I will be the first to admit that sometimes the thought of an upcoming hard session gets the better of me. My entire cycling journey has been a battle with my internal default mode of lazy. If you’ve spent the majority of your life in a state of laziness, then any sort of sport or physical activity will not come easily to you – but boy is it sweet when you overcome it, right?
I’ve overcome my laziness plenty of times – I’ve raced in the rain on several occasions, raced in wind that if I hadn’t changed my front wheel would have sent me careening onto the side of the road and of course there is always the sessions that make you vomit afterwards. But it’s a constant fight. This winter, every morning that I wake up and do a training session will be a battle for me. And fuck that shit is exhausting.
Look at this laziness!
People who don’t understand what I’m talking about need not continue reading.
So all this physical exertion, with the addition of the mental exertion means that every single intense training session will leave you feeling far more drained than your average Friday morning coffee roll.
I can handle (during a 5 day week) approximately 3 intense sessions, and that is my maximum. Any more than that and I will spend the rest of my day in a zombie state gnashing my fangs at anyone that dares look at me the wrong way, and my performance (both on and off the bike) will diminish greatly. So one intense gym session and two high intensity cycling sessions per week it is!
Oh, Thursday, my sweet rest day. By the time you come around I well and truly need you. Its how I find the time to write blog articles such as this one, actually wash my hair with real shampoo instead of powder in a can and just take the time to breathe (in the fumes of my fake tan hehe).
Taking some time for myself at least once during the working week does wonders for my mental health. I get physical benefits from it too, but ultimately the greatest improvement I see is in my headspace. It keeps me loving my sport, and keeps me performing at work.
Thursdays look a little something like this for me: in the morning, I still wake up around the same time I would if I was to go training but instead I sloth about for a little bit playing with Dot and then jump on the computer to write a blog article or edit some photos or play around with some other little side project. I zip off to work a bit earlier than normal with the intent in my mind that I will be leaving on time today. I carry out my work day, and when the clock hits 5pm I am out the door and on my way home; where I then wash my hair, exfoliate my body and slap on my glorious fake tan. After that I have to sit and wait for the fake tan to soak in – a process which I’ve attempted to capture in the images of this blog article.
It’s a process and a ritual that I have come to truly love and cherish. It gives me something to look forward to when I wake bleary eyed and groggy on that Wednesday morning. Tomorrow is my rest day. Thursday is the day that gets me through to the weekend (even though the weekend is only one day away). Once that weekend hits, cycling becomes my meditation and I get to put my earphones in, clear my schedule and have the entire day to go out rolling through hills. Bliss.
To some reading this article, it might make them wonder why I do cycling as my sport if I need a rest day so desperately, and the only response I have is that it is for the same reason I don’t give up during an effort when my legs are screaming and my head is telling me that it won’t hurt to just stop – I love the challenge. I love challenging myself and proving to myself that I can do it. My rest day is my intermission, my mid-game pep talk. I rally the troops, give them a glorious spiel to get them amped, and then we break and keep going, amped up and ready for the next bout.
I’ve come to understand that taking a rest day, and looking forward to it, doesn’t mean you don’t love your sport. I think it means you understand, realistically, what you need to do in order to excel at it (I haven’t quite got this “excelling” part down pat yet but I’m sure its coming).
Perhaps you should try it sometime?