Often understated in terms of importance, recovery should play an essential part of your training plan. Whilst we’re all tempted to cram those after-work hours in wherever we can, not taking time out can actually hinder our progress much more than we expect. Read on for our top tips for recovery and make sure you’re getting the most out of those hours in the saddle.
We know all too well the last thing you want to do after a hard ride (especially if you’re riding the tour of Sufferlandria) but you should never underestimate the importance of warming down. Taking a spin at a high cadence and low resistance will help rid your body of toxins and expire of them as carbon dioxide.
If you’ve got another ride to come, try and make sure you can fit in an easy to digest meal around 2 hours before, with 1-2gs of crabs for every kilo of your body weight- the first step to recovery is preparation!
Post ride nutrition is key. During a ride you’ll burn a combination of glycogen from carbs and fat for fuel, and the harder the ride the more you’ll burn. This means that after the ride you’ll need a combination of:
Carbohydrate to replenish glycogen stores - 0.8-1g/kg (e.g. a 70 kg cyclist would need 56-70g of carbs - around 4 slices of wholemeal bread)
Protein to repair damaged muscle tissue - 20-25g (a small chicken breast)
Fat - a small amount of fat is thought to help promote muscle repair (half an avocado)
You can read more about our top tips for post ride nutrition.
Like nutrition, hydration is also extremely important. Performance starts to falter even at low water loss- and even a 4% body weight loss due to sweating can have an impact on how your muscles work. Dehydration will also lead to an increased core temperature and an increase of muscle glycogen use. For short rides, water is fine, but if you’re going hard consider adding some electrolytes to replace lost salts, or go for a sports drink that contains carbs and sugars for energy.
During tough bouts of training, it’s essential to get in some rest and recovery. Everyone’s body and optimum sleep schedule it different- but it may be worth trying to get in a extra hour or power-nap if you can. Try not to train two hours before bed, and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
If your training plan allows, or you’re not racing multiple days in a row, active recovery is always a good option. An easy spin will keep the blood flowing and help deliver the nutrients you need to your muscles. The quicker your muscles can repair themselves, the quicker you can get back to it!