Matt Moran

Track Cyclist Monique Sullivan on Recovery

Posted by Matt Moran on Feb 05, 2013

Monique Sullivan Wattbike RecoveryWhen I open up my email and see a message from Canadian Track Cyclist Monique Sullivan in my inbox I know that we’re going to be able to share something that’s really useful for us all, no matter what physical activity we take part in.

And today is no different; Monique has been kind enough to share some of her tips and strategies for recovery, based on her experience as a track sprinter. And given that she participated at the London 2012 Olympic Games we are minded to listen up!

Recovery is perhaps one of the least respected aspects of training, when in reality it’s absolutely essential to get it just right to maximise the effects of your hard work.

Here’s some great advice from Monique herself (and the image to the right is her recovery drink which causes much amusement at the track – recipe below!)

Recovery is arguably one of the most important parts of training, as many of you know. There are many physiologists out there who’s entire jobs revolve around improving recovery techniques. In fact there is some great info on recovery right here on the Wattbike website that is much more comprehensive.

Having said that I thought I’d share the two simplest techniques that work for me. I have experimented with a lot of different techniques (cold baths, contrast baths, massage, etc- many of which have their place) but I always try to keep things simple and there are two things that I found were absolutely crucial.

It can be easy to read things on the internet and want to try everything. Make sure not to let “recovering” get in the way of your recovery! I have seen people try to implement so many different recovery techniques they never got the chance to actually relax and rest!

The first thing I always did was a full cool down. This means 20 minutes of spinning after the session. (I am a sprinter so most sessions both on the track and on the Wattbike are short intervals of super high intensity).

Sometimes when I am really smashed, this ended up being a pretty slow spin but you should try to ride at a decent pace so the blood can continue to flow through your system. When I was training full time I loved doing a 1hr recovery ride in the afternoon but I was lucky because I didn’t have a day job to get to!

Another recovery technique that is absolutely crucial and I hope you are all already doing is a recovery drink! You need to consume something within 15 minutes of training ending. If you forget to bring something I personally think you’re better off eating a chocolate bar than not eating anything.

I like to think of it as letting your body know you still love it after smashing it on the bike. If you don’t eat I promise you your body will get back at you the next day (usually I drank a smoothie before/during cool down).

There are a lot of fancy recovery drinks out there, if you are drinking a powder be sure that it is 3rd party tested for contaminants, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money to recover. Chocolate milk is an excellent recovery drink because it has both protein and carbs and tastes delicious so you won’t get tired of it.

I usually made a shake so I could fit in some extra vitamins, it was usually a mix of greek yogurt, kale, berries, banana, walnuts and sometimes a bit of extra protein powder.

Happy Training! (And the Recovering!)


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monique sullivan, olympics, track cycling