 02-04-14, 03:45 PM   #15
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I personally don't rest for more than three days straight.
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Old 02-04-14, 04:08 PM   #16
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I take an easy week when I feel I need one. I do have an easy week scheduled every 4th week, but sometimes I take one earlier or later. I never take a week off unless I go on a bikeless vacation. 2 days at the most.

What/how much are you eating? Are you on some diet/trying to lose weight? Sounds like it might be depleted glycogen to me.
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Old 02-04-14, 08:53 PM   #17
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With less than 1 year experience I have found out taking one day off is enough rest for me. I have started doing a block where I would train 2 days in a row then take one day off. My training looks like this,

Monday - 1.5hr on trainer. 85% effort intervals
Tuesday - Core workout
Wednesday - 1.5 on trainer. 85% effort intervals
Thursday- Core work out
Friday - rest
Saturday 3 hours at Z3,Z4
Sunday - off
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