Wednesday 25 January 2012

Why recovery weeks suck

According to Joe Friel and the Training Peaks training plan generator, I'm now officially old. This means that my training plan has a "rest and recovery" week every three weeks. Last year, when I wasn't officially old, it was every four weeks.

This has consequences.

People occasionally ask me why I do all this exercise. It's quite simple, and started when I saw a photo of myself at about the age of 25. I'd been out of university for a couple of years, in paid employment and had access to a fridge, freezer, car and supermarket. If you put money, a wide array of food, places to keep it and a way to get it home together you get... fat. Well, fatter. Suddenly I could have ice cream sundaes every night, chips whenever I wanted, pre-made-grease-laden frozen meat-style products. After a couple of years of this - and only once-a-week 5-a-side football for exercise - I became slightly chunky. Certainly not "big", more "well fed".

I started to think about exercise. Did the odd run. Joined a gym. Played a bit more football. It helped that I was in a very sporty office, with most of my colleagues doing various activities. I even started weighing myself. At my chunkiest I was 12kg more than I am now (26lb, nearly 2 stone). What with the cutting back on the ice cream and the increase in exercise I started to shrink back down. I plateaued at 7kg more than I am now, which I was happy with.

Then I discovered cycling. Then, by virtue of a New Year's Day bet to do a half-marathon, I discovered training. Which naturally led to cycling training and racing.

My weight started to fall again. I started to get close to "lean". I realised I had to eat more if I was training.



I had to eat more.

Awesome. What more incentive is there than being able to eat much much more than usual if I was bike training? Coming back from a 5 hour ride and essentially sticking my head in the fridge and chewing. Sometimes I go straight to swallowing, chewing wastes too much time.

Which leads me to recovery weeks. Last week, a hard training week, I could have that chocolate twist, the fruity flapjack, the hot dogs, the homemade sausage rolls, the energy beer. That was last week.

This week I have to be good. This week I have to be careful.

That's why I don't like recovery weeks. Especially when they're one week in three, instead of one week in four. I've gone from 75% eating time to only 66% eating time. My eating time has gone down by either 9% or 12% depending on how you do the maths.

How sucky is that?

I think I need a doughnut to cheer myself up.

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