Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coiling Your Spring

Coil, but don't break your spring

I have been hammering on this point with some of my friends to the point they don't want to hear it anymore, but this article says it so well I just couldn't resist reblogging it.

Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is nothing, because even though we all want to shape our destiny by our actions, you don't get stronger from training. You get stronger from the adaptations your body makes when you AREN'T training. Think of training as pushing down on, or coiling a spring. Unless the spring is broken, when you stop pushing it will spring back. No pushing, no springing back. On the other hand, if you keep pushing and pushing and pushing, eventually you're going to break your spring and no pushing back at all then.

A little note on rest and adaptation. Long ago in the land of proto hominems (the much sought after missing links) there were likely creatures whose adaptation to specific stresses was not very specific. They ran a lot for a few weeks to stay ahead of fires, saber-tooth tigers, and stampeding woolly mammoths and not only did their fast twitch muscles, and cardio respond by getting stronger, but their arms got bigger, they packed on 10 pounds of lean muscle on their chests, their slow-twitch muscle developed more endurance and they grew a foot taller. They also became extinct.

Why? Because adaptations are expensive. They require a lot of resources. Species that adapted to threats more specifically met those specific threats with far fewer resources than our mythical generalists, so in a world of scarce resources, they prevailed. Don't hate your body for requiring you to constantly be juggling and rotating applied stresses you present to it. It's why you're here and not pushing up some prehistoric daisies. Besides, can you even IMAGINE your grocery bill and sleep requirements if you had such genes?

This period of magic, targeted rejuvenation is known as REST. The more your birthday cake resembles a forest fire, the more of it you'll need to keep up with the whipper-snapper de 'jour. So go ahead and hammer, but please do remember to heal thyself.

Try it, you'll like it!


Rachel said...

Ugh. I'm so bad at resting. I want to rest enough without getting stiff. It's very tough to find that balance. I hate the taper. Did I mention that I hate the taper?

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

I HEAR YOU LOUD AND CLEAR.... I am having me a wonderful REST and RECOVERY week... :)))))

Grey Beard said...

OMG you are doing a lot of miles. I really have to try back to back days and see what happens if I stay in Zone 4 or less. The HIT, Zone 5 and 100% HR stuff ended up really fatiguing me, so done with that for now. Might ride to Rescue tomorrow and see how I feel. Some killer club rides this weekend, so if my neph's bike parts don't come I'd like to go.

I think getting the taper right is the next really big thing for your performance. If like me you'll feel like you're crawling out of your skin on event day, and may have to restrain your pace a bit at the start, but will really love it by the run I think.