As always, TCI Friday works best when you chime in with your opinion/feelings/experience.
Life is nonlinear, but that doesn’t keep me from trying to force it into a pattern I recognize, or ignoring emerging patterns, like fatigue or the abandonment of good habits in the pursuit of cheap thrills. Almost all of that is related to too much riding, an oldening guy burning the candle at both ends and washing up on the shores of a Friday or a Tuesday with no gas in the tank and a bad attitude about everything.
Sometimes you need a reset.
For me, that means going back to the basics: hygiene, hydration, nutrition, and rest. I put hygiene first, because when I’m ready for a reset, it almost always starts with a hot shower, a shave, and the small grooming tasks that I sometimes let go when I’m going too hard. I’m not usually dehydrated, but on a reset day I will make a point of filling a large Nalgene with water, dropping in a couple of Nuun tablets, mostly because I prefer to drink things with flavor, and forcing myself through the whole thing, sometimes even twice.
Next comes food. When I’m going hard, I’m living on nutrition bars and coffee. Yeah. I know. Terrible. So on reset days I’m eating a reasonable quantity of decent food, not worried about the calorie count, but more on nutritional value and making sure I’m eating enough. Tater tots often feature, but also salad.
Finally, there’s rest. This is couch time, hopefully with elevated feet/legs. Maybe I’m doing some mobility work in front of the TV. I very certainly am getting in bed early. Sleep seems like a random event anymore and devoting a lot of time to it is no guarantor of success, but I at least try to put myself in the correct horizontal position and hope for the best. Even if I don’t sleep in exactly, I try to lie in, to give myself the chance to rest without getting up to an alarm and getting after my business first thing.
I get a monthly massage. That’s a big deal, and I have a massage therapist I trust, who I know will do her best to set me to rights. I highly recommend that little nugget of self-care if you can afford it. And try a bunch of therapists until you find the one you gel with. It’s the difference between an hour of relaxation, which is always nice, and a working relationship that improves the functionality of your (slowly disintegrating) body.
Anyway, this week’s TCI Friday asks what you do to reset when you’ve been going too hard? Or are you one of those possibly extremely annoying type people who adheres to good habits no matter what? You would think a guy called Robot would be more calm, even and measured in his approach to life, but you’d be wrong.
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I have bad knees or more precisely I have one artificial knee and one not so great knee. As a result it is to be really obvious when I have been going too hard. To reset I try to balance some riding and some Pilates and a bit more walking and some very specific exercises from YouTube and Dr. Tim Woo.
Beyond that I find good food, good books, and good rest including good sleep to be essential. I tend to do most of those things on a regular basis but I have developed the self-awareness to know when I need to double down.
I also tend to find that I need some relational rehab in the same seasons that my body needs some rehab. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. So I try to pay attention to this special people as well
My alarm is typically my lower back. All riding and no core work/rest. Going too hard. My back starts to bark. Sometimes it bites.
To reset, I take time off the bike. I focus on core strength and flexibility. I lose some of that precious bike fitness. When the back really bites, it can mean a week or two off of the bike(s). Or only slow-moving rides that don’t involve cycling kit or shoes.
A massage sounds lovely. I’m the type that thinks of it as spoiling myself though, as if that’s a bad thing.