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Coming To Terms With Reality…


Rest has been a topic of concern in my life lately.  I’ve made no bones about the fact that I dig my time on my bike, and as my legs keep getting awesomer – my muscles are getting muscles, and as my gut continues to vanish into nothingness, I’m hitting on an interesting trifecta:  I’m seeing results, I’m having fun, and loving my exercise time.

In fact, I used to have a problem with chest pain due to stress and an overdose of naturally produced adrenaline (brought about by the stress) and that’s been gone for quite some time – in fact, I can’t really remember the last time my chest hurt.  I literally feel awesome.  In my silly pursuit to root out all that I find “bad” in my life, rather than just enjoying what I’ve got, I’m have a tendency to look for the next problem to vanquish.

That problem, the one fitness thing I’m not “doing right”, is getting enough rest.  Last week was a 142 mile week which isn’t really that big of a deal, I know plenty of guys who are putting in 250 miles a week, but I’m putting in those 142 miles over seven days.  My last day off was almost two weeks ago (Wednesday the 9th), and if I follow what all of the pros say, that’s nowhere near enough rest.  Add to that, a desire (real or imagined) to keep up with the big dogs on the local group ride, which will demand an increase in my current cycling fitness level of about 20%, the only way I’m going to attain that is to follow prescribed training plans which include plenty of rest and days off.

Truth be told, I don’t know what I want to do, because days off are not appealing.  I feel like I’m missing the best part of my day (hugs and kisses from the wife and kids obviously excluded) if I can’t ride.

I’d ordered a couple of brake pads last week and Matt emailed to let me know they’d come in and included a question about how I did on the ride on Tuesday.  I responded (in part):

“…Riding almost every day (at least 6 days a week) can’t help because I never get enough rest for my leg muscles to rebuild, but I get so much enjoyment out of riding that I don’t want to slow down”.

Matt’s response kind of surprised me, in a really, really good way:  “Keep it fun.  Ride and enjoy the experience for now.  Everything else will fall into place if you’re enjoying the experience”.

And that’s all I ever wanted, so I will keep it fun and let everything else fall into place.

Doh!


9 Comments

  1. gbsmith4 says:

    Jim, you might check out restwise.com. I think we all tend to push it too much, and miss being on the bike. But, sometimes in order to get better (as you point out), you need to take days off and have rest weeks. Restwise helps quantify exactly when I need to pull back.

    Also, keep in mind, you can achieve the same (or better) levels of fitness by substituting intensity for time. Don’t fall into the conventional wisdom trap that you need to up your time in the saddle to keep up with the faster guys. That’s total BS. My fitness has gone up across the board, despite moving from 20 hours/250 miles per week to 6 hours/85 miles per week. But, in those 85 hours I pack a lot of intensity. Even so, about every other day is an easy ride.

  2. elisariva says:

    Have you been in the pool lately? Good workout and not as taxing on your legs… Speaking of legs – swimming is the first leg of triathlon… What ever you do – enjoy.

  3. CultFit says:

    I’ll just toss this idea out to see if it helps…”I’m seeing results, I’m having fun, and loving my exercise time.” This is awesome and dangerous at the same time. If your kids and Wife have some bikes (I’m sure they do), do you guys go out for family rides? Head off in some random direction to a park? Maybe toss in a family ride for a rest day is what I’m basically trying to say. Be well and take care!

    • bgddyjim says:

      We do hit the family rides whenever practicable and they are a favorite part of my weekends. It’s a little tough yet with our youngest being five because she’s only good for a couple of miles but that will get better with time. I’m also setting up a couple do kid sprint triathlons with some of the friends I train with so we’ll be working on those too.

      As for my riding, I take one hour every day to ride my bike at my pace – two on Friday and three on most Saturdays. I’m going with what my bike pro wrote – I’m just going to enjoy that I love riding for right now and let the rest work out in the wash.

  4. bikevcar says:

    If you want to ride, then ride. If you feel like resting then rest. You know your body best. I did 3 long rides on 3 consecutive days last week and was surprised how tired it made me. So I took a day off. I’d like to rest more but there’ll be plenty of time to rest when the game’s over! For now – keep on cycling 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      I pressure myself to comply with “the right way to go about things” far too much. I’ll save the rest for rain days – like today humorously enough.

  5. beechcreekproject says:

    I have the same problem. I know it’s weird but I feel like if I’m not going forward (riding, running or hiking) then I’m going backwards. It’s very hard to get it through my head that sometimes doing nothing for a day is going forwards. Lately I just try to go with how I feel, have fun and let the rest just take care of itself. Take care and safe riding.

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