Ride Hard, Recover Harder

So you finished a hard block of training and you are scheduled for a much needed recovery week. So now what...

For me recovery isn’t just sitting on the coach doing nothing. Here’s my approach!

1. Active Recovery: I prefer low-effort

workouts to total rest to get blood circulating and reduce inflammation so I’m primed for your next ride. For me if I’m on the bike I will do about 100w. This is letting-your-grandmother-beat-you easy. And you don’t have to limit yourself to the bike, this can be an easy walk. The goal other than just getting the blood circulating and reducing inflammation to get in the right mental frame of mind for your next hard ride.

Do you ever wonder why you see the world tour pros on their Trainer spinning after a 6 hour race?

Research found that when cyclists did a 15-minute cooldown spin at 30 percent of their VO2 max after a hard effort, they were able to perform almost as well 24 hours later on an identical strenuous workout.

2. Message: In a study on cyclists who got a massage on only one leg, biopsies showed greater muscle regeneration in the treated leg. And researchers in Canada found that postexercise massage reduced inflammation and promoted the growth of new mitochondria—the parts of your cells that produce power.

Messages are expensive if you aren’t a pro so thank goodness for the foam roller. There are some great YouTube videos out there for foam roller exercises for cycling but in general, rest your leg muscles and glutes on the cylinder and roll slowly back and forth, pausing and pressing into the sorest spots for 30 to 45 seconds. For hard-to-reach areas such as shoulder blades and other parts of your back, lean against a tennis ball on the wall.

3. Sleep More: Did you know pro cyclists sleep far more than the average club rider, clocking up to 70 hours of shut-eye a week during the Tour de France, for example, compared with the 40 to 50 hours most of us get during the same amount of time. It’s a recovery tool that pro teams take seriously, and for good reason: When you sleep, your body produces hormones that are critical to recovery.

Research from Stanford has shown that getting just two fewer hours of sleep than normal can slow your reaction time and performance.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults get seven to nine hours of sleep.

Other than quantity of sleep try these easy tip to get a better quality nights sleep. Remove distractions like laptop, phone, and TV from your bedroom so you don’t use them an hour before bedtime. Listen to music or read instead. Finally, limit alcohol (it can prevent deep sleep) and cut off high-octane beverages and coffee bymid-afternoon.

Take full advantage of your recovery weeks to get your body primed and ready for your next hard block of training. Not taking recovery weeks, hopefully you will consider the benefits.

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