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Old 03-24-09, 07:47 PM   #1
europa
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Recovery rides

Having just come off two days with reasonably hard rides, and being in a position where I want/need to ride every day (staving off the black dog which is being particularly aggressive at the moment), doing the 'recovery ride' thing is suddenly important - I need to exercise every day, not just take a day off.

Soooo, I did some research on recovery rides. I've got a HRM which I recognise isn't essential (let's not get into that argument again) but it's a tool that 's there so I'd be daft not to use it. I fired up Polar's website and had a look at their recomendations and, based on my max heart rate of 185 (observed in the field, it's pretty close), for a recovery ride, I need to keep my HR below 110

110? I work harder than that buttering my toast in the morning.

I'll be cruising along the beach front - dead flat though knowing my luck, I'll have a head wind on the return leg. I don't regularly ride that route so just 'back off a few km/hr' doesn't mean a real lot, I rarely ride on the flat anyway. Like most of us, I'm more likely to go too hard than too gentle. No, I won't be taking the Europa, I'll be riding the Jamis which has all them lovely gears ... hmm, 26x32 gearing on the dead flat with a tail wind, THAT'd be easy riding

The premise is:
I intend to ride every day so the recovery ride is important ... but knowing me I'll probably take one day a week off through sheer laziness and attacks of common sense.
I have a HRM so it makes sense to at least wear the chest strap. My max HR is 185.
The ride will be dead flat.

What strategy do you suggest for a recovery ride? Something that'll do all the mythical things these rides are supposed to do like clean out the system, get the blood flowing, help muscle repair, convince my lady that I've finally gone irretrievably mad.

Distance? Or time?
HR to aim for or maintain?
How many stops for coffee and pie?

Richard
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Old 03-24-09, 08:00 PM   #2
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First, you need rest. That's when adaptation occurs. Overtrain and the "black dogs" are guaranteed to rove in large packs.

A recovery ride for me is around half-an-hour on the flat and slow.

Training for the kind of riding I do -- marathons of 200 - 600 km over very hilly terrain -- never exceeds 4 days a week. Never pass a pie.
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Old 03-24-09, 09:21 PM   #3
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From what I have noticed a good recovery ride seems to be when your heart rate is between 120 and 130. At least for me. 124 is about what I do when riding on the flat at 16 MPG. That is the pace I can pretty much do all day long. Today was supposed to be one but that wasn't how it turned out.
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Old 03-24-09, 09:50 PM   #4
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Yeah, 120 - 130 is what I would have thought, you're certainly just ticking over at that pace and it's a real challenge to stay in that range, enough of a challenge to make the ride interesting.

The other thing to note is that I'm not 'training'. I'm not going out and blasting long distances at high speeds trying to meet goals of some sort. All I'm after is an hour a day of exercise. Trouble is, in this area, it's all hills and being a fairly typical sort of bod, I tend to push hard which is why, like today, I get home smothered in sweat with the old legs composing letters of complaint to their union.

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Old 03-25-09, 05:33 AM   #5
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Europa,

It take a little practice to ride easy when we always strive for harder and more. My recovery rides are done in Z2 (122 to 136), the little ring and with a higher cadence of 95 to 105. I had to do two hours of RR yesterday evening and on every hill the "nail it" daemon was sitting on one shoulder and the recovery angel was on the other shoulder whispering "back off fool". The end result is I'm going to spend some time in purgatory.
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Old 03-25-09, 05:49 AM   #6
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I just go for a nice easy paced ride for about an hour, paying no attention to the HRM. Leave it at home and smell the roses.
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Old 03-25-09, 07:52 AM   #7
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I tend to follow Jet's approach... small gears and work on spinning. Generally, I don't do more than an hour on a recovery ride. I must say it's hard to justify pie after such a ride, but I usually manage to find some way to make the justification.
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Old 03-25-09, 09:34 PM   #8
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I too find going slow much more difficult than blasting up a hill.
When someone finds the way to easily hold back... please call me.
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Old 03-25-09, 09:48 PM   #9
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I too find going slow much more difficult than blasting up a hill.
When someone finds the way to easily hold back... please call me.
It's called a Heart Rate Monitor

Thanks for the feedback. I tend to agree with the 'just take it easy' brigade, which is what I've always done in the past. Trouble is, I don't take it easy which is why I'll be riding with the HRM so I've got something to nag me when I work too hard

I didn't do a 'recovery ride' today. I was feeling fine. No tiredness or soreness, so I went on my normal 30km loop only this time I reversed it. Big mistake. Firstly, reversing the route turned it from a brute of a ride into a prize sod of a ride, a lot harder than my normal direction. Secondly, I felt knackered all the way. Not the normal 'I'm tired' type lack of energy or effort, I just felt like I was completely drained and riding through treacle. Funnily enough, my average HR showed I hadn't worked too hard at all (136 average) and my average cadence was 85 so although I felt like I was mashing all the way I clearly wasn't. Total distance so far for this week is a pretty normal 90km so it's not like I'm grossly overtraining. All part of the crap I'm working through at the moment.

