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recovery ride vs sitting on the couch

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recovery ride vs sitting on the couch

Old 01-05-07, 12:07 PM
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recovery ride vs sitting on the couch

The one workout that i'm most likely to blow off each week is the recovery ride. I understand the benefits of recovery and rest, but how much difference does it actually make doing a little active recovery vs just resting? Anybody have any data?
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Old 01-05-07, 12:11 PM
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I don't ever do recovery rides, I'll usually find something else to do like run, swim, go to the gym...I just hate to do anything slow. from my experience getting your heart beat up and getting some blood circulating in your legs makes a difference but I'm not going to waste my time riding slow...

I consider it a cross train day...
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Old 01-05-07, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
The one workout that i'm most likely to blow off each week is the recovery ride. I understand the benefits of recovery and rest, but how much difference does it actually make doing a little active recovery vs just resting? Anybody have any data?
i don't think you'll find conclusive data on this (someone please correct me if i'm wrong). a recovery ride just seems to loosen the legs up a bit and (for me) helps to alleviate some of the muscle pain of a previously difficult workout.

i find that if i do a recovery ride, i'll get more out of the next ride. so, in a way, i maximize the next workout. and that is the real benefit. a lot of it could be in my head though. i still like to take a complete day off as well. sometimes not touching the bike is exactly what i need.
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Old 01-05-07, 12:17 PM
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Most of the time I don't really mind doing a recovery ride. Summertime, it can be a fun casual ride with friends, family, or a ride to Starbucks.

But this time of year, when its often riding in the dark, or on the trainer, its no so attractive.
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Old 01-05-07, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh

But this time of year, when its often riding in the dark, or on the trainer, its no so attractive.
+ bill gates' fortune.

you tend to stay really cold as well. can't generate much heat with such a low heart rate.
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Old 01-05-07, 12:23 PM
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About the only time I do a recovery ride is the day after a hard event. I used to do them every week but they became another source of stress trying to work in a sixth day of riding. So now I chill with the family, maybe take my daughter for a ride or hike, just generally get my mind off training. That seems to be more beneficial than an active recovery ride for me.
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Old 01-05-07, 12:26 PM
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Our new dog is always up for a walk. Same HR zone as a recovery ride and if I wear her out she might let me sleep the whole night.
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Old 01-05-07, 12:28 PM
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I you hadn't read this post on base milage I think you will find your answer in here. It is one of the most informative posts I have read in a while and while all ??? pages of it will not answer your question it has a good discussion of it.

You and timmhaan summed it up, but that post explains the hell out of it.
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Old 01-05-07, 12:33 PM
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Active recovery is better if you're doing intervals: https://www.jssm.org/vol5/n1/11/v5n1-11text.php

Anyone have an article of a similar test over 3 days, not a single exercise session? If it works on the smaller time scale you would think it would work on a larger time scale, but the human body doesn't always make sense.

The problem comes with actually doing a recovery pace without going too hard. A lot of times that's easier said than done.

Here's an interesting Q&A with Joe Friel (from here).

Q: Can you discuss the rest and recovery strategy of the pros? What does complete rest look like and what does active recovery look like? When do they use complete rest versus active recovery and vice-versa?

JF: This actually varies quite a bit even among the pros. Some of them have a greater capacity for work than others, although they all tend to be able to handle more than the average age-grouper. For example, a recovery day for one pro might include two low-intensity, shorter-than-usual workouts while another pro needs a complete day of total inactivity. So there really is no one-size-fits-all R&R plan for pro triathletes.

The tendency of most young pros is to do too much. As with most overly enthusiastic age-groupers they feel guilty taking a day completely off. The more experienced ones, especially those who have had success in their careers, are more likely to take time away from any training at all. They have learned the benefits of rest.
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Old 01-05-07, 12:43 PM
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It sounds perverse, but my recovery spins are always quick and dirty on a trainer, early in the morning. It's the only time I actually spin somewhat carefree on the trainer (otherwise it's pedaling drills and intervals). However I do make it a point to keep tabs on my pedaling technique while spinning. At this lower tempo, you can work on having a very smooth spin and really feeling every part of the pedal stroke when you are not occupied with recovery between intervals or whatever else you would typically do on the trainer. Otherwise it's pretty easygoing stuff.

For me, there is definitely a difference between spending a day not riding for rest, compared to spending 45 minutes doing a recovery spin. Soreness from a hard ride/week is vastly alleviated. As others mention, you can do other things like walk the dog or play with the kidlets, but I guess I'm trying to zone in on specificity as much as possible, so this means recovering on-bike.

Plus, I like to think that I'm reinforcing muscle memory in my legs (previously mentioned pedaling technique) while they rebuild and strengthen from prior days' effort. This might mostly be mental, though, but even then I consider it beneficial.

