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Old 06-08-07, 07:57 AM   #1
jim10040
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Recovery Time

Okay, I'm not 22 anymore. But I'd LOVE to get back into shape to do a long distance ride. BUT when I ride for more than a couple hours now, it takes a VERY long time to feel back to normal. Long time like a couple of days. I am over my optimal weight and can accept I'll never be 165 again. But I really want to get back into longer rides. Is a 2-3 day recovery normal? Do I "need to see a doctor"???? Maybe I just need to ride longer more often than once every couple of weeks?
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Old 06-08-07, 07:57 AM   #2
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Your last question answers your basic question.
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Old 06-08-07, 08:52 AM   #3
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Just keep at it and it will come. Don't be discouraged by occassional set backs as those are the norm. Find some decent reading on "getting started back into cycling" and come up with a basic plan that works for you so you can progress over time if that is what you're interested in doing. Nothing too detailed but just something you can work from and measure your progress.

If it helps any it wasn't very long ago I was in your shoes. I've gone from 220lbs to 165lbs and occasionally do rides that have a little distance to them. So, if you want to you might just be able to see 165lbs again. It's a hoot being able to jump on a bike and knock out distance rides so keep at it and you'll get where you want to be. One of our folks here just finished a cross country trip across the US..........

Let us know how we can help.
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Old 06-08-07, 09:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jim10040
Maybe I just need to ride longer more often than once every couple of weeks?
Yes - 3-5 times per week would be good.
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Old 06-08-07, 10:09 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jim10040
when I ride for more than a couple hours now, it takes a VERY long time to feel back to normal.
Feeling normal is highly overrated.
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Old 06-08-07, 10:14 AM   #6
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I too am distressed by the recovery time I seem to need. Maybe the rest of the world is right and I am overdoing it, but there's no way that concerned observers could be right ... right?
In my case, ten years of letting the body go has, I think, built up a backlog of muscles and tissues and tendons and all that other stuff, not to mention the generous crash padding distributed around the place. I am now fairly fit - you can't leap on a bike and rattle off three hours of riding without being fit. I can push my heart rate harder for longer than I used to be able to. My resting hr has dropped from about 72 to 55. There is no doubt that I am fitter than I was 12 months ago. But I haven't lost any weight. Sure, there is a lot more muscle than before, which suggests that at least some fat has disappeared. My waistline refuses to reduce but is a different shape now. I now don't even think about climbing hills that only a few months back I feared. But it seems to take me forever to recover from the efforts.

Part of this is a continuing battle with depression - it's only mild and it's medicated but one of the effects off my depression is physical tiredness. I think that's an issue. So too is my sleep apnoea - although I wear a face mask connected to an air pump and appear to sleep well, I really have to wonder sometimes.

Another is the recent discovery that a bike that fitted nicely eight months ago doesn't anymore. Why? I currently postulate that my body has become stronger (better abdomen and back muscles) and hence my posture on the bike is better which has messed up a bike fit that made sense back then. Why else would a bike suddenly become too short for me, why I'd suddenly develop knee pain (which has been absent before and no, the seat hasn't shifted, I checked that) and why I now find her tiring to ride?

And, of course, now that I'm fitter, I'm more ambitious and push a lot harder, more often - that has to have an effect on the amount of recovery needed.

None of us are the fit, athletic creatures of our youth. We all have a history of bodily abuse of one sort or another, some more so than others. Many of us have popped out of our forties and realised we let things go for too long and are now trying to redress that. The result can be longer recovery times.

Whatever your situation, be wise. Listen to your body. If it wants a rest, give it one. Learn to rest on the bike (slow rides at low heart rates on flat roads). And no matter how horrible you feel, make sure you give the youngsters a cheery g'day as your roar past them

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Old 06-08-07, 10:16 AM   #7
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Most experts I have read say that after hard workouts it takes 24-48 hours for your body to recover. What you will find is that right now a hour ride on the flat might be a hard workout for you but as you build a base and conditioning 3-4 hours becomes a hard workout. I always take a rest day after my Sunday ride which is generally around 60-70miles. This is a hard workout for me and my body needs the day off. You will also find that sometimes you don't feel up to it and your legs may be sore when you start a ride, after a warmup things gets better.
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Old 06-08-07, 10:18 AM   #8
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Good warmups are essential - they can change the entire ride.

