7“During heavy exercise, the membranes of muscle fibers, the connective tissues surrounding them, and the actin and myosin filaments of your muscles are damaged…your muscles require time and nutrients for repair…” Edmund Burke, Exercise Scientist
Just as race season training intensifies, so off-season takes rest to another level, a micro-fiber respite. Physiologically-speaking, now is the time for rest at the cellular level. Sure you may feel antsy after days off, but a simple test will demonstrate that more recovery is needed. It’s best to recover until a deep tissue massage feels enjoyable rather than tolerable. This may mean weeks off the bike.
What does a cyclist do during these weeks? Things you cannot imagine most of the year. Reacquaint yourself with sedentary activities or movement that is lightly active. Finish projects from last year’s off-season, begin ones to complete next year. Take a trip to a place that isn’t cycling-related, like a beach or a canyon hike – or even a tourist attraction (can you believe it?) or stay home for once!
Pursue a new interest. Remind your legs that they were made for non-circular types of movements also – but restfully. Be prepared that a mind accustomed to frequent exercise-induced pleasure will also be affected. A real sense of loss may occur, but remember it’s partly because you’re not triggering that brain chemistry in quite the same way during these weeks. This is guilt-free unstructured living while accomplishing the important work of losing fitness to improve fitness, thereby increasing your gains annually. Caring for your muscle fibers in this way is honoring and practical.
Prayer for a Restored Body
“After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it…” 8Ephesians 5:29
We honor the principle of physiology where rest is as necessary as stress. We are grateful for seasons, transitions, and changes and ask for guidance about how best to utilize our energies during this time! We seek encouragement in this transition. We pray for ways to return the privileges that fitness and health give.
Ponder What interests or responsibilities have been shelved during the busy race season? Have I made any promises to others that haven’t been completed? Affirm I am a person with many gifts. Watch how doing other things contributes to your cycling as well as your life!
7Optimal Muscle Performance and Recovery, by Edmund Burke, Ph.D. Copyright © 1999, 2003, Avery Books, Penguin Putnam Inc.
8The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society