Thursday, April 29, 2010

Skipping a day

If you are one of those people who follows a structured training program in an effort to achieve a specific goal then you can probably relate to this post. However, if you hate the idea of “training”; downloading your workouts, looking at squiggly lines from said workout, and don’t even own a HR monitor, you should stop reading now.

I took an unplanned day off yesterday and now I feel heavy guilt like a Catholic who hasn’t gone to confession in 11 years. I have been riding on a pretty consistent basis since Oct 29th; preparing for Old Pueblo, racing Old Pueblo, and then ramping it back up again for the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde which is 10 days away. The logical side of my brain realizes that missing one two-hour ride is not going to derail my entire season or ruin my race at Mesa Verde. But I pride myself on being able to stick to a plan and skipping a day bugs me. The previous night of poor sleep, plus a dash of work stress, an overall feeling of being worn-down, and the hint of a sniffle combined to create the perfect storm of un-motivation. At the time, 4:31 PM Wednesday afternoon, I justified skipping the workout by saying that I was “listening to my body”. In hindsight, that is crap. My body does what my brain tells it to even when my body is saying “No”. That is what endurance cyclists do, right?

This brings up the question: When should you skip a planned workout in favor of rest? This is a very “gray” area.

Being a fan of all things black and white, I think there should be a scoring system that tells a cyclist when skipping a workout is the right thing to do. (I almost created a spreadsheet but stopped myself)

Proposed Scoring System

The Sick Factor
Flu-like symptoms including a fever of 101+ and occasional vomiting = 5
Nasty Cold with sore throat and uncontrollable runny nose = 4
Migraine headache = 3
Severe seasonal allergies = 2
Minor Cold symptoms, just a sniffle = 1
Hangover, saddles sores, or PMS = 0

The Weather Factor
33F – 40F and raining/snowing steadily with some wind = 5
20F – 32F and snowing = 4
20F – 45F and windy with no precip = 3
35F – 45F and calm winds with no precip = 2
45F – 50F with some wind = 1
50F – 60F and sunny = -1
60F+ and sunny with dry dirt = -2

If you have a combined score of 8 or more, you should feel good about taking the day off. Otherwise, suck it up Francis and get out there. As a point of reference, yesterday’s score would have been a 6. Therefore, I took an unjustified day off.

Wednesday, April 29, 2010
Minor Cold symptoms, just a sniffle = 1
33F – 40F and raining/snowing steadily with some wind = 5


Dave Harris said...

Holy shit are you hard on yourself. Pat yourself on the back for hitting the trainer the day before and call it good!

To add to your scoring system: determine base score as proposed. Then, if symptoms exist below the neck (including throat) multiply base score by 2. No sore throat and all symptoms in the head (physical, mental or other) multiply by 1. Then, look forward: if there is an important event in the next 3 weeks multiply base score by 50.

As an example - the week before we flew to GA we were on the road heading out for a lap of the Jem trail. On the way I could feel myself getting something...and I bailed on the ride! Strange but true. I was a bit sick for 2 days and thought I'd have to sit out another event, but it turned out I rebounded super fast. That would not have happened if we did that Jem ride.

T-Race said...

wow Dave! that was pretty intense, not much room there for days off.

Lynda Wallenfels said...

When should you take a day off vs. riding despite feeling tired/run down?

If you have been nailing the plan for the past 7 days then take a day off if you feel a little run down. If you are not sure warm up for 15 minutes and if you still feel bleh about riding flip it and go home.

Nice work making the call for passive rest yesterday instead of ramping up the bleh factor. That is called training SMART.

The closer you are to a big race like a 12 hour solo the more important it becomes to err on the side of passive rest. 10 days before an endurance race is not the time to be gutting out bleh rides.

Hope you feel better today.


Amanda Carey said...

Byers-you crack me up. I didn't get any faster until I finally listened to Eric and started resting just as hard as I train. You gotta give equal attention to the rest/recovery as you do to your workouts. If not, you're digging an early season hole that you may have trouble crawling out of later!

I vote for pjs and slippers the rest of the week for you, too. May as well give Jen a call and really go overboard on the recovery front!

Curious, do you take morning HR? That has really helped me track my fatigue/sickness level objectively. If I wake up with a high HR, it's definitely a red flag to consider adjusting the day's workout.

Lars said...

Easy Dave.
First off when I am feeling apathetic before a planned workout I employ the 20min rule, if I am not into it after 20 min then I pull the chute.
A friend of mine just gave me his training motto that he used to PR the Boston Marathon last week "undertrain and over perform-Bam!"K.C. Taylor.
I am with Linda on this one, good call to "listen to your body".
If you need to be dissapointed with yourself, remember this "Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." Winston Churchill

Dave said...

Very cool that so many wise AND fast people commented on this post. I like the fact that there are always lessons to learn in this sport.

Ed said...

I can't add to what's already been said by stronger and more dedicated racers than I.

I'll just reiterate, rest is good. Don't be so hard on yourself or you'll burn out like a firecracker - POP!!


brandon said...

I'll just say that HR monitors are dumb. I will likely be the only responder to say so. Yet, I kept reading the post until I got to the "scoring system" and then I stopped.

I'm glad you took a day off from riding. Hopefully it allowed you to put some finishing touches on the SS. If you sat on the couch as much as I did and rode when you felt like it you wouldn't be in the situation.

Best of luck working through this day off of riding.

Unknown said...

You crossed the line. The season is lost and I morn for what could have been. You had such potential. It is know what you must do. Make it quick and painless.

Seriously, I fall in the middle somewhere between structured training and just a rider. If I had a 10 spot for every day I blew off riding due to feeling unmotivated, a cold coming on or just hungover I wouldn't have to look for a job.

I must say that many of my best results have come from unplanned extended rest. So, my friend, in my humble opinion; scrach off your missed day and just pick back up wherever Friday's workout puts you. You may even find you have more snap today because you rested.

Take care,