The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Monday, 10.24.11. – “Gassed.”

Howdy folks,

I hope ya’all had a lovely weekend, and enjoyed the racing this weekend.

Now that it’s Monday, you should find yourself feeling a little bit gassed.

You’re due for a recovery day, and that’s exactly what we’ve got on the schedule for you…

R3 –

Recover –

– Get on your bike. Roll out into the street, and just spin around for an hour.

– Really small gear, no hard efforts – heck, no medium effort.

– Spin. You’re looking to move your legs around in circles, almost like there is no chain on the bike.

– The idea is to get your body moving, flush the systems out, and speed your recovery.

– When you do your recovery ride -if you have the time- just get out and spin aimlessly. At a certain point, your legs suddenly feel better.


– As soon as that happens, turn around, go home, eat, stretch, and put your legs up.

Remember –

– this is a good day to get some core work in if you aren’t totally spent. Lots of info up on the topic in previous posts.


That’s the workout for the folks who need a little bit of recovery after a hard weekend.

That should be most of you.

But hey…. what if you’re feeling really gassed today?

I’ve gotten notes and questions from some of you asking about a rest week.

When should you take some time off from all this damn racing and training?

Good damn question.

Here’s how it’s gonna’ go…

First of all, I can’t flat-out tell you when you’re going to need to take a rest.

If I was coaching you directly, one of my main jobs would be to have both eyes glued to your fitness metrics, looking for the tell-tale signs that would indicate impending over-training.

How do you do this for yourself?

It’s not that easy.

Importantly, though… if you’re actually starting to think of this whole thing as “Damnracing and training”? If you’re not pretty darn psyched to get on the bike come race time?

You probably need a break.

More on the “break” soon, but let’s get one thing out of the way first; I’m not a “Three weeks on/one week off” kinda’ guy.


First of all, it’s nonsense.

The vast majority of athletes who find themselves needing a rest week every three weeks “need” it because they have talked themselves into this “need,” or have gotten so used to having the break that their body starts tuning into the cycle, and comes to expect the rest period.

You’re not on a PED cycle, so you don’t need to synch your training to your drug taking

Second of all, you’re not a pro, right?

You’ve got other things going on in your life, and racing & training need to adapt themselves to your life schedule, not life to your training schedule.

Rest when you can, and when you need to, not when the “Schedule” tells you to!!


Look, for the regular-person bike racer – IE: have a job, family, a LIFE, IE: YOU – lifedoesn’t shouldn’t revolve around racing.

You need to learn to cram your training and your racing into the spaces life allows.

This is not conducive to following a (strictly) periodized training schedule.

You know the type I’m talking about, right? They’re the ones that sound something like “we’re going to start out with a build period of x weeks, and then you’ll take a rest week, then 3 weeks of blahblahblah, followed by some intensity, and then… then, you’ll really be flying!


My philosophy of resting is the mirror image of my philosophy of racing, to whit:

Your Goal Race is whichever one you wind up in a position to win (or do well in…)


You rest when you’re tired, but before you’re really tired

These are the basic, fundamental tenets of a sane training schedule for the real-life bike racer.

Pretty simple, right?

Not so much.

How do you know when you’re tired?


I’ve harped on the topic pretty much continually as we’ve gone along, and here’s where it really becomes important.

– You need to have consistent, established metrics in order to track your fitness! –

One of the reasons I really like riders to do the Two by Twenty (aside from it’s obvious training benefit…) is that it provides a really fantastic metric to gauge fitness by.

Every Tuesday, after you perform your weekly penance, you should be making some important observations…

1 – are my 2×20 numbers going up?

2 – are they staying the same?

3 – are they slowly going down?

4 – are they dropping like a brick?

5 – numbers? I’m so beat I can’t even finish the damn workout!

Guess what? If you’re in…

Cat 4 or 5? –  you’re too late. You probably needed to take a break a while back…

Cat 1? – Keep going. You’re doing fine.

Cat 2? – Hmmm… tough call. You might need to take a break… then again, you might need to go harder…

Cat 3? –  Break Time! (probably…)

Most Riders will need to take one (1) rest week during Cross season!

YMMV, of course, and if you’re working your ass off at the day job and at home, it’s pretty likely that you’ll need more rest than the single, semi-employed wastrels that tend to populate the Cat 1 and Cat 2 fields.

If you find yourself needing frequent rest weeks, you need to back the f**k off during the week!

Look, man – a rest week isn’t a cure-all for running yourself into the ground. If you find yourself so damn tired on Monday that you can’t even make it to work…

…you went too hard the week before.

You probably do need a week off now, but if you come back and kill yourself again, you’re just going to repeat the same cycle of stupidity.

Don’t train so hard that you can’t recover in the course of your normal week!


So. OK. Enough preaching.

You – authentically – need a down week. What should you do?

Here’s my breakdown for what a rest week should look like…

Day 1 – Recovery spin

Day 2- Totally off bike. Stretch, massage.

Day 3 – Ride if you feel like it. Stretch. Chiro or acupuncture.

Day 4 – Ride how you feel, but ride. Nothing hard, but get on the bike.

Day 5 – Same as Day 4

(Most of the time, during the season, a rest “week” actually means 5 days, with racing on the weekend.)

Day 6 – Day off if no race on Day 7, or Can Openers

Day 7 – Ride how you feel, or race

Get ‘em to me…



~ by crosssports on October 23, 2011.

6 Responses to “The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Monday, 10.24.11. – “Gassed.””

  1. Matt,
    We took our rest week last week (finished yesterday) after struggling with a head cold, fatigue and slight concussion from last week’s race. Today’s race was rough. I felt aweful the first several laps and didn’t place as well as I shoulda / woulda / coulda. When will my old self be back?

    • Hi Natalie,

      You’ll bounce back, just don’t get too stressed out about it. Don’t forget, your body also needs to recover from being sick… and that concussion? What’s up with that!? Ouch!


  2. Hmm.. suspiciously like a conversation I had recently. Weird.
    Oh and the video we were discussing:

  3. […] If you’re new to this whole Workout Of The Day thing, please be sure to go back and check out Monday’s Post. […]

  4. […] (If you haven’t read it yet, right about now would be a good time to roll back in time a couple of days and check out Monday’s Post…) […]

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