Training & Nutrition - Recovery
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03-14-02, 12:12 PM
Does a day off from cycling help you ride better? How long do you need to recover from riding?
I find that I ride stronger if I don't ride every day. But the pro's seem to be able to keep it up for a long time.
But, I'm a mere mortal... :)
I can pretty much ride all day on a tour and get up to do it again the next day.
Sure, I feel a little stiff in the morning when I just get up; that is worse if I am camping, better if I can sleep in a bed and get a hot shower. After about ten minutes in the saddle, though I am right back in the groove.
Abrasion seems to be the biggest detractor. If I start to get chafing from the saddle or maybe a hot-spot in a shoe or something. Those kind of troubles seem to bring me down.
Recovery is when you gain fitness. You tear down your muscles during the riding, and when you get off, the rebuilding starts. So, recovery does help!
Recovery is basically individual. For instance, it usually takes me longer to recover between short intervals (going by heart rate) than the other people I train with.
What you usually see & hear about the pros doing is called "active" recovery (of course I do this! My coach is a pro!). They'll ride hard for a certain amount of time...then take some days easy. But, the point is, they are still on the bike during the easy days. Active recovery is the best way to go because it gives your legs a chance to sort of stretch-out and get the previous work load of lactic acid left over out quicker and more effectively.
03-16-02, 06:42 AM
There are a lot of reasons things that work for pros don't necessarily work for me. When I ride hard, I need a recovery day. I just can't push it every day... all the spark drains from my legs, my attitude gets bad, and I stop enjoying the bike.
On recovery days, I either run, ride easy, or do nothing. Velo is right on..., the recovery ride is probably the best because you're using your riding muscles just enough to flush them with fresh, well oxygenated, blood without breaking them down again. I find that it takes a lot of restraint to keep my recovery rides at the recovery exertion level, tho', ;)
03-16-02, 07:04 AM
It's also worth noting that training, muscle and fitness improvement is an adaptive process. As Velo points out, you get stronger by slightly-overstressing your muscles [including your cardio-vascular system] so they are forced to be-build adapted to that level of exertion. That's why recovery is so important -- it's the key stage in muscular adaptation.
I'm not sure that a recovery day would have much effect on lactic acid build-up. Most of the lactic acid in your muscles is either washed out or re-absorbed through gluconeogenesis fairly quickly after exertion. I may be misunderstanding you here, of course, but lactic acid would probably be washed-out during a sub-AT recovery lap after a high interval.
Once my schedule has cleared up a bit, I'm going to try to take my recovery as active recovery and LSD rides. I think it'll take a fair amount of discipline, though... I am, after all, a sprinter at heart.
If I may further this thread, I've been doing alot
of thinking (uh oh there he goes again) about recovery.
I'm doing alot of roller riding the past few days
to work on spin. I average 45 minutes to an hour
(with the occaisional break so I don't fall :lol: )
I'm not really building up lots of lactic
acid as there is no resistance on the rollers.
I'm wondering about recovery given the easy rides.
Is the need the same as with strenuous ride?
Any input would be appreciated.
I generally ride daily. I do not take "recovery" days and I am merely a strong recreational rider. The "trick" to riding daily is listen to your body and take what it can give. If I rode really hard the day before, well I will warm up slower until things get loosened up and I will just noodle along at a comfortable pace. I seem to recover better by riding easy than I do by taking a day off the bike. The riding seems to loosen up the muscle and get some blood flowing through them and that seems to help recovery. But my advice on this one is do what works for you.
03-21-02, 05:48 PM
velo's really got this right...
you basically only need recovery if you've done something hard and strenous - but to really improve you do need to be doing strenous workouts b/c as someone else said, you improve by stressing your body and it adapts to the stress to prepare better for next time.
so the key to training is to continually stress your body by pushing it a little harder --- but the corallary is that you can't push too hard b/c you'll injure yourself - either the muscles or the tendons on the joints - all have to be built up slowly.
when you ride really hard you actually create small tears in your muscle fibers. these take about hours (sometimes more) to totaly rebuild -- and when they're rebuilt the muscles are stronger (assuming you ate correctly and didn't tear the muscles again before they healed)
so the recovery is very important when training really hard ---
for the pros, a recovery might be a 2 hour ride at high cadence - for their bodies this is light training that doesn't stress their muscles
and their is also post-workout recovery which is just activating the muscles a little shortly after exerertion to get the blood flowiong and flush out lactic acid and other stuff in the muscles --- i.e. jump start the rebuildig process.
most serious training schedules call for at least 1 recoevry day --- this means doing nothing or something very light for your body that in no way stresses your muscles and joints
the other big key is variety in your workout - doing hills, long rides, sprints, intervals, etc.
if you do the same ride at the same pace every day your body adapts to that and can do it very well, but you don't ghet better - this is maintenance.... you only get better by pushing yourself...
there is also a training technique to take advantage of your body's recovery... since your body is stronger after recovery and strength and fitness do not begin to detoriate for about 2 weeks, TAPERING is an important technique for serious athletes -- this means reducing your total workout time in the 1 to 2 weeks prior to a big event -- the usual recommendation is to maintain the same INTENSITY but reduce the amount to hlaf or a third -- most racers do no strenous riding for 2 days prior to a big event which makes sense b/c doing so would tear down the body and it wouldn't be rebuilt in time to give any benefit
for serious athletes, the goal is to do as many strenous workouts for as long as possible WITHOUT INJURY FROM OVERUSE OR OVEREXERTION -- and then recover and then repeat but always doing something different and something harder.
and the body works in cycles -- i think most studies have shown that the body can only take like 3 consecutive months of constant breakdown/rebuild cycles before it looses something and needs a break --- for this reason most professional athletes have a plan to *peak* once or twice a year for reayll big events (like Olympics or world cup or whatever)
for non-pros, the same type of stuff works::
1) build your base with lots of mileage to prepare your body and strengthen particularly the joints and tendons -- if you start too hard you'll get hurt
2) do at least one long ride a week
3) do at least one set of interval training a week
4) do a hard ride once a week - with hills and intervals and sprints
5) take at least one recovery day where you do no cycling or only very easy cycling
cross-training is also a very good option b/c it allows you to stress the muscles differently as well as prevnet injuries by allowing to train more but using different movements --- i.e. running helps cardio power but stresse the legs differently
weight training is also a good idea --- here minimum 2 days between training of a muscle group
also, a heart-rate monitor is a great tool for training - it helps you learn how your body responds to training...
OK, sorry for the book, but hopefully someone finds this usefull --- i rode for years w/o knowing anything and then trained for 2 years with a great friend who spent a year in Olympic training camp in CO for road cycling... his knowledge helped my so much to learn about my body and how to train the right way...
oh yeah, last one:: nutrition matters as well as hydration --- drink!
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