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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:47 am 
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
I'm starting to read up on these training plans and one thing I've noticed is that I'm on the bike 7 days a week... I don't really feel "bad" or anything like that after/during these weeks but it's gotten me curious as to what the different effects of a rest day and an easy day are.

Anyone care to share their knowledge/opinions?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:36 am 
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We probably need more info regarding your training load to answer your question properly. Training hours/km's, general fitness level, and racing level (if racing).

In general though, a full rest day is generally required once a week. It helps the mind rest as well as the body. If your not doing over 200km a week though, it isn't required, as there is a break point where you can train every day without a problem.

An easy day is a day where you go for a ride and aim to 'dawdle' along turning the pedals over in a steady rhythm from anywhere between 30mins to 2 hours depending on your fitness level.

Ideally, you would want an easy day following a hard day. This allows the body to recover from the training stress and adapt.

If your under 200k/8h a week, then 30mins is enough. On the other hand for a domestic pro, their easy day is 50-60k/2h (and they might only do 1 of these a week).

Anyway, the idea of an easy day is to remove any crap still in your legs from the previous days hard ride, which allows your legs to feel better for the following days scheduled hard ride.

In terms of effects on the body, the difference isn't much. Both are effective at relieving training stress from previous day/weeks training. However, an easy day is more effective than a rest day if you have hard days either side of the it.

Also a rest day is actually best right after an easy day...

To fully understand why, you need to understand that to train effectively, you need to make your hard days _hard_, and your easy days, easy :)

If you do a week of training as, hard day, easy day, hard, easy, hard, easy, rest. Your effectively giving your body everything it needs to recover and adapt from every single hard training session, every single week.

Combine this with an unload week every 3-4 weeks, and you will see improvements in fitness and form.

It's not always practical or manageable to achieve this training program due to life/work commitments, but understanding why it works means you can adapt any program on the fly to improve your training and racing.

A quick example is, just say you normally have a race on saturday, you have done a hard day on thursday, and an easy day on friday, but on saturday you get called into work and miss the race. By knowing that your body is now close to fully rested from the rest day imposed upon you, you know that on sunday, you can go do a hard/long ride(or a sunday race) and expect that you will ride a little better than normal due to the extra rest day following the easy day.

Another quick example. Just say you double up 2 hard days of training, say you race saturday and sunday. You know that your body is now quite overloaded, so the course of action is then, easy day/rest day/hard day/easy day/rest day/(then back into the hard/easy/hard/easy/hard/easy/rest, normal training plan).

For all but neo pros and above, this style of plan will always result in improvements in your form and fitness.


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Posted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:36 am 


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:08 pm 
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
I'm doing about 300-500kms a week, really depends on how much time I have, relatively fit, no racing. Last week's riding looked something like this:

Sunday: group ride ~100km (3 hours)
Monday: Easy ~24km (1 hour)
Tuesday: Hard ~24km (45 minutes)
Wednesday: Medium ~24ks (somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes) followed by climbing repeats (unknown distance
Thursday: Medium ~24km (somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes)
Friday: Easy ~24km (1 hour)
Saturday: group ride ~100km (3 hours)

The 24km is a commute to school, flat with rolling hills
Climbing repeats is done with a 40-45 min warm-up (roll to base of hill) followed by 5 minute efforts up climbs, usually do 3 or 4, followed by 40-45 min roll back to home
IDK what the group rides on the weekend can be classified as in terms of "training", it is more enjoyment. We push it hard on the climbs, but there is plenty of time to recover over the 100km. I do find myself in the hurt locker quite often though

With this sort of week, should I have a rest day? If so, where should I put it?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:26 pm 
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Quote:
If your not doing over 200km a week though, it isn't required, as there is a break point where you can train every day without a problem.


What? Im pretty sure I can smash the crap out of me sub-200km a week and will need a rest day. There is not such thing as a break point in training like you mention.

Quote:
An easy day is a day where you go for a ride and aim to 'dawdle' along turning the pedals over in a steady rhythm from anywhere between 30mins to 2 hours depending on your fitness level.


Are we talking about recovery rides or easy rides? Not the same thing. Though if recovery rides, then your 2h ride is not a recovery ride. It's just too long to serve that purpose.

Quote:
If your under 200k/8h a week, then 30mins is enough. On the other hand for a domestic pro, their easy day is 50-60k/2h (and they might only do 1 of these a week).


Domestic pro still have complete days off and easy day all week long. Especially when racing a lot.

Quote:
However, an easy day is more effective than a rest day if you have hard days either side of the it.


For you it might be, for others not.



Im not sure why someone working on a very simplimistic model such as easy-hard-easy would need a deload week every X week. At a certain point, basically any sort of training will induce adaptations. You can't assume some magic template such as easy-hard-eay blah blah will do wonder or is the key to training improvement.

