We all need ‘rest’ or recovery days. For most people, it’s usually Saturday or Sunday, but for cyclists, the weekend days offer the best opportunities to log long training rides. Monday is the official rest day of cyclists, as it falls after a solid week of training. My Mondays are sacred. I usually don’t sleep in, but the idea of a day during which I don’t have to pull on a chamois and suit up in various layers of gear (depending on the season) is enticing. I plan a whole list of fun things I will achieve, like napping, going for an afternoon coffee, starting an art project… but normally, the reality is a long list of chores I’ve been putting off all week. And most of the time, I don’t even get through them all. And I rarely leave the house. Sounds lame, I know, but there’s something great about it anyway.
It’s common knowledge that rest and recovery are as important for an athlete as the actual training; or even more so. Without the opportunity for the body to focus on regenerating torn muscle fibers and replenishing all its depleted stores, training would never lead to anything but a continual downward spiral of fatigue. If we never rested and only trained, we would just get slower. There is also the obvious psychological benefit of a mental break. Yes, it sounds logical, but to many athletes who are addicted to exercising, it can be very hard to just take a day off.
I, however, have no such problem… unless it’s been rainy and cold all week and Monday dawns bright and sunny. Then I feel cheated, but I try to make the most of it by spending time outside doing things that are not strenuous, like washing my bikes (a task I normally dislike) or going for a light hike with my Mom (although she’s on an interval kick now, so I have to watch it)!
On those dark and grey rest days, I don’t feel guilty about spending hours in the warm kitchen, baking raspberry yogurt muffins, oatmeal cookies, red velvet cupcakes, quinoa energy bars, or pizzas loaded with yummy toppings… obviously putting off the aforementioned chores.
The afternoon nap is a priority and can be bookended by reading my latest novel of choice or watching an episode of Glee. Another major priority is the post-nap cappuccino, which I brew up right at home. (See? Never have to leave the house!) Sometimes it happens that I miss both my nap AND my capp, which results in grumpiness. Obviously.
Beyond that, doing laundry is a necessity, so I have clean bike shorts for the next day’s ride. Grocery shopping is important too. Taking care of bike maintenance tasks is also up there on the list, as is responding to emails I’ve neglected to answer all week.
I’m super lucky in that I don’t have a conventional 9-5, weekday kind of job, otherwise I would not look forward so much to Mondays. I know that one day, when I finally enter the “real world,” things will be very different. But right now, I’m going to soak in the luxury of my fabulous Mondays.