It’s more common than uncommon to have heavy legs the day after a rest day if you are on one of our higher training volume plans (8hr +).
The body hasn’t been working on the rest and recovery day, so the ride following the rest day might be a bit of a struggle. Riding daily keeps all the muscles and blood working, so when you stop your body has a bit of a “shut down”.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind for your session back on the bike following a day off.
Put a little bit more emphasis on your warm up. Start a bit earlier, do an extra ten minutes prior to the ride or warm up, have an extra coffee or a light stretch.
Remind yourself that you have been working hard and deserved that rest day.
Tell yourself you are fit and strong and as soon as the heavy legs subside you will be ready to rip.
Age can make a difference here, younger riders tend to feel really good off a rest day.
Heavy legs after a rest day does not necessarily affect everyone. We’ve had numerous athletes over the years who sometimes feel better the day after a rest day. Some of those will then feel heavy the next day, or not at all.
Sometimes the day following a rest day your first effort might be a real struggle. It’s likely that from then on you will be fine and the next efforts feel much better.
Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone, but it is something to keep in mind that you can’t wind yourself up if you feel flat after a rest day and feel like you need another rest day. Usually it means you just need to fire the engine back up again.
If you’re training a lot, your body is expecting you to keep doing a lot.
You are fit! Remember that.