A Four-Let­ter Word: REST

Mountain Bike for Her - - Contents - Words by Ja­clyn Delacroix | Pho­tos by Gina Hop­per

When it comes to skip­ping rest days, I am one of the big­gest of­fend­ers out there. Ei­ther be­cause I want to fit in that ex­tra ride or maybe I’ll do an easy set at the gym. Some­times I con­sider trail build­ing be­cause I tell my­self that it’s sort of like rest­ing. But the truth is we all need to take gen­uine rest days.

As some­one who is al­ways on the go and man­ages to burn my­self out through ex­ces­sive train­ing, I thought this would be an im­por­tant topic to talk about. Here are a few rea­sons why rest­ing is just as im­por­tant as be­ing ac­tive. It makes you stronger Rest makes you stronger, lit­er­ally! Rest al­lows the mus­cles you have bro­ken down to re­cover and heal. Work­ing out hard causes tiny mi­cro tears in your mus­cles (that would be why they hurt). As th­ese tears heal, the mus­cles be­comes stronger. In or­der for this to hap­pen, you have to let the mus­cles rest as well as pro­vide good nu­tri­tion. In­jury pre­ven­tion Rest­ing is also one of the best ways to pre­vent “train­ing in­juries”... If you feel tired at the start of your work­out, you aren’t be­ing as at­ten­tive and tuned into your body as you should be. I learned a lit­tle men­tal trick from my doc­tor years ago.

Be­fore ev­ery work­out / bike ride / train­ing ses­sion, do an in­ter­nal as­sess­ment. Re­view things like, how do I feel to­day, does any­thing hurt, did I sleep well last night, is there any­thing af­fect­ing me emo­tion­ally right now, where in my ex­er­cise cy­cle am I (i.e., day 9 of rid­ing my bike vs. I just had 3 rest days). Based on my in­ter­nal an­swers, I then ad­just my ac­tiv­i­ties for the day.

As you warm up for ex­er­cise, con­tinue to as­sess: do I have any nag­ging pains, is it harder than nor­mal to warm up, etc... Lis­ten to what your body tells you and take heed! In all hon­esty, th­ese as­sess­ments have helped me avoid a fair num­ber of in­juries. You feel ex­hausted all the time Find­ing your­self sleep­ing more while still

feel­ing ex­hausted or hav­ing trou­ble sleep­ing are both signs that you are not rest­ing enough. When you work out or ride your bike, you should be get­ting that post-ex­er­cise stoke. You know the one...where you feel like you could do more and go harder (we’ll ex­clude marathon length rides and races from this list). If just think­ing about do­ing that work­out this af­ter­noon is al­ready ex­haust­ing you, maybe it’s time to rest! Burnout and dare I say it - over­train­ing I try not to use the word “over­train­ing” be­cause for about 99% of peo­ple over­train­ing is not the prob­lem. The prob­lem is sched­ul­ing the nec­es­sary amount of rest into your pro­gram. We all have a limited amount of time, en­ergy and phys­i­cal re­serve. If we use it all while train­ing and rid­ing, we burn out on the things we once loved do­ing and got ex­cited about.

If you’re any­thing like me, you’ll want to spend as much time and en­ergy as pos­si­ble rid­ing your bike this sum­mer. But you re­ally can have too much of a good thing. In a nut­shell, I ad­vise to “train smarter, not longer”. Dur­ing the sum­mer, ride hard and ride lots, but make sure to lis­ten to your body. Use the tips I’ve given above and take that down time. It will guar­an­tee you a health­ier, more en­joy­able and (hope­fully) in­jury-free sum­mer.

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