What If You Didn’t Need a Rest Day?

A lot of endurance athletes want to train as often as they can so that they can get as fit as they can, but we all know that STRESS + REST = GROWTH.  That REST part of the equation is the toughest part for some athletes because they just want to train all the time.

Let’s look at that equation for a second.  The STRESS part is easy, when you put stress on your muscles by riding and training, you are breaking down the muscles with micro-tears, and the body needs time to repair.

The REST part is simply removing all STRESS so that the body can focus on the rebuilding process.  Limit all work the body has to do so that it can focus on the rebuilding process.

Here are some tips to maximize REST and RECOVERY as a lifestyle so that dedicating an entire day to it might be unnecessary.

De-Stress Your Mind

Today everything is fast-paced and everyone is in a hurry.  We’re sitting in rush-hour traffic and yelling at the other drivers so that we can get to work and rush to meet a deadline so the boss doesn’t yell at us.  Then we get home and argue with our kids and spouses.  Life is too stressful and this has an affect on us.  It takes away from our recovery.  It causes us to be in a constant fight or flight situation that prevents the full relaxation we are looking for.

I’m not going to tell you how to fix all of these things, that’s for each of us to figure out for ourselves.  Each of us has a unique situation that we need to handle in our own way.  The stress of our modern high-pressure world is taking away from our recovery, and we need to tune that down a little at a time.

Sleep Better

De-stress completely before bed.  Eliminate distractions.  Try to stay calm in the hour leading up to bed time.  Go to bed earlier, get 9 hours of sleep if possible.


Eat and drink things that have a low impact on your digestive system.  When you’re in deep recovery, you don’t want to eat a Thanksgiving dinner and force your entire body to focus on digesting a big meal, right?  Do the opposite.  Eat small meals.  Have a protein smoothie.  Chop up the food so that it’s simple to digest.

Athletes need energy and protein to recover.  Eat foods high in nutrients.  Avoid processed foods.  Limit alcohol.  Alcohol stresses the body.  The liver has to stop what it is doing so that it can filter the alcohol from the blood.  Alcohol can de-hydrate the body.  Drink Green Tea instead.

Read this book: Thrive, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Plant-Based Whole Foods Way to Staying Healthy for Life by Brendan Brazier.  It’s been a game changer for me on this subject.

Active Recovery

Spending the entire day on the sofa is not possible for a lot of people, or even ideal.  We need to keep the blood flowing so that the body can get those toxins out.

Go for a walk or a hike, do some light yoga, do some stretching, go for a swim, go for an easy bike ride with the family.  The idea is to be active without stressing your aerobic system or your muscles.


Try a massage.  Relaxation massages are good to just de-stress from everything and relax.  Sports massages are another option for people with stubborn muscles or injuries that won’t seem to go away.

You can try self massage.  Here’s a good article for that: http://www.coach-hughes.com/resources/massage.html


There are apps that can help with this.  I used Headspace for a month, and I learned some meditation techniques that I use from time to time.  Just taking some time out of the day to focus on yourself might be a big step toward relaxation for a lot of people.  Being mindful of the body and listening to what it’s saying can help us know what it needs from us.  Meditation helps to be more in-tune with the body.

Recovery Systems/Devices

There are a lot of devices that want people to spend a lot of money for recovery.  There’s recovery sleepwear, recovery leg compression sleeves, and other things that cost a lot and promise recovery.  Some of them may work great, but the cheap and free things on this list will work better.  Humans have been around for a long time without technology, and we respond best to the simple things.  Don’t depend on the gadgets, but if you want to use them to help, then that’s great.

One device that everyone seems to agree works is the foam roller.  It’s a good way to get a deep tissue massage for cheap.


You don’t have to spend a lot of money.  Lower the stress in your life, meditate, foam roll your sore muscles, eat right and drink a smoothie.

Do you have to do all of these everyday?  No, do what works for you.  Think about recovery every day.  Build recovery into your daily routine, and maybe you can workout more and get stronger.  Always listen to your body and when it’s feeling run-down, maybe sometimes you will need to take a whole day off from workouts!


Stryd Run Power Meter

Earlier, I posted about Run Power.  The idea was so cool, I had to get one of these so that I could start designing training plans for them, not to mention it could take my own training to another level.

I got my Stryd Run Power meter in the mail and set it up to go for a run.  Setup was pretty easy.  It was already fully charged when I checked.  I had to install an IQ app (Stryd Power) on a Garmin 935.  Then I setup a run screen to show watts and average pace.  I’ll probably adjust the screen and add elapsed time or something.

TrainingPeaks Run Stats
Run Stats from TrainingPeaks workout

Then I just clipped the Stryd pod onto my laces and went for a 2.4 mile run on a jogging path.  I didn’t have any goals for this run, I just wanted to check out the power meter.

Run power meters show higher watts than cycling power meters.  In case you were thinking this wasn’t an easy run because the average power is 225, that is supposed to be low for a run.  I believe I need to average 280 in order to have a moderate to hard run.

Garmin 935 Run Watch Showing Watts and Average Pace
Garmin 935 Run Watch Showing Watts and Average Pace at the start of the run.

I’m really excited that this will allow me to train better.  I already have power based workouts (speed and speed & strength) for running and I’m ready for the power training to begin, since I’ll be training for a half marathon and a half IRONMAN coming up in the new few months.

Hit me up if you have any Stryd tips or if you have questions.  I’ll be following up with updates on how the training is going and how it’s helping me progress and get more fit!

Garmin Connect Chart with Power, Pace and Heart Rate
Garmin Connect Chart with Power, Pace and Heart Rate

Power Meters for Running???

Power meters are old news. Everyone knows they’re great for cycling training. But now they have them for running. Garmin makes running dynamics pods that give you a lot of data on your running technique, but there are devices now that give you a whole lot more data… even watts.

Check out what Stryd is making.  This is a foot pod that gives you a power reading while you’re running, displayed on your GPS watch.  Then you can use this to calculate running intensity and Training Stress Score (TSS) after your run.  This is a much more accurate way to track intensity than heart rate and pace.  Heart rate lags behind effort and can be affected by other factors.  Pace can be affected by wind and terrain.  Power is the magic metric, just like cycling.

This technology can allow an athlete to pace themselves a lot better over a long race.  It can also help coaches track an athlete’s fitness and plan workouts better.  I’m pretty excited about this, and I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these run power meters.

If you want to check out one of the first power based Running plans available, here’s a link to my 6 week Speed and Strength plan: https://www.trainingpeaks.com/training-plans/running/5km/tp-139145/six-week-speed-and-strength-training-power-based-beginner-intermediate-6-week-5k

Get it 50% off with coupon code GOWARPSPEED

Mohican 100 Mountain Bike Training Plan

The Mohican Mountain Bike Race is in 12 weeks.  If you want to be Fast AF with only this short window of training, then you’re going to need this training plan.  Use Coupon Code GOWARPSPEED to get 50% off.


Photo Credit: Butch Phillips.

What’s Your Limiter?

From Friel’s Tri Training Bible, pg. 80

For each statement mark A for agree or D for disagree.

  1. I ride with a slow cadence
  2. I enjoy high-volume training weeks
  3. I prefer short races
  4. I consider my cadence short and quick
  5. As the bike intervals get shorter and quicker, I do better than most of my training partners
  6. I have always been better at short, fast workouts than at long endurance workouts
  7. I’m stronger than my training partners at the end of long workouts
  8. I finish long workouts stronger than most of my training partners
  9. I’m stronger in the weight room than most other athletes my size
  10. I’m more muscular than most cyclists my age and sex
  11. I prefer long rides to short ones
  12. My leg strength is quite good
  13. I bike uphill better than most in my age group
  14. I consider my technique to be very good
  15. I’m confident of my endurance at the start of a long workout


Count the number of Agrees

#1,5,7,12,13: _____ Muscular Force
#2,3,9,10,14: _____ Speed Skills
#4,6,8,11,15: _____ Aerobic Endurance

A low score of 0 or 1 is a limiter. A 4 or 5 is a strength.

Let me know what your limiter is… I might have a way to turn that into a strength!

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Mountain Bike XC Racers

Mountain Biking is fun and most people can do it well enough, but if you race XC, then these are the things you need to do it well and win races.  If you have all of these traits, I’m pretty sure you’re doing well already in racing.  Most of us don’t, but are on a journey to get as close as we can.

1 kilogram times height (in inches) or better

Mountain Bike Cross Country has a lot of climbing.  If your goal is max performance, then you have to maximize power to weight ratio.  That means getting lean.. getting to a kilogram (2.2 lbs) of body weight per inch of height…. and don’t starve yourself, you have to keep the muscle.

If you need to lose weight and gain strength, try my training plan below.  Use Coupon GOWARPSPEED to get it 50% off.

MTB XC Base Phase Lose Weight and Gain Strength

Bike Handling

Yeah of course… you need to be able to handle tight, technical trails with rocks, roots, switchbacks, mud, short & steep climbs… you need to like being on the bike.  The bike has to be an extension of you, a part of you.  Alone you’re slow, but with the bike you are part human, part machine that can go fast, skillfully and efficiently.

I got no plan for this, just ride more and get better.

Big Engine (Lactate Threshold)

Racing will be near lactate threshold a lot of the time.  The longer the race, the less this will be true and the heart rate zones will be lower.  For a 6 mile sprint event, the whole race will be at close to max heart rate, but at a 100 mile event, racers will have to pace down and manage their energy.  But, most races are somewhere between these distances, where racers are close to their Lactate Threshold heart rate. 

If you need to work on this, check out the training plan below.  It has interval sessions for this purpose.  Use coupon GOWS2 to get 50% off.

MTB Cross-Country Build Phase (Sport Class) Training Plan

Pain Tolerance and Focus

Relating to the previous section, it will hurt to push the lactate threshold during the race.  Athletes will have to tolerate the pain signals from their legs (and the rest of their aching muscles) while keeping focus on keep speed up through obstacles and keeping their attention on the race and what they need to do to beat their competition.  The athlete will have to push the pain signals down the stack and while knowing they are there, being able to instead focus on the immediate race situation.

Love the rush, lack the fear

“The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.” – Julie Furtado

Be an adrenaline junkie.  This is an extreme sport.  There is an element of danger.  If you are one of those types of people, then you will succeed more than others who hold back.  

Commitment to training

Athletes that follow a training plan and go out for rides and training for a purpose each time will make the most of their training and their ability to do their best.  People who have busy lives, but also want to be at the top of XC racing need to maximize their training time.  These racers get a plan that fits, or they get a coach who can work with them to build a plan for training.  They peak for their important races each year so that they can really put in a top level effort.

Ability to recover

As athletes get older, the ability to recover from tough training sessions gets harder.  So being young helps.  Unfortunately, no one is getting younger, so our ability to recover is constantly decreasing with age.  High level XC racers do the things to help the recovery process so that they can bounce back strong and do the training for the next day.  They maximize their rest days.  Maximize sleep.  Lower stress.  Not eating processed foods, which cause stress to the system.

These traits are my opinions, don’t think I have the only answer to this.  If you have some input on this, let me know and I’ll probably learn something.