Relaxed Structure

A week? This is quite a foreign concept to me. Years of rotational shift work of varying rosters that could be 8 or 9 day, or even 6 week cycles with the added fun of often been being swapped around every month has absolutely no link to the traditional 7 day week. There are pros and cons in this. Having a family throws the typical 7 day week at me, but that seems to serve to eliminate any sort of pattern or routine I could otherwise develop. It certainly creates plenty of challenges to training. It doesn't necessarily make it harder, just a different set of challenges than those working Monday to Friday.

Over the last couple of years I've been having trouble holding down structure in my training. Sticking to something fairly strict keeps leading to problems with over training and fatigue or injury. Backing off and being comfortable with taking recovery as needed has led to a lot of skipped training. It's been difficult finding the right balance. Sleep and extra hours at work play havoc with the best laid plans. I also seem to be having trouble differentiating between true fatigue versus just my sleep cycle being flipped on its head. They are closely related, and I used to be able to get it right most of the time.

My solution this year is to apply variable weeks. Instead of taking recovery days as needed I am planning ahead and scheduling recovery time. The overlying structure will be 2 weeks on of dedicated training followed by one week of recovery. The 'on' weeks will usually range between 7-9 days and this will mainly be determined by my work roster. The 'recovery' weeks will be 4-7 days. Again, this will predominantly be to fit within my work and other commitments. This allows me to plan ahead by about 3 weeks. With the timeframes locked in, I'll manipulate the details of the specific sessions.

Hopefully this set up provides the structure I need to ensure progression and consistency, while still getting the recovery needed. It should also allow enough flexibility to ensure the above without creating the problems of missed sessions and sub-par training. Like anything, time will provide the answer.


  1. Interested to see how it goes. Knowing you have the planned off week coming up should see more productive on weeks. I tend to go until I get tired then take a day off, which has its problems, as you've mentioned.


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