There is a point where this model just wont make it. A properly designed plan should include variation in rest/stress during the macro-cycles where some micros will be very easy and other will have you train hard for 2-3-4-5 consecutives days.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:22 pm 
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I really disagree with the sentiment that you need an easy day after a hard day. If you do any stage races you definitely want to try to at least double up on hard days. Of course this requires a larger base than most guys put in on the bike. The bigger your base the better you can cope with these harder training stresses.

Personally, I think everyone should have a day off every week if you aren't a paid professional. It helps you recover in more ways than just physically.

And as far as what works how when scheduling rest and easy days? Keep a training log. Open up a notebook and record it or use a spreadsheet, or go get some fancy software (Golden Cheetah -- but learn to use it). Record variables such as sleep, stress, fatigue, soreness, hours slept, resting heart rate, add a food diary, track hours trained, hours in different zones each ride, and any other metric you'd like. Hell some guys I know track sex and masturbation in it. When you have a particularly good day or bad day, look back on the 24 or 72 hours preceding and see what caused it. It's not rocket science. It just takes some meticulous records and a level of mindfulness most people don't have the attention span for. Do this and you'll quickly learn what works for you.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:25 pm 
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So your saying there is another way to train than use the method I use?

I fully agree.

Does my plan suit everyone.

No.

I'm not here to debate with you how to train, merely offer my method for the op to try.

I think it would have been more helpful if you made suggestions to the op rather than just aiming to debunk my post.

You may think its a poor training regime, but maybe the op might like it? I posted up my opinion for him to read and think about.

I know there are many many other ways to train and still get the desired results. Mine isn't a magic bullet, nor is any other. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, and each one will suit certain individuals better.

I'll add a few responses to your response to me now,

devinci wrote:
Quote:
If your not doing over 200km a week though, it isn't required, as there is a break point where you can train every day without a problem.


What? Im pretty sure I can smash the crap out of me sub-200km a week and will need a rest day. There is not such thing as a break point in training like you mention.


Its certainly possible, especially if your in crit/track/cyclocross season. And yes, that would require a few rest/recovery days a week. I only do 200-300 in crit/track season, doing say 3 high quality rides each week, and yes it does include rest days.

But for recreational riders, riding everyday is possible for weeks on end. There will be a point at which it physically won't be possible to ride everyday due to enduring fatigue. For me, that's the breakpoint. I did assume the op to not have a full understanding of training principles though, so for that, i'm sorry to have jumped to a conclusion.

devinci wrote:
Quote:
An easy day is a day where you go for a ride and aim to 'dawdle' along turning the pedals over in a steady rhythm from anywhere between 30mins to 2 hours depending on your fitness level.


Are we talking about recovery rides or easy rides? Not the same thing. Though if recovery rides, then your 2h ride is not a recovery ride. It's just too long to serve that purpose.


A recovery ride for a pro doing 800+k a week is usually 2 hours. Maybe i'm talking without authority. I base my example on a segment of a cycling specific tv program that described the pre race day before routine of a top pro national team. Also the the 2nd workout in the index of 'training and racing with a power meter' is a 1.5 hour recovery ride. And with a training maximum of 4.5 hours for any given training workout, it's easy to assume that 2hours for a domestic pro is probably correct.

If you can, can you tell me how you differentiate a recovery and a rest ride? I know how I view them and incorporate them, but I would like for you to help the op with your opinion.

devinci wrote:
Quote:
If your under 200k/8h a week, then 30mins is enough. On the other hand for a domestic pro, their easy day is 50-60k/2h (and they might only do 1 of these a week).


Domestic pro still have complete days off and easy day all week long. Especially when racing a lot.

Quote:
However, an easy day is more effective than a rest day if you have hard days either side of the it.


For you it might be, for others not.


True. Each person responds differently to training stimulus. I'm merely helping the op with my opinion.

devinci wrote:
Im not sure why someone working on a very simplimistic model such as easy-hard-easy would need a deload week every X week. At a certain point, basically any sort of training will induce adaptations. You can't assume some magic template such as easy-hard-eay blah blah will do wonder or is the key to training improvement.

There is a point where this model just wont make it. A properly designed plan should include variation in rest/stress during the macro-cycles where some micros will be very easy and other will have you train hard for 2-3-4-5 consecutives days.


It really depends on the op's objective. There are many ways to train. Just as there are many ways to recover.

Before I go, I'll just add that the deload weeks on my plan are required. If I just kept training week after week with the same plan, I would actually easily achieve an overreaching state by the 5th week, and overtrained by the 7th week. I'd either get sick, or just end up going backwards in fitness.

I hope you and the op take into consideration that the best training plan is the one that you like and can adhere to mentally and physically. I described mine, and I hope others help with their opinions as well, as they will be different to mine, and it will help the op with the original question of the difference between a rest day and an easy day.

