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