Whether you are new to the sport or a seasoned veteran to cycling, recovery will always play a vital role in your training and growth as a cyclist. In fact, learning how to rest and recover properly can be, at times, more important than the training and dietary restrictions themselves. The reason why this period is so vital is because overtraining can often lead to a higher risk in injury.
Now, with the sport of cycling constantly evolving, various experts and scientists have done a tremendous amount of research and testing in the process of reducing soreness, injury, and fatigue after such a high level of training. Yet with so much different research out there, the information can be baffling and oftentimes contradictory. What is worse is that some information can potentially lead you to a wrong recovery process for your body. To help prevent those hypothetical situations, I have provided four incredible recovery strategies that you can incorporate both during and after your ride.
1. The Cool Down
One of the biggest mistakes many novice cyclers make is to overwork and push the last leg of their ride. While accomplishing as it could be, this type of practice increases your chances for a more serious injury. After a long ride, you want to begin your recovery process by spinning at a calm and cool pace for the last ten to fifteen minutes. Having this stress-free ride will allow your body to recover to its normal resting levels. In addition, this particular practice will allow you to avoid fainting or dizziness, which can oftentimes result from blood pooling in the large muscles of the leg after vigorous activity.
2. Nutrition and Hydration Recovery
As you come to the end of your ride, make sure you eat two calories of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you will need to eat 320 pounds of carbohydrates of food. In addition, try and pick foods you enjoy. Be sure to read the labels and research the ingredients and the positive impacts that they can have for your body. As for hydration, water is an excellent way to start. To help assist with this, try various sources of fruit juices, smoothies, and low-fat drink options.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is a key weapon in any cyclist’s arsenal. It not only helps your recovery process, but also your mood the next day. For this to be effective, make sure you clean up any bad bedtime habits so that you can ride stronger and faster the next time you train. This means getting to bed earlier, cutting out television, and getting off any and all electronic devices.
4. Stretches and Active Recovery
After a hard cycling session, it is important that you stretch properly and stay active the next day. Now I am not asking you to go on another cycling session. Instead, go for nice easy walk or a relaxing swim. This type of active recovery activities allows you to complete your workout at a low intensity, but with just enough to reduce residual fatigue in the muscle.