Question: You always stress the importance of taking several weeks off the bike each year for rest and recuperation. I enjoy cycling, hiking/backpacking and weightlifting. Is it okay to rotate rest periods among the sports, or should I avoid cycling and hiking at the same time since they’re both lower body? My cycling goal is simply to be a strong recreational rider. — Larry C.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Your activities are my favorites, too.
The trick during the rest period from cycling is to avoid stressing the legs too much with pedaling and avoid stressing the rest of the body with anything. It’s fine to hike or even backpack as long as you don’t overdo it. Same for weight training. Cycling’s rest period isn’t the time to be doing heavy squats or leg presses.
In general, you should employ “active” rest during the rest period so you don’t lose fitness but still rejuvenate your body and mind.
You have a pretty simple situation when it comes to scheduling activities because you don’t compete on the bike. It’s relatively easy to be a strong recreational rider even if you hike a couple of times a week and lift, as long as you don’t get carried away with leg work in the weight room.
I think uphill hiking is one of the best crosstraining activities for cycling. After a four-day backpacking trip in the San Juan Mountains near my home in western Colorado, I came back to the bike with added power — after a few days’ rest!