The Value of Rest

Riding here. Travelling there. It would be easy to think that all this bicycle riding is all go, go, go. Non-stop. An endless trail of activity. Perhaps you’re exhausted just reading about it. Well, huddle in. I want to tell you something that I haven’t written in this blog before.

I like resting.

In fact, I’m a big fan of resting. And it seems that’s a good thing. Actually, even better than I’d thought.

Pedalling through my bicycle experiment in 2015, choosing the bicycle over the car where I could, I expended more energy getting from ‘a’ to ‘b’. I adjusted and adapted and ended that year fitter than I started. Then in 2016, training for the GreatVic elevated my weekly kilometres. At the outset, I was a little worried about how I’d go with this extra mileage and extra energy output.

Then I discovered that rest had a place at the training program table. Yes, thank you.

Every fourth week in the training program was designated as a recovery week. This was a week for fewer days riding and fewer kilometres. A week to allow the body and the mind to recover. I liked this idea but I made an interesting observation.

You see, some part of me wanted to keep riding and not have that recovery time. I like riding. It makes me feel good. I’d even say riding gives me an enjoyable high. So when each recovery week came around, I felt disappointed that I wasn’t going to have as much bicycle time that week. I also worried that I might lose fitness during the break.

But I didn’t. In fact, taking recovery time made me stronger. Continuing without a stop was likely to be counterproductive. I would have become tired, perhaps bored and less excited about riding. Taking the recovery time allowed my body and mind to rest. It sharpened my motivation. And, rather than losing fitness, this was the time when my body built fitness.

This fact was a touch counterintuitive for me. You see, although I have always enjoyed rest and been reasonably adept at giving myself rest time, I’d seen it as ‘time out’. A time of non-doing. A time for stopping. But I hadn’t given rest its full value. I hadn’t seen how rest can make me even better. During rest time is where my well-being begins.

Seeya later. I’m going for a snooze…. 😉



23 Comments on “The Value of Rest

  1. i have had this enforced rest and I don’t like it. last year I was out whatever the weather – now after the enforced rest, I don’t want to go out in the rain or frost. I think I am a bit scared really. Thanks for this post as it has made me think

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s challenging when choice is taken away. Plus having a spill on your bike is unsettling. It might take some time to feel at ease again Brenda. I know I’d feel that way too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree!
    Although I don’t do 3:1 week rotations, I definitely notice more muscle fatigue if I don’t have at least one “lazy” day on the weekend.
    Lazy could be anything from just a short ride to the bike shop or supermarket, to only walking to the cafe for breakfast, to not leaving the house at all!
    But I am on my bike riding to work and doing other rides for fun every other day if the week.
    Wouldn’t have it any other way. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Taking your foot off the accelerator (hmmm… car metaphor doesn’t quite work here does it 😀 ) … let’s say pedalling a little less (that’s better) is always a good idea. You ride quite a few kilometres during the week days with your work commute Dayna so having a light day over the weekend is perfect.

      The 3:1 rotation is something I’ve now built in to my main weekend ride. Since riding the GreatVic, my main weekend ride is now about 50km (sometimes a little more). And every fourth weekend I’m pedalling a little less kilometres, maybe a 25km ride. There are weekends when I miss the exhilaration of the longer ride but I find that makes me more motivated to get out there next time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes that’s a good point. In Adelaide I find the weather usually decides my rest days. I choose my days off when it’s too hot or too wet 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good way to roll Helen. With the heat this summer, I’ve been starting much earlier in the morning and getting home before the heat becomes too severe. I aim to be able to ride in most weather so I change what I can so I can do that. But I definitely draw the line at thunderstorms 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s really great to know, thanks! The need for mental rest is something that I’d underestimated. The 3:1 helped me a lot while training so now I’m keeping it as part of my regular riding 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hate to admit it but as I get older, I need more rest. I subscribe to the 3:1 plan and also work 1-2 days rest or recovery into every week. The weather has a lot to do with my mileage. When it is hot and sunny, I love cycling. In the colder, wetter weather I hit the spinning bike. I like to train hard and have been working on additional daily recovery techniques so I can get back in the saddle faster.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a great strength in being able to adapt to the changes life brings. Whether the changes come via the weather, age or other things, I think being versatile makes for a better experience of the present.

      I’m interested to know that you also include 1-2 recovery days into each week. That’s food for thought for me… thanks Gary.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This time of year – it’s winter here – I lift and spin inside most days. And I train hard for 8-10 a week so I find I need 1-2 days rest every 7-10 days. Once I’m outside, I cycle most days but vary the intensity and duration of the rides.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a good rhythm to have. My riding is all outdoors so, like you, I change the intensity and length of rides. Plus I have to adjust for my transport rides where I’m getting from ‘a to b’. Some weeks these amount to more kilometres than others but that variety keeps things enjoyable 🙂


  5. Gail Thank you for your wise comments. It is true, when you are accustomed to exercise, you can feel quite slack if you’re not doing something. (And I’m with you, Brenda, I resent it if it is forced on me.) And yet… you put it so well… the value of rest. Jen

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a cold last year and needed to rest in order to recover. I didn’t like ‘having’ to rest but doing otherwise wasn’t helpful. I remember as kids, Mum would send us to bed when sick and that was considered the best medicine. Somehow resting seems to have fallen out of fashion? Maybe that’s why more people are taking up meditation …? Perhaps it’s another way to access rest…?


      • Gail …Good point – taking a break is as much mental as physical (message to self), and the physical break without the mind being relaxed is not as effective. As a friend says, “Let go…”. To respond to your point about meditation, ‘they say’ being still and meditating has similar effects to going to bed and sleeping.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Not a bike rider, me (well, not often anyway and never far) but you’ve given me much food for thought about the value of rest – mental as well as physical, I suspect. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, appreciating the need for mental rest definitely stood out for me during the training and, like you Michelle, it struck me as being relevant beyond bicycle riding. In workplaces and homes, a place for rest time can often be absent or undervalued or misconceived. The bicycle riding just happened to be the vehicle (pun intended 🙂 ) for helping me ‘see’ it.


  7. I’m with you Gail – rest is essential, as the previous comments state, both physically and mentally. Mental rest for me allows space from the everyday demands for reflection and meditation. I wonder why the idea of rest doesn’t get such a good rap in our busy world?

    Liked by 1 person

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