"No rest for the weary!" For the longest time, this saying has been something that rolls off my tongue, and feels natural. If you are strong, you never rest! You must keep pushing. Never give up, just keep pushing. These are all sayings that we learn as kids, and it gives us our strength and work ethic. It teaches us to be stronger than we think we can, and as a result, often brings us further along in life.
For the majority of my ski career, "no rest for the weary" is what I tell myself all those afternoons when I stare out at the pouring rain, convincing myself to push on and ski another two high quality hours despite my aching, tired legs. Motivation and pushing myself are my strength and what has brought me to this level. It is hard to imagine that my true struggle could be how to let off the gas. Believe it or not, this is the struggle of most top level athletes
Every summer, I work in four week blocks on my training. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but I try to aim for four weeks. What that means is that I push myself for 3-3.5 of these weeks, and then give myself a mental and physical recovery before starting on to the next block. This pattern helps me break the summer up into workable chunks and workable goals. One block I may focus on technique, one block I focus on leg strength, one block I focus on speed, and one block I focus solely on intensity. The beauty of this schedule is that there are periodic "rest weeks" built in.
After having lots of experience throughout the past ten years of training at a high level, I have learned a lot. I have a book of lessons that I would love to pass on to the next generation, but what I often discover is that as an athlete, there are a lot of things you have to "learn for yourself". The advice of others is helpful, but in the end, you control your mind. If there was something I could add into those young kids minds, it would be that in fact, there is rest for the weary. Yes, you need to push yourself more than you thought possible, but never ever take out your mental and physical rest. In my opinion, these are the times you become stronger. This is when your muscles get the opportunity to absorb the work, and come back stronger. In addition, this is the time that your mind can also rest, and come back hungry to work.
Rest is a big ambiguous word. It can mean a lot. For me, it often means keeping my legs moving at some level. There will be days that I don't even put any training clothes on, but there will also be days that I go hiking with friends, or bike to the store for groceries. After completing this past block of one week of skiing on snow, and three hard weeks of dry land training- I am guessing there will be more than one day I don't put my training clothes on!
Until next block, cheers to a hard earned break, and some new fire and energy to take on my next step!