Cheer,
metal


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:28 pm 
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dvincere wrote:
I really disagree with the sentiment that you need an easy day after a hard day. If you do any stage races you definitely want to try to at least double up on hard days. Of course this requires a larger base than most guys put in on the bike. The bigger your base the better you can cope with these harder training stresses.


Yep.

Op, if you are into road racing and can forsee a stage race somewhere in the season, then getting in multiple hard days in a row is a must.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:36 pm 
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verycreativeusername wrote:
I'm doing about 300-500kms a week, really depends on how much time I have, relatively fit, no racing. Last week's riding looked something like this:

Sunday: group ride ~100km (3 hours)
Monday: Easy ~24km (1 hour)
Tuesday: Hard ~24km (45 minutes)
Wednesday: Medium ~24ks (somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes) followed by climbing repeats (unknown distance
Thursday: Medium ~24km (somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes)
Friday: Easy ~24km (1 hour)
Saturday: group ride ~100km (3 hours)

The 24km is a commute to school, flat with rolling hills
Climbing repeats is done with a 40-45 min warm-up (roll to base of hill) followed by 5 minute efforts up climbs, usually do 3 or 4, followed by 40-45 min roll back to home
IDK what the group rides on the weekend can be classified as in terms of "training", it is more enjoyment. We push it hard on the climbs, but there is plenty of time to recover over the 100km. I do find myself in the hurt locker quite often though

With this sort of week, should I have a rest day? If so, where should I put it?


My opinion based on your info is that you probably don't need one. The short 24k rides, even at a decent intensity won't stress your system too much.

The double 100 on the weekend has a decent amount of stress depending on the intensity of them, but with only 1 hour rides mon to fri, you will recover fine.

You could just put in an easy commute day instead of a hard/med commute if you are feeling tired. Just do what your body tells you to do, and you should be right.

Cheers,
metal


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:01 pm 
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verycreativeusername wrote:
With this sort of week, should I have a rest day? If so, where should I put it?


Depending on whether there are any definitive goals it doesn't matter where it goes with the presented schedule, just have one in there. One of the easy 24km days would be the best choice, failing that one of the rides on the weekends and do more efforts during the week.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:42 pm 
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Also to address the actual title of the thread, the difference is this:- an easy day means that the level of training, and hence the stimulus is low. A rest day means no stimulus.

The point of any training is to introduce a stimulus. If rest occurs it then allows the effect known as "super-compensation" to take place - that is the body not only recovers/repairs from the stimulus but it does so a little bit better than before. This is the basic premises of all physical training.

And this is the paradox most people seem to miss - training makes you weak, tired, slow.

It is only when we allow recovery to take place do we improve.

Now if you are a 25hr training week type of person then an easy 1hr ride is no stimulus at all, and probably helps move the blood around a bit. Even then a day off every fortnight or so would be wise. If you are a 10hr a week type of rider this is more stimulus and hence more to recover from. Without proper rest you have more and more stimulus which may not be properly recovered from and you'll wonder why you aren't getting faster despite all this awesome training.


I always liked the following anecdote:-

Commenting on a disappointing performance at the 2010 World Championships Mark Cavendish said, “It takes balls to rest and do nothing and I didn’t have the balls.”

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:26 pm 
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Tapeworm wrote:

I always liked the following anecdote:-

Commenting on a disappointing performance at the 2010 World Championships Mark Cavendish said, “It takes balls to rest and do nothing and I didn’t have the balls.”


lol!

thats awesome, and I can so imagine cav saying that.

btw verycreativeusername, Tapeworm is spot on with his info.

Cheers,
metal


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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 4:53 am 
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
Thanks for all the awesome info guys, much appreciated!

love the cav quote btw, I'll keep it in mind

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 9:50 am 
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Not much to add, but personally, I find it very difficult keeping a commute as an easy/recovery ride and now take the train when I really need a rest (even though I hate it compared to the cycle).

Either I set off a bit late and am rushing to get into work, want to get clear of the traffic from the lights and pull away too hard, want to keep speed closer to traffic speed on busy bits of road etc etc. Before you know it, your recovery ride is just a poor quality workout.


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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 11:05 am 
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^ been there, done that. :lol:

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Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 11:05 am 


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 4:43 pm 
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A recovery ride is under 400kj, under 90min, and should have a very low metabolic cost. In addition it should have light enough pedaling so as not to delay muscular recovery.

I find them to be somewhat useless except in cases where I want to just get outdoors and pedal a bit to keep my legs moving.

There is a rumor I was told by a now World Tour coach that the only purpose of long recovery rides was to keep hematocrit low on rest days or between races so as to avoid tripping the 60% rule. They are supposedly not used much anymore and most still sick with the 60-90 min. max.

I make sure that I am the slowest person on the bike path when I do mine. In DC we have all the touristy monument paths so I just cruise around a bit before work and take in the good weather. Helps to relax me a bit but sometimes I just need a complete day of nothing.

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