After a long rest it can be hard to get training again. Sitting down I may feel motivated but moving? Maybe later… That’s why I have a “slush week.” I give myself a week between rest and full training to ease back into the routine. Instead of regimented practice, training happens when the motivation strikes and usually doesn’t involve anything remotely intense. I figured a group ride would be a good way to get my legs turning again but it was only a few minutes into the ride and my easy-does-it slush week attitude was out the window.
The plan was to take a relaxed spin around the local lake with a few other riders to catch up and enjoy the rolling terrain, nothing hectic. We rolled off and the biggest hill of the day was only a few minutes into the ride. About half way up the 500m climb, I was already in the red. By the top I had that lactic acid feeling in my face and my throat was stinging from huffing and puffing in the cold air. To say it was a brutal awakening back to training would be an understatement!
Maybe it was the two weeks of rest in my legs, maybe it was the endorphins, but I realized I had missed the feeling of fatigue in my legs. It felt good to take turns on the front into the headwind and sprinting back after a climb. I also enjoyed the feeling of slipstream again!
A few hours and a giant sized piece of banana cake later, I realized the ride was exactly what I needed: I was ready to train again. Riding just for fun was like getting a clean slate. The races, injuries, lessons, crashes, triumphs, and mistakes of the past season were behind me and it was time to rebuild.