As we’ve discussed in a previous blog, rest and recovery can make your training more effective, reduce the risk of illness and help you get ready for your next tough session.
There are, however, many elements of rest and recovery so we’ve decided to share our top 5 post-workout rest and recovery tips:
1. Include a cool down
Recovery starts before you even step off the bike when you include a cool down into your session. When you cool down, you gradually reduce your heart rate whilst keeping the blood pumping around your body, this helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, which aids recovery.
2. Don’t ignore the rest days
If you’re using a training plan to structure your training, it will include rest days and it’s important not to skip these. The allocated rest days help your body to repair itself after a tough session and ensure you’re fully prepared for the next one.
When you have a rest day, you should be doing just that, resting! However, if you’re itching to include some sort of activity into your day, try something like stretching, yoga or walking the dogs.
3. Stay hydrated
Keeping hydrated during your session is essential, but it’s just as important to focus on hydration during recovery too. Once you complete your session you can aid recovery by drinking to thirst, if your session was particularly sweaty, you might want to add some electrolyte or salt tablets to aid hydration.
4. Get your nutrition right
To optimise your recovery, you should take advantage of the 30 minute ‘window of opportunity’ post-training. Try making something quick that’s easily absorbed, and a mix of carbohydrates and protein. Examples include 2 eggs on toast or a chicken sandwich.
5. Don’t skimp on sleep
When you’re sleeping well, your body works on repairing your muscles which aids recovery. Most athletes need at least seven hours of sleep and some sleep experts suggest that the hours slept before midnight can be more effective than hours slept after midnight, so you might want to start your bedtime routine a little earlier than usual.
Still not sure whether to add rest and recovery to your training plan? Read our previous blog post - why rest and recovery are essential parts of your training plan.