Finding the Balance: Rest
3“Form is Fitness + Freshness. In order to become fit, you give up some freshness; you become fatigued. In order to be fresh, you give up some fitness. Finding the balance is the key to form.” Hunter Allen, Power-Based training guru
Exercise physiologists employ many measurements to note training stress including the non-instrumented old-fashioned way known as Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Coach Kim Morrow has her own RPE 4scale numbered from 1-7. Number 1 is, “I feel like Superman” an elated strength registered only about twice a season due to periodization for peak performances. Conversely, number 7, “I don’t even want to look at my bike” is something you never really want to feel; it means you are overtrained and demoralized.
Elite athletes must plan the rest as much as the training, monitoring progressive overload with enough rest for incremental gains. The optimal perceived rate of exertion varies depending on type of training, time of year in the race calendar, periodic goals, even rest between workbouts. A knowledgeable coach can assist with the science of periodization, mapping out annual or career long progression. Yet in application, the athlete must get a feel for one’s own body and its unique rhythms and nuances.
This heightened sense of self-awareness was once 5explained to me as a meter with red and black gauges. At times, an athlete wants to be as close to the red line of over-reaching as possible while staying within the margin of black. Over the red, and even more time is needed than ordinary for rest. At least once a season, usually late October or November, tipping the balance toward prolonged freshness is one’s welcomed goal.
Prayer for Rest
“By the seventh day God had finished his work. On the seventh day he rested from all his work.” 6Genesis 2:2-4
We acknowledge that we cyclists are overachievers. We become addicted to that which is supposed to free us. We are grateful for time to let things settle and enjoy what was completed. We pray to listen for our body’s cries for rest and resolve to honor these signals.
Ponder What are my signs of fatigue? Who is tracking my training load, life stress, and offering feedback? Affirm I can learn my body’s particular balance. Watch for those personal bests after the beautiful pauses.
3Teaching from Performance Manager, by Hunter Allen, founder of Peaks Coaching Group, and co-author with Andy Coggan of Training and Racing with a Powermeter. The authors gave a webinar on 11/28/07 sponsored by USA Cycling.
4Training journal for coaching from Kim Morrow, founder of EliteFit Coach, and owner of www.bicyclecoach.com. Kim is a multiple national Masters Champion and Masters World Champion. She was one rock solid role model in the ‘90’s American racing scene.
5Training notes from Alexi Grewal. Alexi’s unique brand of advisement advocated “feel” over science, and Alexi was known for his emotional performances. He taught me to use my gut, critically developing my race intuition for strategic insight. Alexi was the first American to win Olympic gold on the road. He won by a well-timed move in the ascending finish while in a two-up break to beat the capable Canadian road sprinter, Steve Bauer. The win was called a victory of an athlete “digging deeper than he ever had before” and an inspiration to anyone who overcomes adversity, especially in the form of unpopularity due to singularity. In this way, in my opinion, this win was a triumph by Alexi. See Les Earnest’s opinion at www.stanford.edu/~learnest/cyclops/grewal.htm
6The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson