Each month I get to a point where I just need a break. Instead of trying to push through workouts and act all invincible, I remember the 45 minute rule. The one the Kiwi often preaches to his athletes (and himself). The 45 minute rule (to me) means going easy, I mean REAL, easy for no more than 45 minutes a day for for a period of 7-1o days. This means yoga, hiking, etc. No intense workouts. No long runs. No racing.
I know, shocker, right? So many of us are used to hearing push harder or longer and I’m saying don’t.
Train like an animal? No. At least not every day.
You’re questioning me, aren’t you? Well, I’ll let the Kiwi explain this one. The Easy session(s) rule. The reason why going 10-14 days without hard training just might be the best thing for you!
The Easy Session via Coach James (aka the Kiwi) Cotter.
I have been very lucky in the past to have worked under some of the most knowledgeable coaches in the sport. During those years I have picked apart and also applied some of their training aspects to my own training and to that of my athletes. As a coach, you always have to be evolving, learning, and catching onto trends of athletes.
The subject of rest is a problem for so many athletes, the problem being not many athletes like to take it when it is very necessary.
Over a period of time, I have found that the use of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) , along with feedback from my athletes comments, that sessions below 40 minutes around Z1/Z2 efforts (also known as Easy Zones) seem to allow for better recovery.
First –> what’ is Heart Rate Variability?
Heart rate variability (HRV) refers to the beat-to-beat alterations in heart rate. Under resting conditions, the ECG of healthy individuals exhibits periodic variation in R-R intervals. The best time to measure HRV is first thing in the morning. See here for more details on how to measure it!
Second —> What do these sessions look like on paper? When should you take them? And for how long?
Let’s take a look!
Applying Easy Session Weekly
- In the cycle I use for training, I like to incorporate 1-2 x 40 minute sessions at very low intensity. I like to stick these in the day before a key session. I like to think 80% of your results come from 20% of your workouts.
- Looking at HRV data, 30-40 minutes + a good sleep seems to help get you fresher to hit the important sessions in the block. Being fit is one thing, but being fit and fresh is another
Applying WEEK LONG Easy sessions After a Big Training Block
- With so many events on the racing calendar it can be very easy to tax your system and race poorly despite thinking you’re really fit. Too much training and not enough rest can ruin your year if you’re not careful. When scheduling training, it is important to always stick in a 7-10 day recovery block after 10-12 weeks or training plus racing.
- Again, with data from HRV, it seems that sticking in 10-14 days or rest between your next training block. If monitoring HRV and sleep, most athletes will start to notice their HRV improving as well as quality of sleep.
As an athlete it is your job to arrive at the start line fit and fresh, not just fit. So look at those easy sessions as the key to keeping you fresh so you hit key sessions! Arrive at the starting lines ready to race!
What’s your take? Do you think easy sessions make you a better athlete or improve fitness?
I hope so!
Cheers to rest and recovery!
JC and LC