Taking a “recovery day” (don’t understimate the power of sleep)

After my last ride day had turned into a lower pace endurance pace ride, I also had to adjust for this day as well, as this was supposed to be part of back-to-back training to stay used to “higher” mileage.   It’s a trick used in Charmichael’s TCTM that I had been using for some time now – split mileage into two days, where you don’t exactly get the training response of one long day but makes the most of your limited time for riding.

Except I had another hurdle to get over as well – this time of the year is ripe for afternoon thunderstorms, and it seems that something always comes out of the north and covers up my intended riding area just when I head out.  This day was deja vu all over again…


I decided to take a chance and play amateur meteorologist.  It seemed that the thunderstorm over Greenville was headed eastward and nothing was behind it.  I may be on wet roads but as long as I didn’t have to dodge lightning.

Arriving at BikeStreet I had some cloud cover but the storm had passed.  So far, so good. Nothing coming from the west.  I started up the SRT at an easy pace and kept my expectations low.  I did have a good night’s sleep last night but I still wasn’t feeling 100%.  And my cramp zone from the 4th ride was still bothering me.

I “pushed” it a few times up the Rabbit, and felt stronger than the previous day.  Once I reached the northern end at GHS, I decided to continue a bit further to make the ride 1.5h total.  Even in recovery, these days it just doesn’t seem right to be out for any less than 90 minutes.  For all the effort it takes to make time to ride, it feels like that’s my minimum to make it worth it.

I took some roads I had become more familiar with recently and finally turned around on Tubbs Mtn Rd a few miles north of TR.  I had hit some climbs and let myself get into them a bit, letting my heart rate climb as well.  Then on a short semi-steep part I approached without much thought, popped out of the saddle and powered up to the “top.”  I sort of surprised myself, expecting to feel as sluggish as the day before.  Then another climb, and another burst of energy.  A couple more like this, and I was back to the SRT trailhead.   The weather had cleared to be a nice early evening:


I made a few observations today:

1) Sleep is powerful.  I had forgotten that training hard means taking the time to “rest hard.”  An off day is only a rest day if you purpose it to be so.  Don’t cram other stuff into your rest day and expect it to serve it’s purpose

2) There is some kind of “trigger” in the body with respect to energy pathways, as if going above the aerobic zone and into threshold power is like turning on the “turbos.”  For most of my ride, I stayed well within aerobic / tempo HR.  Although I wasn’t working especially hard (according to my “power” readings), my perceived effort was not insignificant.  Then once I hit that one climb and dipped into the power (pushed above threshold) it was like I had a new limit, and dropping back into the aerobic HR felt very easy.  Once I thought about this a bit, it made sense to me why the TCTM always has a power interval (~1 min max effort) at the end of warm-up right before you start into your real interval training.  It’s to get all your energy pathways up and running before you really turn it on.

3) If you follow #1, then #2 applies (the power is there for you when you want to turn it on).  If you don’t follow #1, then you’ll reap the consequences.  Hence my sluggish day of riding tired.

4) Use #2 after proper warm-up.  Or you’ll hurt yourself, blow up, or both (a lesson learned from the July 4th ride)

Having no other reason other than being happy to have had a satisfying ride, I celebrated with a peanut-butter chocolate cookie from the Swamp Rabbit Cafe.

Strava link



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