The Workout Of The Day for Wednesday, 10.31.12. “Gassed”

Howdy folks,

It’s that time of the season again.

I’ve been getting notes from folks – and I’ve been having conversations with others out at the races – and all on a topic that always seems to pop up right about now.

People are feeling…


Is it time for a rest week?

Good darn question.

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

Tough one.

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.

Honestly, that’s job #1 of a coach. Quite frankly, with elite athletes, you often spend more time trying to get them to back off than anything else.

Driven people have a tendency to drive themselves right into the ground, and they – more often than not – need outside perspective to keep things under control.

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 “Damn racing 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 – life doesn’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 of schedule 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 wit:

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 of metrics a fair bit, 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 time you do this workout, you should be making some important observations…

– are my 2×20 numbers going up?

Keep going. You’re doing fine.

– are they staying the same?

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

– are they slowly going down?

Break Time! (probably? maybe?)

– are they dropping like a brick?

Yeah. Dude? Take a break.

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

You’re too late. You probably needed to take a break a while back…

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, folks – 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…


PS – not gassed? Looking for some Wednesday skills workouts? Check these out…

~ by crosssports on October 30, 2012.

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