Cycling: When to Rest.

Mar 11, 2013

cyclingwhen2rest.jpgBy Stephen Gallagher

Rest should be as much a part of your training as riding your bike.  Here’s why.

We all know training stresses the body and makes you tired, rest makes you adapt to the training and improve performance, simple.  Well not so simple.

Many factors can influence how and when you need to rest.  Attempting to make this as specific and performance related to each individual is one of the greatest challenges a coach can have. Fitting quality rest in and around busy lifestyles, family and work commitments must be taken into consideration.

Training methods are available online, books offer the ultimate solution but do either know you and what level of rest is required?  What about when you are on the brink of illness and talking to your coach and being told to rest as oppose train and get sick and lose 2 weeks training as oppose 2 days by taking the rest when your body is telling you to?

What everyone has in cycling is the will and determination to train and suffer, some more than others, all in the process of self improvement. Sometimes our own determination and motivation is the biggest downfall when it comes to taking rest.  I am personally able to testify to this on many occasions.  This is where being answerable to a coach comes in.  Having the confidence and knowledge of someone experienced to guide you in making the right decisions at the right times will only ever ensure reaching your end goal.  Often the fear of losing a days training over shadows the realisation that if you are run down or overtired through work commitments/family life it is better to rest than to add to the stress on the body and mind.

So when do we need this advice?

    • Feeling ‘run down’ – could be from a previous training block, will an extra day to recover prevent you from getting sick, help make the next training block more productive rather than sub standard which will bring on little improvement.


    • Injury and rehabilitation - how much can I train without making it worse? Is the training I am undertaking prolonging the recovery period or is it just easing my mental stress of missing so many days/weeks off bike? Working closely with physio/sports therapists is another area a coach should be looking at during this time.


    • Coming back from a serious illness - how much can I do before to start to build again? Is there a chance what I am doing making me ill again?


    • Build a progressive training plan – One that will not break the rider either mentally or physically, still making use of time available to train around a family/work lifestyle.

All of the above is focused on how much we need to rest; getting the ratio between training/resting is the key. Don’t just focus on the training part, it is only half of the equation.

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