ATTENTION ATHLETES - Its ok to recover. Seriously. It's ok and you will be better off for it.
This has been one of the aspects of working and developing athletes that has frustrated me for years. Fortunately I'm at a point in my career that the athletes I get to work with follow and trust in the plan but there are many coaches (and self coached athletes) that battle "reset button syndrome".
What is "Reset Button Syndrome" (RBS)?
RBS is a debilitating fear that an individuals fitness will reset to ZERO based on any of the following:
- Sick day
- Day off
- Missed workout
- Planned breaks
- Finishing a race (this is one of the most frequent)
One thing to understand about fitness is that it is not static. You are always either gaining fitness or losing fitness. The gains AND loses do not happen overnight. Missing a workout, day, or week does not reset you to Zero.
If you walk away from reading this with any one sentence burned in your brain please make it this:
There is NO RESET BUTTON on your fitness.
It DOESN'T EXSIST.
"But Coach....I know I just finished an Ironman last week. If I don't keep training I'll lose all that I worked so hard for". No, no, no, no, no, no. The fact is you need to recover and if you don't the likelihood of illness and injury increase greatly. Long bouts of Illness and Injury will impact fitness...not rest.
I also find that athletes are afraid to recover during workouts and training. Recovery rides become "hammerfests" and recovery intervals are held 40+ watts higher than they should be. You may think because you are riding "harder" than you should that you're making the workout more quality but in the long run this mentality will keep you stranded on a fitness plateau. Gains come from going HARD when you're supposed to go HARD and going EASY when you are supposed to go EASY. Most athletes go SORT OF HARD during Hard work and SORT OF EASY during Easy work resulting in not seeing the potential growth that could come from the training sessions.
Here are some simple tips to keep in mind:
- You get sick - REST
- You're still sick - KEEP RESTING
- You're tired - GET SOME SLEEP
- Its an easy Swim, or Ride, or Run - GO EASY
- Its a recovery interval - GO EASY
- Its your warm up or cool down - GO EASY
- Its a rest day - TAKE IT OFF AND REST
- Its the Off Season - REST AS PLANNED
- You just finished your goal Race (Ironman, 70.3, Marathon, etc) - REST REST REST
If you follow these simple tips you will be amazed with the result.
Your fitness will NOT disappear.
In the case of illness, the day or two you miss could save you a week or two if you push forward.
Your quality sessions will be more quality. Your weeks and months will be more quality.
You may even get faster from it.
Recovery.....What are you afraid of?