Pre-Season Tip: Rest as Hard as You Train
Truth be told, my happy place is a corner of the couch, napping next to my boy and my dog. Naps happen less frequently for me in this season of life. But as I’m trying to get in more base miles now, we’re scheduling family nap time on the weekends. Here’s why:
For a training cyclist (a rider with goals), December and January mean one thing: base miles. Weather permitting, getting out for long easy/tempo rides this time of year will make the rest of your spring and summer fitness that much deeper and successful. If you live in a relatively temperate climate, you may have the luxury to bump up your base mileage quite a bit. But remember, the harder you train, the more recovery you need. One of the Patrons of the morning Group Rides in Orange County, CA is Roger Young. He runs the velodrome in L.A. and his incredible career in cycling goes back a long way. I remember reading a quote attributed to him that read, “You’ve got to rest as hard as you train.”
Before reading that, I never really considered what it meant to “rest hard.” As it turns out, the actual point of strength and fitness gain does not happen while riding or going hard. It actually happens during recovery. Especially during sleep. Velonews.com recently ran an article by Vic Brown called The 10 Commandments of Endurance Training. Guess what the top three training commandments are related to? Yup. Rest, recovery, and sleep. At some point, I’ll do a review on my favorite book related to training, The Cyclists Training Bible by Joel Friel. For my money, it’s the best training resource out there and goes into great detail on the concept of periodization. If you have goals, century rides or racing, you owe it to yourself to read that book cover to cover.
So here’s a little encouragement: if you’re getting up earlier to get in longer miles to build a base this month (or whenever your hometown thaws out), be sure to consider the discipline required to sleep and rest as hard as you’re training. Do you have any tips? How do you rest hard? Naps? Earlier to bed? Elevate your feet at work?
There’s really no sense in putting in more miles if you don’t reap the rewards of deeper fitness that comes from resting and recovery well.