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Riding After a Rest Day

Old 09-23-22, 09:50 AM
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terrymorse 
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Riding After a Rest Day

What is the ride after a rest day supposed to feel like?

For me, it's very consistent. I feel like garbage. Legs feel heavy, and my heart rate spikes up well over where it should be, given the effort.

After at least an hour on the bike, sometimes two hours, I start to feel better, and the following day's ride is fine.

But what is going on? Is this common? If I do an easy ride in place of the rest day, I don't get this "garbage" feeling.
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Old 09-23-22, 10:04 AM
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Garbage feeling in all of you or just in your legs? Regardless of whether after a rest day or not, quite often my legs don't feel good on any ride during the first 60 minutes of riding. However my numbers and data for that ride don't show any evidence of my performance being bad during that period my legs feel crappy compared to when they feel good.

However the garbage feeling I might have for all of me that sometimes makes me resist going for a ride goes away almost immediately when I get on the bike and begin to pedal!
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Old 09-23-22, 03:24 PM
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I don't generally have problems after a rest day. I normally feel strong and eager, unless it's a rest day after a tough ride (say, a century, brevet, or a long ride on tour into a really nasty headwind). Sometimes those long ride hangovers last two, three, or even four days. But IME, it's the hard day hangover, not the rest day, that leaves me with logs for legs.
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Old 09-24-22, 06:21 PM
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Happens... I find that if I take a 'rest day' the day after a very hard ride and then ride the day after 'rest', it's usually awful... The 'rest', off the bike, has done the opposite, for me.
I try to do a 'recovery' ride, pace and distance to be determined by the legs and some extent, general overall feel. Recovery ride goes until the legs start feeling 'normal' again. Which these days usually is somewhere around 20 to 25 mi., with very, very light climbing requirements.
Then the day after 'recovery ride' usually has me feeling good.
Other events in life often play with doing things the best way possible - LOL! And at a more 'seasoned' age, recovery has extended requirements.
These days, because I no longer have regular 'work' requirements, going out for a bimble is often the 'rest' I need...
I've also found that varying up the 'road' time, with gravel/mtb-lite has really helped in my re-building this year.
End of August found me having that 'wooden' legs, no punch feel for 2 weeks solid. With as much riding as I'm now doing, I expected it to happen. It's past now, so adapting the past 2 weeks to more 'recovery' and less frequent hard days has helped get me beyond this.
CAVEAT - I don;t have any 'training' plan, nor specific goals, just 'rebuilding' from the past 5 years...more specific goals may be made, after coming winter, and where I find myself.
Early to Mid 60's was when the 'feeling like hell' became very obvious, for me.
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Old 09-24-22, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
I try to do a 'recovery' ride, pace and distance to be determined by the legs and some extent, general overall feel. Recovery ride goes until the legs start feeling 'normal' again. Which these days usually is somewhere around 20 to 25 mi., with very, very light climbing requirements.

Then the day after 'recovery ride' usually has me feeling good.
That sounds very familiar. My 'recovery' ride is also mostly flat and lasts 1.5-2 hours (with a mid-ride coffee stop), but I don't stay in zone 1 as is commonly recommended. I'll spend most of the time in zone 2, with a higher than typical cadence for the effort.

When I do a decent 'recovery' ride, the next day's ride almost always goes well. Far better than if I didn't ride at all.
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Old 09-24-22, 06:37 PM
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I remember reading an article in Bicycling! magazine sometime in the late '70s or early '80s where Wayne Stetina, highly successful U.S. bike racer and, later, head of marketing for Shimano USA, said proudly that his brother Dale had invented the "rest day" technique of riding for a few hours while using his bike's lowest gear. Now, decades later, you see pro riders lined up on smart trainers, pedaling at what look like low effort levels before and after the day's race.

