Perhaps the most important topic of all is to understand the stress that aerobic based exercise places on systems in your body and how and what these systems need to regenerate after a solid training program. In this article we will talk about which systems need to be rested, how to regenerate them and the most common length of rest required.
You should ask yourself: “What do I do after the Festive 500 (or the cycleWELL Camp)?”
The smartest thing to do if you are serious about building exercise into your life permanently and to continue to improve is to have a rest week. Many elite athletes and enthusiasts alike struggle with this concept! The endorphins and adrenaline rush associated with achieving your goal are running at their peak after a ‘goal-event’. You will feel like you could do it all again tomorrow and that rest is the last thing you need…
The reality is that the amazing highs of endurance exercise need respect. Without proper rest and recovery, the beauty of this sport will sadly vanish into a distant memory and your body will begin to let you down.
Endurance-based sports that are low impact allow a huge amount of workload to be placed on systems in the body. This is why we need to be careful and incorporate structured resting – 1 week of rest for every 6 weeks of training – in our training plan. Over-training is a stealth issue in our sport – you may not feel the onset of over-training until it’s too late.
Some of the common problems encountered by endurance cyclists who skip rest are: weakened immune system, adrenal fatigue, electrolyte imbalance, poor stomach function, iron deficiency, low mental motivation, poor sleep, saddle sores, muscular and skeletal overuse injuries and the list goes on…
Luckily, the human body is an amazing self-correcting organism. All you have to do to avoid these nasty issues is take a rest week. A rest week will give the body time to repair and then regenerate. An added bonus of resting properly is that you will come back stronger and faster. The body super-compensates after stress or training to any of its systems. If you give it time repair it actually grows back stronger!
Some great activities during the rest week to aid your body with recovery are reading, meditation, socialising and/or doing something for someone else (kindness and ‘giving’ are extremely beneficial to our metal and physical wellbeing and we will look into the evidence supporting this at the cycleWELL Camp).
The human body is magic if you give it a chance and work with it. After a rest week, you can look forward to continuing training for your next goal-event or cycling with your friends and family, and all in the knowledge that your are doing your best to ensure that you can continue to do this for many years to come.
Congratulations on improving your physical and mental wellbeing by getting on the bike.