So, in typical springtime style, I’m currently laid out with a nasty fever and chills. Like most type-A racer geeks, all I can think about is how I’m missing my workouts. The temptation before I had a coach (and coaching is something that not everyone can afford, including myself were it not that my team provides it at a price a student can afford) was to try and “make up” for lost time as soon as I was capable of throwing a leg over the top tube. I’m here to tell everyone who is currently getting the nasty flu that’s out there right now to STOP RIGHT NOW.
DO NOT TRY AND MAKE UP YOUR MISSED WORKOUTS. This is like the best way to throw yourself deeper into the hole, get yourself sick again, or worse yet end your season early. Even if you aren’t racing and just trying to ‘stay in shape’ like most of us are (and admittedly I don’t race that much these days) you really have to get back on the horse S-L-O-W-L-Y.
Although you may feel better, you probably aren’t fully recovered. Also, your workout schedule, especially in the case of coaching, is carefully planned not to overload your system. You go and overdo it on one day and you’ll be forced to take a longer time to recover. The optimal ‘fitness increases’ in cycling are seen with consistant riding, with very carefully planned periods of effort and recovery, and even taking a week easy after a “training block” where you slowly increase the stress seen by your body.
Sure, you can get faster just going out and hammering every time you ride. This is especially useful if you can’t ride very often, since your recovery days are taken up with the other things in life, like laundry, diaper changing, and your job. The best situation, though, is to be able to get in a little bit of work every day, and slowly build your fitness over a long period. An often used phrase is “you have to go slow sometimes to go fast.”
So if you’re feeling under the weather, resist the temptation and take it easy when you jump back in the saddle. The better you treat yourself in the long run, the more enjoyment you’ll get. I see too many guys get burnt out on riding and racing when they take it too seriously. I was even at that point before I decided to back off a bit and just enjoy the ride.
See you out there!