• Bloomer Park, Rochester Hills, MI

  • Racing the Provincial's Crit 2014

  • Forest City Velodrome - London, ON

  • Larkenville Challenge, Buffalo, NY

  • Winning the Sprint at the ForestCity Velodrome

  • Track Nationals 2014: Keirin

  • Track Nationals 2014: Points Race

  • OCUP #1: Feb 2015

Last Sunday, I did a indoor ride on a trainer with Mike and Ed of RealDealRacing.  At the ride, Mike offered at the end of the ride an important axiom: The difference between elite athletes and everyone else is rest. Elite athletes know the value of rest and it's restoritive value.

Oddly, I've been riding my bike for the last 3-4 years and never really experienced what I would call enough fatigure to worry about it, until recently. I also recently discovered how important rest is. For the last few months, I have been training at FITS Toronto. I started doing FITS twice per week back in November. I have been cycling almost daily either to work and back, racing on weekends, or training according to my plan. I haven't really taken much of a break. I've had rest days. I've had easy weeks. Training at FITS has ranged from moderate to difficult in intensity. I have marvelled how, in a hour at FITS, I can go from rested to wiped - wiped to the point that riding home from FITS was hard. The hardest ride was last week...it took over a hour to ride back from FITS which usually takes about 45 mins.

For whatever reason this week, it has turned into the easiest week yet. On Monday, I didn't feel like riding to the office and got home late enough that it was too late to work out. Tuesday, I did ride to the office and to FITS,  but took it easy. I had a great workout at FITS. Wednesday, because of work, I could not get out to the track so I rode to the office and back. Normally, on Wednesdays, I would spend up to 2 hours at the track doing high intensity drills. Because I had to help my daughter with an essay so there was no time for a workout on Wednesday evening. On Thursday, the weather was not condusive to riding to the office. I had a FITS in the evening, I couldn't ride. Thus, this week has been quite the "lazy" week. However, it has made an impact.

At FITS on Thursday, I had the most energy I had every had. The workout, for the first time, would not class as difficult. During warm up, I recovered quicker from things like hopping, and walking lunges. My form (in my opinion) was the best it has been. I wasn't struggling with squats as I have been.  I was doing running sprint starts, and never even felt them. 20m of 110% effort, and I didn't even get the heart rate up. The core work was easy....and I did more than I had to. At the end of the workout, I was ready for more which has never happened before. Usually, at the end of the workout, I'm done; completely done. But this time, I was energized. Less cycling this week has obviously lead to recovery beyond what I normally experience.

While everyone "knows" that rest and recovery are important, I have never experience such an performance improvement as yet as I have this week. Happenstance created a week were I could not do more. Simpling doing less worked. While proper periodization suggestions a easy week every 3-4 weeks, it has never seemed to make as much a difference has it has this week.

The point: As I go through the racing season this summer, I have experienced the importance of rest and recovery enough to now know when I am to take a day off, I will do just that. OFF. No riding. Put the feet up. Read a book. When I am to do an easy week, and the plan calls for rides <175W, I will do just that. It has been a lesson that I guess was hard to learn: the most important aspect of fitness training is rest. Never forget it.

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