Recovery

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by gs12, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. gs12

    gs12 New Member

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    Curious to know how long in between rides, and what supplements (if any) everyone is using. I'm still kind of a newbie (2 years), so i'm learning as i'm going. I work from home, so i get to ride a lot . Currently, i found that two days recovery is optimal for me - i typically ride between 30-40 miles, over fairly hilly terrain (1k-3k elevation on avg ride). It seem when i try to go every-other day, my legs aren't recovered enough to get above 25 miles without pain.

    I've recently started taking some Whey protein stuff, not sure if it's helping or not. Anyway, any suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

    Gene
     
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  2. Colnago62

    Colnago62 New Member

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    Protein supplements only help if you are defecient. If you are from the USA, you probably not deficient. Some things that might help could be ride lighter gears, start your recovery within 20 minutes of getting of the bike. Age can effect how long it takes to recover.
     
  3. graham66

    graham66 New Member

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    two days riding 1 day off 2 days riding 2 off 1 day riding then 1 off then repeat make sure you rest
     
  4. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    When I do a formal training cycle ramping the load over a period of time, 2 days off (usually Monday and Friday) has been typical protocol on the plans I've followed, with an easier week built in every few weeks. I found good results.

    The last part about easier weeks isn't really needed if you are on a steady riding schedule, but you'll hear folks who ramp the workload over a period of a few weeks or a couple months, like during a build cycle, talk about "digging a hole". There are three components to how strong one is on a bike at any given time: Fitness, Fatigue, and Form. Fitness is the amount of work we are doing, but as we work fatigue increases as well. The key to being strong at run time, i.e. in good form, is resting just enough so that fatigue subsides somewhat, but fitness doesn't diminish significantly. So, the bigger the hole, the more recovery needed to find good form.

    Here are two examples, one is a short cycle showing 3 days on the bike, then one day of rest. You can see fitness, or workload (represented by the charts bars) causes fatigue to rise, and form to drop. Form rises, and fatigue drops following easier days. Ok, I think we all pretty much know about this relationship:

    [​IMG]

    Small holes can be dug for 2 or 3 days (even one day can dig a tiny hole, but probably only good enough to plant a shrub), big holes can be dug over 2 or 3 months.

    Here is a much longer cycle of an athlete digging a serious hole, steadily increasing the load over a couple months. The riders fatigue (purple line) rises along with the riders increasing fitness (blue line). Then, significantly reducing the work, known as "tapering" sees a spike in form (where the orange line crosses the blue)... that is the period of time to target a major event:
    [​IMG]
    It is important to note that this longer cycle of digging a deep hole will have built in rest days each week of this progression, and the rider will feel as they are generally improving, but it is not likely that the rider will ever feel really fresh or his strongest during this build. There will be periods of respite every 3 or 4 weeks where the rider will emerge with new spirit, but with it the knowledge that another period of being beaten down is about to begin. The joy! And there will be a time toward the end before the final reduction in workload where the rider will probably feel quite exhausted. But at the end, this rider will emerge feeling like a superhero ready to crush his enemies, see them driven before him, and hear the lamentation of their women!

    At two days off you are finding the following ride easier because your fatigue is low, and form is good, but your fitness is probably pretty low as well (relatively speaking). That's not necessarily a bad thing, it all just depends on your goals.

    The amount of rest needed could vary based on age, the amount of quality sleep one gets (say 8 hours compared to 5-6 hours), diet, and personal constitution, but at least 4 or 5 days a week is needed imo to show improvement and reach one's full potential. Don't get me wrong 3 or 4 days a week on the bike will keep one basically fit, but you'll lag behind the guys putting in longer/harder miles (i.e who dig bigger holes) when they decide to get frisky.

    As far as refueling I find I do way better (feel better during the following days ride) if I have some liquid carbo replenishment within the first 30 minutes of getting off the bike following a particularly grueling or high intensity ride, and especially if my legs feel cooked. Better some sort of sport drink, but a can of soda will do fine. Then a shower, followed by a nice big dinner (or lunch)!
     
  5. gs12

    gs12 New Member

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    Great feedback, thanks everyone!
     
  6. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    Depends on what kind of riding I'm doing. I typically do 25-35 mile tempo or higher paced rides during the week and longer endurance paced riding on the weekend. What days I take off varies on the training load from the rides. A 20+mph average pace (threshold+ effort) group ride for 25-30 miles requires a rest day afterwards if I want fresh legs, so does a 75 mile endurance ride. <50 mile tempo or lower effort rides can be done back to back without issue. I don't have a formal training plan, but I do know the basics and I've also done enough formal training in other disciplines that I know how to listen to my body. If I feel good, I go hard. If I feel like I need a day off, I take a day off.

