Better rest and recovery

When you’re training for a big event like a sportive or challenge ride on top of work and other commitments, it’s easy to pour all your spare time into training. Many people often forget that two essential elements of any training plan are rest and recovery, giving your body the time it needs to repair and strengthen between training sessions.

What is rest and recovery?

Rest is simply a period of time spent doing no physical work. If you feel tired you probably are, and you should take time to rest. 

Recovery is more complex as it is all about how well your body can repair itself. Recovery can be influenced by factors such as hydration, diet, sleep and even work or family stress.

Why should you build rest and recovery into your training plan?

  1. Reduce the risk of overtraining and illness
    Rest and recovery reduces the risk of overtraining and illness as it gives your body time to repair and rebuild before your next session. If you skip the rest and recovery and persistently overtrain you run the risk of picking up illnesses and injuries that linger on and you may even see a decrease in your performance.
  2. Make your training effective
    Finding the correct balance between training and recovery means each training session is optimised. You’ll be completing enough training to reach your goals, but not too much that you overtrain and hamper your performance. Plus, you can spend that extra time with family or simply relaxing!
  3. Be ready for your next session
    If you are skipping rest and recovery periods, you may start to find that training becomes harder. Your body will not have time to repair itself and you’ll not be able to handle the stress of another workout.

What about training when you’re ill?

Sometimes, a deterioration in performance can be a warning sign of illness, in this instance, it’s best to stop training. Although it can be tempting to follow the ‘no pain, no gain’ mantra, it will no doubt do you more harm than good.

When you do start to ease back into training, follow the recovery, zone 1 and zone 2 rule.

Recovery, zone 1 and zone 2 rule

When you’re ill, injured or stressed, don’t exceed training zones recovery/ zone 1/ zone 2 and limit your session to 45 minutes or less. This is only a short-term rule and you can jump back into your training plan when you’re feeling better.

If you’re looking to build rest and recovery into your training, take a look at Wattbike’s guide to rest and recovery.