So the big event is over. Now what?
Well, first of all, congratulations to all of you on Finishing the Haute Route Pyrenees! Hopefully the power tools, education, and tips helped you cross the last finish line a little faster. I also hope you got a chance to at least meet some of each other during the week!
But now that the event is over, it’s time to re-enter your real world and the transition can be tough for a lot of reasons. So here’s some recommendations on re-entry and using the past week not only for maximal physical gains but for mental ones too.
Rest! Rest! Rest! Take look at your Stress Balance (SB) and see just how far down the rabbit hole you are. I am seeing numbers from -60 to -121. Everyone needs to let their SB get back to a positive number. In general, something in the range of 10-20. But this also depends on what is on your schedule for the remainder of the season. It always comes back to the fact that it is different for each person. How does your body recover? Do you have another event or race in the near future? How old are you? Generally, the older you are the more time it takes to recover. Remember that strength and increased fitness actually happen in the recovery from intense training and racing. Hard training and racing actually breaks your body down, recovery is what allows it to heal, adapt, improve and, most important of all, capitalize from all of the hard work.
But letting your SB get back up to a positive number also doesn’t mean just lying on the couch for a week either. There are different ways to recover and this also comes down to personal preference and personal knowledge of what works best for your body.
Some athletes immediately take 2-3 days off and then start back with some easy spins and high cadence work to get the legs and body working again while others start with an easy day or two with some high cadence and then complete rest. Do you prefer to just shut down the engine or do you want to wind it down? But EASY needs to BE EASY. Nothing over 30-40 Training Load for a recovery ride. Recovery rides should be slower than your Grandma – do them alone to ensure that you will not go too hard.
Besides rebuilding and gaining strength and fitness during recovery, other things happen too. Over the course of 7 days you have completely drained your body of energy stores and resting allows you to literally fill up the tank and recharge the batteries.
What about the mental aspect of recovery?
You have just been through likely one of the toughest weeks of your life, physically. Every day was jammed packed with eating, massage, getting ready for the next stage, packing, unpacking, transfers, equipment issues, uploading data, laundry, sleeping, and so much more. For many people the non-stop schedule can be almost as draining as or even more draining than the actual stage. Add in any mental stress of missing family and/or work, trying to sort out logistics and scheduling and you have got some serious mental fatigue on your hands.
Not to mention, that a lot of hard training is mentally taxing as well as physically tiring. It takes a lot of mental energy to train hard. Giving your head some time off from training is a good thing as well. Because if your brain gets tired of training, your body follows. Many times, fatigue may actually be more mental than physical.
It is important to re-integrate with a plan. Getting the drift here? Fail to Plan or Plan to Fail is a general theme of mine. The good news is the Haute Route ended on a Friday and I think this is brilliant. Hopefully, everyone has a couple of days to digest everything that just happened and decompress a bit before jumping back in to everyday life.
Take some time to think about the past week, the highlights and lowlights and celebrate that you just did something truly incredible and EPIC that many people will never do. You are tough, determined, and YES stronger (mentally and physically) than you think you are. I am proud of you and you should be proud of yourself.
So, to recap:
- Now it is all about SB – get it on the plus side with a mix of days off and easy solo rides.
- Let the mind regenerate as well as the body.
- Process the last 7 days and bask in the glow of finishing a truly EPIC event.
- You committed to a tough challenge and you did it! Take some time to celebrate!
Well done #MyPower Pyrenees Riders!!