I'm on the starting line of the Duathlon National Championships, and I start my Garmin's stopwatch and read the message, "Total Rest Today, training will negatively hurt your fitness."
That might freak most people out, but I just laughed!
Only 17 hours earlier, I won the duathlon draft-legal National Championships in Tuscaloosa. It was a wicked hot, windy, and hilly afternoon race. I went as hard as I could for over an hour. And yes, there was the chance that I could suck racing again the next day, but I felt confident.
I was on the starting line to try and win again!
Mentally I tapped into some great experiences I had in multi-day bike stage races. Or those mornings after a few hard days climbing in the Alps, when your legs are sore, but it turns out to be a magical day.
The simple algorithms built into your Garmin watch or canned internet training plans are based on the average expected result. In this case, my Garmin knew that I pushed hard yesterday, and the predicted response was a poor performance the next day.
But the human body is truly unique, and everyone is different.
I tend to recover quickly after short, challenging races. And I see the biggest jumps in performance after I race. When I lined up for the second race, I was relaxed and ready.
The race was a blast, much more enjoyable than the day before. In Saturday's race, I pushed hard but felt blocked or forced. Sunday, I was relaxed and raced more strategically. I had good legs, got with a good group, and flew on the bike. My time was over 2 minutes faster on the same course (even on a road bike), and I won another National Championship!
Please don't get me wrong. Many factors affect your performance and recovery. To name a few, training, rest, taper, sleep quality, nutrition, hydration, race intensity, and race length.
The takeaway is don't limit your performance based on the average prediction of someone's algorithm. Chances are, you are way above average!
A good coach can lead you to your best results. Visit the pain cave often to learn what you are truly capable of!