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Old 06-08-07, 10:19 AM   #9
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Hey Jim, just like everybody just said, just keep pumping the miles out and you will see a change. I was in your shoes 11 months ago and I just got back from a 30 mile ride in 15 mph winds and I'm not near as tired as I use to be. When I started, I was lucky to get 10 miles in wind like this. Keep riding and it will come, good luck.
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Old 06-08-07, 10:33 AM   #10
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I dunno. I've been failry diligent about riding and I experience the same thing, especially after an LSD ride or a hammerfest. I keep waiting for it to go away.
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Old 06-08-07, 11:04 AM   #11
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I dunno. I've been failry diligent about riding and I experience the same thing, especially after an LSD ride or a hammerfest. I keep waiting for it to go away.
+1, the legs are always letting me know they have been pushed. Of course, I don't schedule a nap as part of my ride routine.
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Old 06-08-07, 11:40 AM   #12
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I think cycling is perhaps the one sport where "gains" come slowly. As you build up the time on the bike your recovery will be reduced. As you said you are not 22 anymore(who is). My MO for getting back into shape after a 14 year layoff was to do as many short rides as my schedule would allow. It was cause for celbration when I got a 10 mile flat trail ride done two years ago. Last year I got more serious about road cycling but the hills were my downfall.

Keep at it is all you can ask. If a 25 mile ride is cause for a long recovery period, cut it down a bit and try to do 2 or 3 shorter rides a week. Last week we hammered that last 10 of a 64 mile ride, something I could have only dreamed about 2 years ago.
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Old 06-08-07, 01:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by HopedaleHills
+1, the legs are always letting me know they have been pushed. Of course, I don't schedule a nap as part of my ride routine.
A nap is how I train for our hammerin' club rides. I'd be toast without one.
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Old 06-08-07, 02:58 PM   #14
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Recovery rides (slow and very easy) - they may feel "too easy" but they're just what your body (well, at least my body) needs for faster recovery. That is, recovering faster than staying off the bike completely.

The restraint you need to have on a recovery ride is Absolutely Key! No hammering, nothing even kind-of high speed! Slow and easy, slow and easy.

I started riding double centuries in 2003 after not having ridden one since PBP in '91 and while the training was important, learning proper recovery technique was the single thing that helped (me) the most. I just finished my 24th double (since starting again in '03) and followed it by a recovery ride on my single speed and was feeling back to normal in 48 hours.

So yes, it takes some time to recover from a double, but don't stop riding to recover; ride slowly! Easier said than done, but try it and you may find the answer you're seeking.

Of course, Your Milage May Vary!

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Old 06-08-07, 03:41 PM   #15
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I ride 3 times week. Weekends is a Long ride with hills, whether on road or MTB. Tuesday is a shorter ride- started at 5 miles and now up to 20- where I go out for speed on a flat route. Then thursdays- I do about 20 miles taking in one or two steep hills. If I feel stiff the day after a ride- I go out for a gentle slow 5 miles just to turn the legs and get them working again.

This works fine for me- but I have been riding a few years now and am used to it. Then I do the odd serious ride where I am going to put myself under pressure and strain. I let the body tell me when I am going to ride again- that that gentle 5 miles the next day is always on after such a ride.
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Old 06-08-07, 03:54 PM   #16
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Check this article on recovery out...http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/defaul...lstory&id=4798
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Old 06-08-07, 07:02 PM   #17
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When you blokes talk about 'gentle and slow', do you still keep the cadence up or do you let that drop away as well?

My thoughts have always been to keep the cadence up because although the legs are still spinning, you're putting less effort into the muscles.

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Old 06-08-07, 07:09 PM   #18
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I keep mine around 90 to 95. If I go as low as 85 it's time to shift.
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Old 06-08-07, 08:17 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim10040
Okay, I'm not 22 anymore. But I'd LOVE to get back into shape to do a long distance ride. BUT when I ride for more than a couple hours now, it takes a VERY long time to feel back to normal. Long time like a couple of days. I am over my optimal weight and can accept I'll never be 165 again. But I really want to get back into longer rides. Is a 2-3 day recovery normal? Do I "need to see a doctor"???? Maybe I just need to ride longer more often than once every couple of weeks?
Some good points have been made here. It does, indeed, take quite a while to get in top cycling shape. I'm in my third year of riding, and have really made gains this year, much more than the first two years. So, keep slogging away, but keep a couple of things in mind: (1) recovery time is more important than anything else. (2) recovery time is a little longer for those who are 50+.

I do seem to require a little more recovery time than younger riders I know, but am surprised how quickly my body recovers from a hammerfest now, as compared to a year ago, so it does get better with more time on the bike. And tomorrow, I'm going for my longest ride yet, a 209k (128 miles).

As for the weight thing, if you're like most, simply riding won't be enough to get to the weight you want. It will also take improvement in eating habits. I've made improving my nutrition a major goal, and though I'm still 10 - 15 pounds heavier than I should be, that's a lot closer to my ideal weight than I was for years.

I notice you're in Dallas. I have friends in the Greater Dallas Bicyclists club. If you decide you'd like to try club rides, I highly recommend them. You're also welcome to visit those of us on the funny bikes at our rbent (Recumbent Bike Enthusiasts of North Texas) forum. If you do end up getting serious about long distance riding, you won't find a friendlier group than the Lone Star Randonneurs. One of its members who I ride with often, Mark Metcalfe, will be starting his team ride on RAAM Tuesday.

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