“A good rest is half the work.”
My son Alex is an avid cyclist. He spent this summer working at our local bike shop and competes on the collegiate circuit. I’m just about to head out for a few days to watch him climb hill and dale in the Green Mountain Stage Race in Vermont. Crazy stuff!
Not surprisingly, we have a ton of biking magazines at our house. I enjoy dipping into them now and then, just to stay au courant and because I’m always looking for useful tips: I find that there are lots of parallels beween sports and writing when it comes to discipline and peak performance.
Just recently, I read about a hot young mountain biker who was going great guns until she began overtraining and then tanked at a major race. This reminded me of some advice that Chris Carmichael, a trainer who worked with Lance Armstrong for twenty years, gave about the importance of recovery in sports. Here’s what he said in Bicycling magazine:
“…time off can be a good thing. Once critical training principle is that of overload and recovery. For a system to grow strong, it must be stressed and then allowed time to rebuild. This is the reason for recovery periods between hard efforts during interval workouts….Though it sounds simple, many athletes ruin their training by going too hard.”
Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? It strikes me that this is great advice for us writers as well. Yes, we need to be intense and disciplined — to push ourselves on the page during major writing projects. I’m working hard for hours every day right now to pull the first draft of my YA novel together. I’m sure you’ve been there, too. But you know what? I decided to try Chris the cycling pro’s advice and take weekends off at least for now, so I can recharge and stay strong. How about your writing regimen — is your overload-recovery cycle working for you or does it need some fine-tuning?