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One of the most common, although not ideal, habits that everyone who is trying to push themselves physically seems to have, is they don’t go easy enough when they should, nor do they push themselves as hard as they should when they need to.
Whether you feel that your fitness has plateaued, or you feel sluggish, you are more than likely falling into the same trap most athletes fall into by not doing enough. It can be hard to grasp that ‘doing’ or training, is actually two parts: one part going hard enough and the other part going easy enough.
Going hard enough means giving it all you’ve got.
On the days that you decide to really push your limits, ask yourself ‘Could I go harder? Is this really my limit? Can I suffer just a little bit more or for longer?’ Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid of the answer. You might probably surprise yourself! Even if it’s just for one minute longer or just one more interval, all of that adds up to extra fitness gains that you can build on over the long term.
Going easy enough means go easy, really.
The most important part of training is recovery. How often do we go out for an ‘easy’ ride and end up going just a ‘little’ bit hard because we feel good, or it’s a beautiful day, or we want to keep up with the friend we’re riding with. You may not think that going just a little bit hard will make a difference but it does. When your body is needing and craving active recovery, and you don’t allow for that, you never bounce back like you could to see those fitness gains.
On your easy days, it should be just as hard to go easy as it is hard to go hard on your hard days. Stay disciplined, listen to your body and stay focused on that long term goal!
By Heather Nielson – Seattle, Washington – Heather is a professional cycling coach for Cycle University in Seattle Washington. In her spare time she enjoys reading, art, cooking and spending time with friends. Follow her at www.ridempowered.com, @ridempowered on twitter, and facebook.