    An average week looks something like...

    (Mon) 25 mile tempo ride - (Tues) 25 mile threshold ride - (Wed) rest - (Thurs) 20 miles divided into two VO2max intervals - (Fri) rest - (Sat) 60+ mile endurance ride - (Sun) 60+ mile tempo ride

    Depending how hard I go on the weekend rides and how busy I was otherwise, I sometimes skip the Monday ride. I find that volume requires more recovery time than effort. I'm recovered from TT and CX races in 24hrs if I eat well and get to bed early, even though the effort is very high. After a century ride, I'm not fully recovered for a couple days. Fatigue also tends to have a cumulative effect with higher volume. Eating well is critical, as is getting sufficient sleep. I do take whey protein and creatine, but I think their effects on cycling performance is minimal. I take them for other reasons. One recovery aid to not miss out on is the replenishment of glycogen stores immediately after your ride. When you're done riding, have a sugary sports drink, orange juice, some energy gel, bananas, other fruit, or any other form of simple carbs. Orange juice is my favorite for riding and weight lifting because it's natural, healthy, and is over 90% carbs. This will help your body more quickly replenish the glycogen you burned off and makes a significant difference in recovery time.
     
  7. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Good point about the intensity/duration vs rest.
     
  8. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    Protein within 30 minutes of a ride is also good for recovery. A whey protein shake works well for this--I'll often toss some protein powder (not whey protein, though--I'm lactose intolerant) in some Gatorade after a ride. 25-30g of protein is enough, as your body can only digest about that much at one time. Some people swear by chocolate milk, as it has both the sugar and protein you need.

    Or have a dark beer.
     
  9. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    Your goal should be to ride everyday. After you can do that you can increase your mileage. So cut back on your miles until you can recover overnight.


    It was hot last month. I was doing 2 hours a day everyday. I missed one day. The prior day I had done 2 hours in the morning and then 3 1 hour segments in the afternoon. I went to bed very dehydrated. It just seemed better to get more water in me than to go out and ride.

    This month seems like 3 hours a day. But my 3 hour route had some repair work. And it is not conducive to a hard pace. I might have to extend my 2 hour route.
     
  10. Colnago62

    Colnago62 New Member

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    I want to say it is something like a 4:1 carb to protein ratio. Protein in the right amount will help your body absorb more carbohydrates. I was watching an interview during the TdF where a nutritionist said that consumption of carbs even earlier in the absorption window, will allow for a more complete recovery.
     
  11. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    There is a great deal of difference between a guy who rides 2 hours a day a couple times a week and a professional who rides 5 hours a day most days.

    I have noticed that 2 chocolate chip cookies (from a car dealership) puts me in the mood to go out and ride hard for a couple hours - even if I am beat. The sugar rush does it. Sort of like gel packs on rides.

    A planned recovery is never necessary. The "see" food diet - eat when you see food, is sufficient.
     
  12. Colnago62

    Colnago62 New Member

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    Edmund Burke, PhD wrote a book called Optimal muscle Recovery. Reading the book left me with the impression that even for a recreational/amateur athlete, a deliberate, systematic approach to recovery will show gains over one that is less so. In the book it is called the R4 System. whether the gains are worth the hassle is up to the athlete.
     
  13. gs12

    gs12 New Member

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    So, i've listed to some of the advice, and cut back to 25 miles every other day, which is fine. But because of work schedules, i missed the last two days - and had time to go out this morning (2 days rest). I easily was able to do 42 miles, on a very hot and humid day. I think the every-other day regiment, assuming i can fit it in w work, then a 2-day off ride is optimal right now. When it cools off, i might take the suggestions about interval training, and def the supplement tips are great. Thanks again everyone!
     
  14. Damien Lee

    Damien Lee Active Member

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    I don't take an supplements as I try to get all my nutrients from clean foods that I choose to consume. It doesn't take me long to recover even though I'm getting on in years. However, I seldom ride more than around 200 miles per week and mostly for enjoyment rather than commuting purposes. Only last year, I suffered from severe stiffness around the shoulders but cycling was probably not responsible for that issue. I decided to take a break from cycling for two weeks until I recovered.
     
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