On the other hand, George Hincapie remarked in a recent video on Lance Armstrong's The Move channel that he always hated rest days during Grand Tours because Lance would make the whole team ride hard for at least four hours, presumably to avoid the possibility of the riders suffering from the leaden leg syndrome described in the opening post.
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Old 09-24-22, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
That sounds very familiar. My 'recovery' ride is also mostly flat and lasts 1.5-2 hours (with a mid-ride coffee stop), but I don't stay in zone 1 as is commonly recommended. I'll spend most of the time in zone 2, with a higher than typical cadence for the effort.
When I do a decent 'recovery' ride, the next day's ride almost always goes well. Far better than if I didn't ride at all.
I also look to LOW zone 2 - zone 1 is foreign to me...
but like to keep cadence 'very comfortable', I'll start with a lower cadence, often around 70, and as ride progresses the cadence rises to mid 80's, but in a light gear which feels quite low resistance.
How often do I do 'recovery ride'? last week (9/11 thru 9/18) 5 of 7 days were 'recovery'... Completely different this past week.
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Old 09-25-22, 09:18 PM
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I only do a recovery ride when my legs tell me that I shouldn't do a normal ride that day - my legs are dead. I get on the rollers and do zone 1 at about 80 cadence and do that until my legs tell me to quit, which is sometimes only 15'. There's no way I could go out for an easy/moderate ride on the road. If I could do that, I would have, but that's not a recovery ride. That's just a Z1-2 ride which is a specific training ride in my lexicon, not a recovery ride. There was a US road champ a few years ago who did 20 hours/week of Z1 for the last two weeks before the Nationals. That's not recovery, that's training for the endurance end of the spectrum.
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Old 09-25-22, 09:39 PM
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There's a reason the pros all ride real distances on the rest days of grand tours. Now, we have no business riding our rest days at their pace! but those rides scaled that down to our modest speeds and distances can be a real blessing.
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Old 09-29-22, 09:12 AM
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What constitutes a 'recovery ride' for anyone will be specific to themselves. In a 'team' environment that will differ. Whether in a training camp or multi-race situation. but even Pros will do extended training programs on their own, knowing what works for them. Team situations often will provide for small group variance in 'recovery', where as 'rest' day is intented to aid 'recovery' but still add small segments under load. How that's achieved depends on the day/days before the rest.
Past Sunday turned out to be very heavy day of speed and climbing, more than I could handle, well. And Monday was a pre-arranged group ride at tempo - which I should have passed on but didn't... my mistake. Tuesday, very obvious I could have either stayed off bike or do serious recovery. Opted for recovery, because I hadn;t been off bike since Aug 22, so I decided to keep at it, albeit Z1 and supermellow cadence (75ish).
Yesterday's ride started with the legs stillt wooden and tender. So for the first 15 it was just steady, low load at 80 rpm. But by the time I was at 12 mi. the legs started showing life. I normally (these days) just keep the 'recovery' rollin', but decided to put in some stronger effort. Surprised that the legs answered, without complaining, and felt increasingly better, until I was at an effort I hadn;t done in yrs. Another 12 mi and I backed off for 5 of 'cool down'. Happy to know improvement is still possible.
Don;t really have any goals, other than to see what 73 has in store for me. Given how the past 3 months have progressed, there may be real goals, next riding season !
Anyway, we're all in different places / spaces; so how we do 'recovery' does vary a bit. But 'recovery' always seems better than doing nothing.
Ride On
Yuri
EDIT - The HMB sure seems to have added to the 'building'. I don;t really feel I've gained more 'power' or endurance - beyond what I might normally expect from consistent riding/'training' . But given it's the only thing I've changed/added in the past weeks, it seems to really speed up 'recovery'. Where, before, I might need 4 days of 'recovery', now 2 days after a cluster of really hard days, seems to do the trick. Usually my improvements happen around 'flat' spots (seemingly regression) which might last 2-3 weeks sometimes. None of that happening now. But still a bit too early to tell what actual, longterm benefits the HMB might add. But things looking good.

Last edited by cyclezen; 09-29-22 at 09:22 AM.
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