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  1. #1
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    How slow does a recovery ride have to be?

    I did a tough ride yesterday, and normally I would follow that up with a day off, but today I decided to try a recovery ride. I rode about 16 miles along a flat route, staying in easy gears, high cadence, and never pushing the speed. Even so, I finished with an average speed of about 15.6 MPH, which is not dramatically slower than my normal rides. Tonight, by quads ache just a little, which would normally not be the case if I had done a similar ride without the HTFU the day before. I think this means that I overdid it?

    How slow are your recovery rides, folks?

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    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    My recovery rides are usually in Z1 (HR under 126) and maybe into low Z2 if there is a hill or headwind. Average speed on a flat ride can be from 14- 16.5 mph. Last week my wife wanted to ride so we went to the local cemetery where I do my crit racing practice and we rode 45 minutes and averaged 10.8 mph. My legs were in motion for 45 minutes and I know the ride was successful in more than one way. This evening I did a 2 hour Z2 (HR 126-137) ride over a flat route and averaged just under 19 mph.
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  3. #3
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    It is not the speed but the cadence. The higher the cadence the better to a point. Ideally, you want to raise your heart rate but use very little power. More than likely, you put in too much power. Generally, I do recovery rides on a trainer. It is easier to control power and cadence and the time is short. On a trainer, one is motivated to finish versus extending the time or going too fast.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    Evidently I was using too much power, but I really felt like I was taking it easy the whole way. I took the one very modest hill in a granny gear doing about 9 MPH. I don't use a HRM, but there was no point when I felt like I was working. I'll have to slow it down more, next time.

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    Read somewhere that the recovery ride theory does not hold water. Not recommending this but the thought was to just ride as hard as you feel you can the day after a hard ride. A several mile walk will also do for a recovery ride repalacement.

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    A several mile walk will also do for a recovery ride replacement or just rest for a day.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member curdog's Avatar
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    I'm trying to stay in HR1 with a cadence of 90+. This ends up being a workout for me because I usually stay in the 80 range. I like the recovery ride because it often gives me time to work on technique because I'm not obsessed at all with speed.
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  8. #8
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    A recovery ride for me is usually a "smell the roses" type ride. Although I could probably benefit from a more controlled recovery ride I find just exercising the legs helps me recover faster. I also use a message stick/roller to speed the recovery process. So I would say that a recovery ride for me is relaxing ride where I don't worry about speed, HR or intervals - & I keep the distance short.
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  9. #9
    Pat
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    Well, I think the speed depends on your level. What is a recovery ride for a professional cyclist? Just a day hanging out in the peleton at 30 mph+?

    For me, it depends. I do the Florida Bicycle Safari every year which features long fast rides (well for me) with average speeds just over 20 mph. Cruising speeds range up to 28 mph but more like 20-25 mph. We camp in a campground for the event. I have found that just walking around in the afternoon and evening (which is quite a bit of walking) serves as enough recovery so I am "good to go" the next day. But I suspect that recovery is one of my strong suits.

    I would agree. Based on muscle soreness, you probably went a little hard.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
    Read somewhere that the recovery ride theory does not hold water. Not recommending this but the thought was to just ride as hard as you feel you can the day after a hard ride. A several mile walk will also do for a recovery ride repalacement.
    Not saying you are wrong- but I use the recovery ride to get the muscles working. No strain put on them and this normally means low gears and high cadence. The muscles get put through their full movement and blood flows to get rid them of any toxins left.

    Getting the HR up to about 70% of my max seems to do the trick- but if you do not have a monitor- that just means breathing firmly for a good proportion of the ride.

    Best recovery ride I have ever done was straight after a long hard century ride. It finished not far from home- about 8 miles- so I rode the Tandem home solo. No power put in anywhere- cadence kept up to around 100 to 110 and what would normally have been a 30 minute ride- took 3 times longer. Next day there was not an ache of even a sign of any muscle damage. Not bad after a 12 hour ride that usually took about 3 days to recover from.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I don't worry about speed on a recover ride, I just watch my HRM. For me, I try to limit the time spent over 114 bpm to a bare minimum needed to climb whatever small hills I can't avoid entirely. That and make sure I keep my cadence high and the leg pressure low.

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    If I need a recovery ride, I take my 7-y-o nephew out with me; he's generally slow enough to keep me from ANY strain. (Although, he DID do 25 miles with me last week!)

  13. #13
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    If you really are at the level that a recovery ride is needed, the first two responses are the only ones on point.

    I am, unfortunately, off the bike for an extended period of time. As a result, I've been going to spinning classes most days. I've found that I can really maintain fitness using the Keiser spin bike with a power estimate. The Keisers have magnetic resistance instead of the felt pad resistance on other spin bikes. Although the watts are only an estimate, I think they are reasonably accurate within +/- 15% or so.

    Although I only do an hour class most days, I really need active recovery after 2-3 high intensity workouts. If I take off a day, I seem to be further behind than if I've done an easy, or "recovery" day in between. I agree with the high cadence, low resistance comment. Easy pedaling, at a high rate, seems to enhance recovery.

    I've been off the bike for a month, and will probably be off a minimum of another 6-8 weeks. Without the Keisers, I would be pretty down at this point. Knowing that I'm exceeding power numbers I produced early in the Spring keeps me motivated, and keeps the non-riding blues at bay....to a degree.

  14. #14
    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    Accrding to Carmichael a recovery ride is to be done on the same day as the extended ride or race. That being said I normally do not find the time to do a recovery ride the same day. My recovery rides are generally 3 to 4 miles with an easy high cadence.

    From my experience a recovery ride does not eliminate DOMS, but greatly reduces it. So, what would MinnMan's DOMS have been without a recovery ride?
    Last edited by edp773; 06-26-10 at 08:12 PM. Reason: typo
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  15. #15
    Senior Member RoMad's Avatar
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    What is a DOM?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Delayed onset of muscle soreness.

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