Tomorrow I'm going to be a good boy and just pootle along the beach front like I promised to today. I might even check out the wind direction to make sure I've got a tail wind back to the car

Richard
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Old 03-25-09, 11:51 PM   #10
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do the 110, try not to get to 120
after 10 minutes of looking down to see the HRM display you'll get over it and forget to keep lookin at the HRM and then you'll be into the ride.
spin easy
and 45 min to 1 hr later you'll wonder how you could ever miss doin at least one a week.
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Old 03-26-09, 03:13 AM   #11
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On has to be very very strong to ride slow
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Old 03-26-09, 10:19 AM   #12
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Well, I think these things depend with the person.

For a recovery ride, 120-130 for the first bit would be fine. After things warm up and start feeling good, you can push a bit harder. Say 140.

I don't ride with a heart monitor or at least not often. On a recovery ride, I just take it easy and if I feel good, I will push it some. But I have never had a problem riding 7 days per week for months on end if I feel like it.

As for time, I usually do at least an hour and usually 2 for a ride.
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Old 03-26-09, 11:05 PM   #13
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You're so lucky to live near the beach! Use your recovery days to go swimming, bodyboarding, snorkeling...

Come think of it, if I were in your position I'd probably be getting exercise in the water every day I could. It uses all muscle groups, it's low impact, and it's totally invigorating.

A couple hours in the saltwater every day will cure anything that ails ya.
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Old 03-26-09, 11:25 PM   #14
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If you aren't doing killer intervals I don't know if you need to do serious recovery. Just do your slow ride, take it easy and don't worry. If you go over your HR just a bit for a moment, big deal.

I'm not a doctor, but I play on one on TV.
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Old 03-26-09, 11:48 PM   #15
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If you aren't doing killer intervals I don't know if you need to do serious recovery. Just do your slow ride, take it easy and don't worry. If you go over your HR just a bit for a moment, big deal.

I'm not a doctor, but I play on one on TV.
I probably don't mate, but I know from past experience that my ageing body doesn't recover well. My area is very hilly so I always seem to be fighting a hill and in recent times, my legs have suddenly found some strength and I'm working them pretty hard powering up those hills rather than being sensible and spinning. This is purely preventative maintenance.

In the past I've just ridden when I felt like it but that's a bit too hit and miss at the moment. The 'black dog' reference wasn't a throw away line, I'm fighting a pretty serious bout of depression at the moment and regular exercise is all part of my management strategy. It works too, works brilliantly, at least as effectively as drugs with the bonus that it's good for me (drugs aren't, I don't care what some people say) and I don't have to worry about 'coming off' or missing a few days or any of the other nonsense that goes with drugs. My attitude is to get my lifestyle right first and if that fails me, THEN I'll resort to the drugs. The black dog for me is largely stress related too - single parent, unemployed and trying hard to change that, studying at uni, it's all taken its toll, but that'll soon change. The kids'll grow up and leave home, I'll get too old to work and I'll pass uni, so it'll all go away in a puff of magic pixie dust

I did a nice, gentle ride today. An hour and a bit along the beach. Kept the heart rate below 130 though goodness knows how - I must be more stubborn than I thought. I feel good. I feel happy ... and my stupid thighs are more sore today than they were yesterday, work that one out.

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Old 03-27-09, 05:20 AM   #16
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+1 on the bit about using exercise to chase the blues. Works wonders for me.

Always have a tough time keeping my HR down on a ride. Freedom of the wheels just makes me wanna go! I treadmill or walk on my recovery days.

Weather now makes most days recovery days. If we have a couple nice days in a row, I AM going to ride however I feel like.
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Old 03-27-09, 09:18 AM   #17
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I too am not good at doing my own recovery rides so twice a week or so enjoy a nice slow friendly group or even just one partner with a superior talent for slowing down and smelling the roses.

When stuck with myself, I put all the higher gears off limits and concentrate on silk smooth spinning, another area of weakness.
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Old 03-28-09, 10:16 AM   #18
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Glad to see from later posts that you've had some good recovery rides

I was concerned to read about a max heart rate of 185 in your first post. Max exercise heart rate is commonly accepted to be 220 minus age, and you're posting in the 50+ forum - so max 170, no?

And training effort is again commonly accepted to be 60% of age related max (- 102 bpm - for a soft recovery ride that still has a training effect) - to 80% (for a fair effort that still stays age-related safe, 136 bpm)

A decade ago I used to run reasonable marathons - nothing impressive, but usually upper quartile of finishers, 3 hr 30 to 3 hr 40, keeping at 140 bpm. Any more, and I'd be anaerobic and lactic acid painful.

And for a safe training effect that releases endorphins, creates a bit of a feel-good but doesn't risk busting your pump, I'd say go softer than maybe your 'drive' impulse suggests

Don't want to sound preachy, but your 185 scared me. Every good wish
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Old 03-28-09, 04:27 PM   #19
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That 185 scared me too, though I'd seen it coming. I learned early on that the 170 max I got from the 220-age wasn't right. In those days, I was really struggling to climb a hill near here - stopping at least once every time on it. Then one day, I made it in one go. My HR hit 187 and stayed there for a good 10 minutes. Since then, I've used 185 as a working max and now I'm sensible enough to stop before it hits 180. These days, I'll do that same hill with my HR getting into the low 170's at some point but not staying there so yes, you do get fitter.

The 'soft' ride was good and I'll be doing it again, but I'll also be tackling the hills. I don't think I can do a ride at 60% of my max (110) while maintaining a decent cadence though, mid to high 80's.

Richard
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