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Active Rest Days

Old 04-16-23, 07:32 AM
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Active Rest Days

I have been reading of the concept of active rest days where one can obtain the benefits of rest by doing something different (i.e., not cycling) or by doing the same thing in a more relaxed manner, such as a long and very slow ride. I am not happy with doing nothing and wonder if any folks here have tried long, slow cycling as a rest day. If so, has it worked for you?
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Old 04-16-23, 09:46 AM
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Yes, I've found it helps.

Back in the day, I used to run quite hard, long distances. But it required a good amount of recovery. My major method was to vary the workouts' intensities, along with tossing in variety. So, Monday and Tuesday might be very hard "ridge" runs of substantial distance. But Wednesday would be easier cycling and a modest walk with lots of stretching, possibly with a bit of light weight-bearing exercises. Thursday might be a couple of brisk runs, but not on hard routes, with a longer slower distance on Friday. Saturday might be a speedy 10K race, or a pacing of friends on a Half Marathon, with some light, distance cycling in between. Sunday would depend ... might be another couple of runs, but might well just do light weights and a bit of walking around the neighborhood.

Cycling was one of my primary "other" activities. And it worked well for aiding recovery. At least, so long as I didn't hit many hills, and didn't go too far (<20mi).

I found that staying hard at it couldn't work. Recovery would be a bear. But doing roughly the same distance along with varying how intense and which activities ... that would help work out the kinks. And it wouldn't entail just sitting on my hindquarters waiting to recover.

Of course, everybody's different. I ran with some folks who simply couldn't keep up the numerous high-intensity jaunts across a month, but they weren't mixing in various other activities as much as I. Not a kinesiologist, so I don't know whether it was a method that would hold water for most people, but it seemed to work nicely for my own workouts. An active "recovery" at reduced intensity with varied activities helped recovery. At least for me.

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Old 04-16-23, 09:48 AM
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Rest for cycling doesn't mean do nothing. It just means not to ride at levels that are going to get far into your energy reserves. A easy ride is fine. Assuming of course that you can keep it easy. If a cyclist you might see further down the road has some effect on you to catch up and pass them, then maybe you should do something else like mow the lawn.
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Old 04-16-23, 12:28 PM
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My fave is a relatively fast walk for an hour or so. Works slightly different muscles, Z1, maybe a little Z2 by HR, feels good. If I push it on stride length, I get a little bit of stretching, too. Also strengthens the core and keeps sciatica at bay. Other good things are hiking and skiing. I think these activities can help prevent getting cycling RSIs. This is a completely different approach from easy cycling, a more active approach. Cross training is good for you.
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Old 04-16-23, 01:40 PM
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When I was in my 30's-40's an active rest day meant a swim workout. Now at 68 it means a day off from all activities, my body is just not able to handle a hard workout everyday. Active rest no means an evening walk.
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Old 04-16-23, 03:04 PM
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For me a rest day means nothing. Although the dog and I do our thrice a day 1-mile walks, no matter what.
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Old 04-17-23, 07:55 AM
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I usually call them "easy days" instead of "rest days," but the concept is the same. It boils down to "don't push hard" for me. Pre-pandemic, it might mean a one-way commute to or from work, and take the car home; or more commonly, minimize sprints during the commute and take 44 minutes, or even 46 (gasp!) minutes for each 10 miles ride. Funny thing, wind sprint intervals and/or hustling out of red lights on the "hard" days rarely got me much below 40 minutes for the same ride -- but my legs would tell me about it the rest of the day.
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Old 04-17-23, 09:42 AM
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Active rest day for me = a 30-45 min real easy spin on the bike. Z1 easy.

Rest day means just that - do nothing.

I try to do one of each per week. Sometimes two full days off depending on how hard I went that week.
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Old 04-17-23, 09:54 AM
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Swedish speedskater Nils van der Poel who broke records rested 2 days per week as in rest, not active rest.

I am very happy not doing nothing after some hard session, cuz that is when I get stronger. Rest ain't nuttin
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Old 04-17-23, 10:32 AM
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"As slowly as you're willing to be seen riding by your friends" Takes a focused rider to stay slow, tho. Next thing ya know, you're at tempo.
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Old 04-21-23, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by spinconn
I have been reading of the concept of active rest days where one can obtain the benefits of rest by doing something different (i.e., not cycling) or by doing the same thing in a more relaxed manner, such as a long and very slow ride. I am not happy with doing nothing and wonder if any folks here have tried long, slow cycling as a rest day. If so, has it worked for you?
Active recovery/rest tends to mean short, slow rides rather than long (in all training plans I've ever followed). Typically 30-45 mins duration easy spinning and no hard efforts. Or go for a brisk walk of similar duration. I tend to prefer the latter as it removes any tempation to ride too hard and uses slightly different muscle groups.
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