Rest and recovery are important parts of fitness. Smart people tell me that. It says that in books. I believe it’s true. The problem is that I don’t rest well.
First, I depend on the chemical reactions that hard exercise produces. As a life-long depressive, I have found no therapy so effective as hard physical work. If I add copious doses of caffeinated beverage, I can be positively euphoric, but more often than not, a good ride, or run, or other similar self-pummeling puts me on an even keel for the day. To those of you who do not suffer the chemical imbalances many of the rest of us do, I cannot impressive upon you how valuable that even keel really is. It’s everything.
Second, I don’t rest well, because I rest too well. The same forces demons that drive me out the door, also conspire to leave me on the couch, once I’ve accepted the couch as an acceptable alternative for the day. The couch may as well be a deserted, tropical beach, waves gently lapping, cool breezes wafting, the cares of the world a smattering of wispy, slowly receding clouds on the azure horizon. If I have a beverage, too, well forget it.
In practical terms though, I’m 45-years-old. I need rest days.
Here is what my week normally (or at least theoretically) looks like:
Sunday – Morning pick-up soccer. I run until I can’t. I run some more. This is the most intense exercise day of my week.
Monday – Easy commute to work. Spin out the legs. No big deal. I’m tired, but I just do it.
Tuesday – Morning boot camp. One hour. High intensity. My legs are still wrecked from Sunday soccer, but they mostly do what I want them to. Coach kid’s soccer in the evening. Try not to sweat too hard.
Wednesday – Rest day. If it’s sunny, I sometimes do the easy commute again. You can’t waste sunshine in New England.
Thursday – Morning boot camp again. One hour. High intensity. I have my legs back under me probably. I also ride to work. Coach kid’s soccer again. Growing pretty tired now.
Friday – Rest day. Have to work, so the couch doesn’t present its normal challenge.
Saturday – Ride. Whatever I can manage given logistics (more kid sports), companions (who have kid sports), and energy level. Could be an hour. Could be 5 hours. More likely to be less than more.
I don’t know whether I’m resting enough or too much. Anyone with actual expertise could chime in. The rest of you should just answer this, our Friday Group Ride, how much do YOU rest? When? Do you have a schedule you follow, or do you just improv you’re whole fitness/ride routine? Do you think you’re overworking yourself? Or do you think you’re lazy? Be honest. And go easy on yourself.