If you’re familiar with the periodization method of training (e.g. the Training Bible approach to training), you’re familiar with recovery weeks. The concept sounds easy enough, right? Just scale it back a bit for a week.
Up until this most recent base period, I didn’t have any problem scaling it back a week. In truth, this is probably because my training wasn’t as consistent as it should have been. These last three weeks, however, I’ve gotten into a groove and have been doing something or another each day throughout the week (typically will use swim workouts as spacers to give my legs a couple of breaks throughout the week).
Yesterday I started my recovery week for this base period and so far I’ve found myself fighting my urge to go longer or harder in my workouts. I’ve already finished my longest workouts of the week and really only have my testing sessions and a couple of swim workouts left. I found myself thinking about scheduling more things for later in the week before I caught myself.
I guess the urge to go longer and work harder (or at the very minimum maintain the previous week) is due to some deep-seeded fear that any letting up will lead to a drop off in fitness. However, based on the various research I’ve seen, fitness levels typically do not begin to drop until about 7-10 days of an individual being sedentary or having very little activity. In other words, a recovery week, where you’ll put in about 50-65% of the previous week’s efforts, isn’t going to cost you anything you’ve worked for. In reality, you’ll probably see better performances the week following a good recovery week due to fresher legs.
Even if that last part doesn’t pan out I’m just going to keep telling myself that. It’s probably the only way I’ll convince myself that I don’t need to go hard each and every week to keep improving.
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