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Old 01-05-07, 12:53 PM
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remember the old soviet union atheletes? they used to make recovery a science. i've heard of them using electrical machines to simulate muscles, resting with oxygen tubes, sleeping in chambers, etc. it was crazy some of the lengths they would go to to recover.

i usually just watch old seinfeld episodes with a beer. which probably explains my lack of olympic gold medals.
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Old 01-05-07, 01:22 PM
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all my rides are recovery rides.
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Old 01-05-07, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by timmhaan
remember the old soviet union atheletes? they used to make recovery a science. i've heard of them using electrical machines to simulate muscles, resting with oxygen tubes, sleeping in chambers, etc. it was crazy some of the lengths they would go to to recover.

i usually just watch old seinfeld episodes with a beer. which probably explains my lack of olympic gold medals.
Or they were BS'ing about all that to cover the drug use.
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Old 01-05-07, 01:38 PM
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I usually start out by wanting to go @ a relatively slow pace do an easy spin but once I am warmed up off I go, especially if I see a rider in the distance. During the winter since my mileage is cut back I just try to keep the miles close to 100/wk with some hill sprints done on every ride, than back to a moderate pace. I feel any ride is better than no ride @ all
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Old 01-05-07, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Or they were BS'ing about all that to cover the drug use.
haha. you may be right. but i think they were pretty crazed about crushing everyone in sports and fanatical about getting results. i think they tried a lot of stuff.

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Old 01-05-07, 02:07 PM
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I enjoy my "recovery" rides. Once or twice a week, when I feel too tired for an epic ride, I'll do a recovery ride. I'll take a flat ride along the coast or along a river and enjoy the scenery at 15mph or so. Sometimes I'll bring a camera and stop to take pictures from time to time. Sometimes I'll bring some slower friends or meet some people along the way. An easy way to tell if you're in your recovery zone is that you can hold a conversation the whole way; so you may as well bring some people to hold that conversation with.

If you chat with friends or stop to enjoy the flowers on your "hard rides", then you don't need recovery rides.
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Old 01-05-07, 02:34 PM
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My recovery..............warm/hot jacuzzi tub bath with bubbles! Then get into my pajama pants then retire to the massaging recliner to knead out the knots of the lower back and calves! Maybe even a cold beer!
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Old 01-06-07, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by timmhaan
+ bill gates' fortune.

you tend to stay really cold as well. can't generate much heat with such a low heart rate.
I agree, but I also wonder if sitting on the couch is the first day of the rest of your life?
What about a recovery walk, stretch, run, swim, whatever?
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Old 01-06-07, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeWNC
About the only time I do a recovery ride is the day after a hard event. I used to do them every week but they became another source of stress trying to work in a sixth day of riding. So now I chill with the family, maybe take my daughter for a ride or hike, just generally get my mind off training. That seems to be more beneficial than an active recovery ride for me.
I agree 100%. Working full time AND riding doesn't allow much time for getting other things done.
My recovery day is the day I can catch up on the little loose ends in my life and mentally recover. It might not be as beneficial, phisically, but it sure is better for keeping up my enthusiasm for the bike.
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Old 01-07-07, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by sunday driver
I agree, but I also wonder if sitting on the couch is the first day of the rest of your life?
What about a recovery walk, stretch, run, swim, whatever?
I just stretch and stay warm if the weather is too bad to go for a ride. I'm not sure if HR has anything to do with recovery. In my feeble mind, the benefits are to the muscles, which need some gentle-moderate stretching and warmth. Which is what a recovery ride is intended to do. And swim.
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Old 01-07-07, 10:24 AM
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Oh yeah, while you're sitting around stretching and warming, you can plan the next week's rides, and jot down a few notes to help you remember.
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Old 01-07-07, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
The one workout that i'm most likely to blow off each week is the recovery ride. I understand the benefits of recovery and rest, but how much difference does it actually make doing a little active recovery vs just resting? Anybody have any data?
no data, just experience - my legs feel stiffer/heavy if i've done a big ride, then skip a recovery ride the next day.

another option - go for a brisk walk.
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Old 01-07-07, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by msheron
My recovery..............warm/hot jacuzzi tub bath with bubbles! Then get into my pajama pants then retire to the massaging recliner to knead out the knots of the lower back and calves! Maybe even a cold beer!
you're almost on to something.

after i did the maratona dles dolomiti in july, i did a 3 minutes hot tub/jacuzzi, then 1 minute submersion into ice cold water, then back into the hot tub/jacuzzi, repeat for +/-20 minutes.

the basic idea was to promote circulation.
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Old 01-07-07, 10:41 AM
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I find it nearly impossible to do recovery rides. It's hard to resist the temptation to just go...especially when there are other riders out and you're getting passed by the Coffee Run Riders while you're in your full team kit

But, I hate sitting on the couch, too. So on days off I usually go for some stretching or yoga or a walk or something.
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Old 01-07-07, 10:47 AM
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I usually combine it with something like high cadence / pedaling in circles at low tension, so at least I have something to think about. I don't know, maybe that defeats the purpose, but it works for me.
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