The mathematics of rest

Having enjoyed a great day off yesterday and staring down the barrel of the start of another training week, I thought I would explain some stuff I’ve learned about resting.


Until a few months ago, when I began working closely with an exercise physiologist, I didn't believe in rest days.


My (own) theory was that as long as I was working my body in different ways each day I didn’t need extended rest periods. For example if Friday was a hard gym and technical judo session then I would work my cardio and randori more on Saturday. It seemed logical to me, but it did mean that I was constantly tired and operating at about 80%. I thought that was okay, because given a little taper I would be firing 100% come competition.


Unfortunately, over time I started feeling the increasing effects of over-training. I suffered chronic muscle soreness, often felt lethargic, found it hard to concentrate and stuggled with insomnia.


Eventually I had the mathematical benefits of proper rest explained to me. If I was able to train 12 sessions a week at 90% of my maximum and have a day off. Then that would lead to much more improvement in my abilities then 13-14 sessions at 75-80%.

When that is mapped out over an 8-16 week training cycle it makes for a considerable difference in the end result.


I have now been operating with one day off a week for about 5 months, and it has made a difference. My performances in training have improved and my concentration has been better on and off the mat. I get to have long lunches with the family, get to spend couple of hours completing uni work and even get to veg out on the couch and watch tv now and then.


I do sometimes feel restless and revert back to obsessive mode. To combat this, I just remind myself that I will put much more effort into my sessions on my work so that there is absolutely no petrol left in my tank on Sunday morning.


Monday mornings still suck because there is a hell of a lot of huffing and puffing to be done before my next day off!


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