I constantly get told that rest and recovery is just as important as training hard each week but for a very long time I didn't believe this and kept pushing myself every week to train as hard, if not harder, than the week before in order to accomplish my goals. However as time goes on I've realised that intensive training alone really isn't the key to success. I've covered just over 2,500 miles so far this year with some pretty epic rides including a monster 180 mile ride in February and as a result was feeling pretty tired from all the hard riding recently but like most cyclists I hate taking time out of riding due to the 'Strava addiction' so many of us have, and the fear of suddenly losing all our fitness if we have an easy week or a whole week of rest.
Luckily, one week of rest won't rob you of all your fitness and nor will it mean Strava self destructs but what it will mean is that you get the much needed rest your body needs to repair itself and recover fully before your next big event or ride. Even more importantly if you're ill, it gives your body the chance to actually recover from whichever ailment you have, and be strong again instead of pushing through the illness, being tired and making your body even more unwell. All too often recently i've seen people on twitter saying they are ill but asking if they should still ride outside and conquer their big rides- the short answer is don't. It's better to recuperate then ride.
Of course rest and recovery doesn't have to mean a full week of doing nothing and eating cake, no matter how fun that sounds. Whilst you're ill or resting you can still do some easy activity to keep you from seizing up fully. I personally do a couple of very easy indoor turbo sessions in Z1 or some Pilates to help clear my legs and keep me moving so I don't get too grumpy due to the lack of exercise. Provided you're well enough it's totally acceptable to do something very easy in your rest week to stop you going equally as crazy.
I took a whole rest week this week and discovered they are actually quite fun if you make them interesting. During my rest week it was possible to make the rare and much unheard of social ride with my other half Sarah, and also managed to test ride a tandem which I would never normally do, never mind eating the copious amounts of cake whilst not dressed in lycra.
So have some rest and recover properly. I promise the world won't stop turning and your bike won't melt.