What recovery looks like …

What does a recovery week look like?

I know what it looks like. I just haven’t been doing it this past year. All cycling events were cancelled because of COVID, and without one to train for, I became less disciplined. I still cycled, and set new goals, but my training was less structured. Although COVID is still with us, and very likely events will be cancelled again, I plan to return to a more structured schedule. For me, that means monthly training blocks with 3 weeks on, and 1 week off.

This week is a recovery week, the first in a very long time.

What will it look like?

Well, the plan is to only stretch, and walk, for 3 days. Maybe longer if I am still feeling tired, or my RHR is elevated. Over the years, I have developed dynamic and static stretching flows that take approximately 45 minutes to complete. I’ll do them every morning after a cup of coffee. Also, if you have been following this blog, you know I walk for 1-2 hours every day, usually up and over “Little Mountain”. I’ll continue to do that but take the easiest route to the top, and only climb it once. I’ll try to get more sleep, eat well, and reduce as much stress as I can.

I’ll also spend time reviewing my training during this past month. You can see in the above schematic that I trained every day during January. Usually that included 1 or more sessions on the smart trainer, a targeted weight workout, and a walks over “Little Mountain”, averaging about 20 hours per week.

Was this the right amount? The right distribution? Or, was it too much? These are the questions I will explore over the next few days, with the intent to come up with a more effective plan for February.

The following STRAVA schematics show that I completed over 100 training activities over almost 90 hours, cycling almost 745 km on the trainer with an elevation gain of over 11,000 metres, representing a 21% increase in “Fitness” during this period. Whatever that means.

So, what did these training session look like?

I follow a local professional triathlete on STRAVA. She has completed over 40 triathlons all over the world. This past summer she was hit by a truck while training on her bike, and broke her neck. She can’t run, or ride on the rode yet, but she has been spending a lot of time racing on SWIFT. She has taught me how to mix trainer session up. Sometimes she will do long sessions from 2-4 hours. I find these mentally difficult. Other times, she will do a series of shorter ones for 30-45 minutes. I liked this idea, and began doing 3 shorter sessions with a modified weight workout between each trainer session. These workouts would take me 2+ hours, and I felt they were more effective than longer sessions. I would vary the 3 bike sessions. For example, I might start with a 30 minute flat tide, followed by a 30 minute climb, and finish with a short climb with a fast descent. And between each ride, I would do a 20-30 minute weight session focusing on different areas of the body.

I liked this approach. It gave me an opportunity to try a variety of virtual rides. This helped to keep me motivated, and challenged. Over the next few days, I will consider how I can improve on this approach. I’ll also refine the training mix. This time of year. I like to spend more time on strength training, and working on specific cycling skills.

I’ll also evaluate my walking sessions. I have been making them progressively longer, faster, and more difficult. Do I continue doing this, or spend more time on the bike?

That is what my recovery week looks like. A time to rest, reflect, and re-evaluate. At the end of the recovery period, I’ll do another FTP test. This will help me establish a new plan.

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