When you think of Ironman training, I am sure you think ‘exhausting’. Which it is. It is exhausting. The constant exercise, the physical and mental stress, the nutrition, the dedication & effort it takes – it is all super tiring and takes its toll on the body. Michiel, being Michiel, doesn’t want to take many rest days, often thinking and trying to do more, which is admirable, but sometimes I need to step in. I of course know best 🙂 so at least once a week, a full scheduled 24 hours of rest is needed.
We arrived in Pisco Elqui, around 6 hours drive south from Caldera, our last stop. We had three days there, so it was perfect time & place to take a break in the (massive) house we had rented for a few days, deep in the mountains. Elquimista.
The science behind rest days: when working out so heavily, rest days are vital. Not only to mentally take a break, but for muscles too… every workout, we induce tiny tears in the muscle fibress. Afterwards, the body sends “satellite cells” to repair these muscles and the cells use amino acids from protein as their building blocks (hence why people have lots of protein to build muscle). This protein, plus resting to allow the blood to flow back into the muscles, makes the body able to repair the torn muscle fibers by making them thicker and stronger than before—which is how they gain strength.
By constantly assaulting the muscle groups without rest, however, it can destroy those muscle fibres before they have the time to repair! By not letting the body move past the demolition phase and into the building phase. Without rest and recovery, your muscles cannot fully grow and it won’t be beneficial, your muscles will become used to the same stimulation.
So, our rest day was spent planning more of the trip, eating nutritious food, enjoying the views, and relaxing in beautiful settings!