Sunday, February 21, 2010

Easy Weeks are a Killer!

One of the hardest concepts for me to grasp is the idea of "easy" weeks. As a runner, it took me several years (and several injuries) to finally "get" the idea of easy days and (God forbid) days OFF. But, easy WEEKS? That can't possibly be a good thing. I can understand a couple days of easy training after a really hard race or weekend. But after a few days, everything feels much better and I can go back out and pound the pavement, right?

Wrong. After weeks and weeks of hard training, the fatigue builds up in your muscles and further gains are impossible until you absorb and benefit from the training that went before. I guess a better term to use is "recovery week." As I get older, I find that my body (and mind) need even more recovery after hard training. So, although I've said it many times before, this year I'm scheduling recovery weeks at least every 4 weeks (as opposed to having them schedule themselves when I'm wiped out).

The biggest problem for me has always been figuring out how easy is "easy" to promote true recovery before the next period of hard training. I rarely stick with it the whole week because I worry that I'm taking it too easy and "losing" all the hard work. From a logic standpoint, I know this isn't the case. From an emotional OCD-runner standpoint, it's a killer. But, my plan this year is to make decisions based on science and not emotion. To finally "figure it out" and not make the same mistakes I've made in the past.

My first recovery week was this past week. I did one less workout per sport and dropped the total duration of all my workouts. Will it be effective? Hopefully I will know the answer in a few weeks.

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