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What You Need to Know About Effective Recovery

Posted by Mikey Ducard on

You’re clocking up the miles and you feel fitter and faster, but you know something is holding you back. If you look at any professional athlete, they know how effective recovery is vital to their bodies. For your ability as a cyclist to progress in terms of getting fitter and faster, ensuring you have a post-ride routine/checklist in place is key, you can’t rely purely on carbon bike wheels and top of the range parts!

In this latest feature, you can find out some informative tips and info that you can take on board and adapt to suit your riding progression.

Essential tips for a complete post-ride routine:


The Warm Down

Keep 10 minutes aside as soon as you get back from any ride to have a warm down. If you have a turbo trainer, then you can hop on and spin out some light-geared strokes at around 85-95 RPM. This will help your muscles to loosen up and flush out the lactic acid after a tough session in the saddle, making the onset of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) not as hard to cope with.

Put in five to ten minutes of light stretching afterwards and this will also help with recovery. Focus on hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes and lower back. You may want to add in some light foam rollering on the IT bands to relieve any tension too.

Remember to Refuel

When it comes to refuelling the body post-ride, there’s a window of opportunity that is a general rule for all athletes, not just cyclists. Once you’ve finished your session, you have around half an hour after the end of a ride in which to make certain you take on board a high-sugar recovery drink.

By consuming protein, it provides essential amino acids for muscle tissue repair, while also assisting rehydration. If you simply sink the whole drink in one go though, you won’t reap the full benefits. Instead, stick to sipping over the 30-minute window, perhaps in between your stretching with some after. Drink it all in one go, and you’ll just need to go to the loo. For the perfect recovery drink, you’ll want to consume a 4:1 carbohydrate and protein drink as this can nearly double your body’s insulin response; this is critical for restocking on glycogen.

Learn Your Rehydration Rate

This is a crossover with the refuelling part of your recovery. With the energy drink you’re consuming, you’re also taking in those vital fluids to replace the ones you’ve worked off during your ride.

If you’re dedicated to making sure you rehydrate correctly, stand on some scales pre-ride before you put your kit on. Also, do this when you return from a ride, that way you can work out the level of fluids you need to consume.

How do you work out how much to drink after a ride?

The simple formula is this:

The variance in your pre and post ride weights

Add the weight of the drink you drank while riding – 1ltr equals 1kg

Divide this number by the duration of the ride in hours

Following this will give you your sweat rate. If you stop for a toilet break, then it won’t be as accurate, but you’ll still have a close idea.

As a rule, aim to replace 1 litre of lost fluids through sweating with 1.5 litres of fluids and electrolytes.

Sleep Yourself to Success

While many think that you’re being slack by seeping aplenty, it is, in fact, as important as nutrition as far as your recovery is concerned. Sleep is our body’s best, most powerful, recovery aid; without an appropriate (full and undisturbed) night’s sleep, you won’t be able to fully harness the potential from your sessions.

By having yourself some regular, quality sleep, it promotes cellular growth and repair. Experts advise eight hours a day as a general recommendation. Did you know that each hour you’re asleep before midnight counts as near double for physiological repair, research has suggested?

These are just a few insightful pointers to get you on the right path to recovery success. Give them a go and see how it helps your sessions on the bike.

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