A Week of Physical Recovery from Mental Hardness

Last week was a very much anticipated recovery week.  My body was really ready for a break, after pushing it the last few weeks.  And by ‘ready for a break’, I mean, I just wanted to be lazy all week.  I was having a hard time finding motivation to do my workouts.  In fact, I pushed several workouts to the next day and skipped a couple of them this weekend.

Once I did finally conjure up the energy to actually do a scheduled workout, it became difficult for me to keep it easy.  My bike workouts were the hardest for me, in that I had a difficult time slowing myself down.  I guess it’s an all or nothing way of thinking for me.  On Tuesday, I had a 30-minute ride on the trainer, no sprints, at moderate effort.  When I first got on the bike, I immediately felt the need to shift into a hard gear and really push myself.  I had to pull in the reins, so I put my headphones in and lost myself in the music, making it easier to relax a little.

My Thursday ride was another 30-minute ride on the trainer.  This time, though, at an easy effort and a high cadence.  My goal was to complete it with at least an average of 100 rpm.  Wow, I didn’t realize how difficult this could be.  My normal cadence is 85-90 rpm, but to keep my legs moving at over 100 rpm, that took some effort.  Approximately 5 minutes into the ride, I decided I would stop halfway through.  I would let myself only do 15 minutes.  Once I hit the 10 minute mark, I decided to make the ride 20 minutes.   And somewhere around 15 minutes into the ride, I knew I could finish the entire 30 minutes.  My legs were burning and I wanted to coast for a few minutes, but I knew if I did I wouldn’t benefit as much from the workout.  So I kept pedaling, listening to upbeat music to keep my motivation elevated.  The 30 minutes finally came to an end, and my average cadence for the ride was 100 rpm.  Success!

Because we are still working on form and slowly increasing distance on our swimming, the workouts did not change this week.  Saturday I had a realization about my breathing while swimming.  It’s a bit difficult to explain.  I was basically swimming in steps and wasn’t doing everything in a fluid motion.  So my stroke and breathing were separate, causing my stroke to be a bit choppy.  When I finally realized that I should turn my head to breathe while my hand is entering the water (rather than after my hand entered the water and was fully extended), this vastly improved my stroke/breathing fluidity.  I was able to keep my stroke rate consistent as opposed to nearly stopping the momentum when I had to breathe.  I immediately felt like I was swimming faster, but habits are hard to break.  I anticipate once I can consistently breathe with the stroke, my speed will increase.  I was having technical difficulties with my watch, so I could not immediately see the benefits to this change in form.

I only completed one run this week (see above lack of motivation).  I did both of my strength training workouts but reduced it to just one set of reps per workout.  I was really trying to give my body the break that it needed (and deserved).  I’m looking forward to getting back into my normal routine this week.  I seem to thrive better on longer workouts.  Recovery weeks tend to bring out the lazy in me.