It’s spring. The weather is warm(er) and, dry(er). I am on the bikes more and, working harder.
My thoughts are returning to recover techniques so that I can train harder and more frequently. Yesterday I did a hard 90 minute spinning class and then got on the Roberts for almost 2 hours on a route that included three 3 km climbs, 2 fast descents and rolling terrain. Given that a 90 minute spin class is equivalent to a longer road ride, I estimate I cycled for 4-4.5 hours. Today I felt tired. Why? I began examining how to avoid this feeling and to expedite recovery so that I can train more.
I know better. Much better.
Hydration, nutrition and rest are the key. For the bike ride, I forgot my water bottle. In a hurry, I left it at the back door and didn’t notice it missing until the beginning of the first climb. I know better. Much better. And, when I returned, I was cold (and tired) and didn’t eat or drink until after I showered and visited with guests. I know better. Much better.
I know to hydrate before and regularly throughout a ride. In fact, I add the Vega electrolyte hydration powder to my bottles and consume approximately 1 bottle / hour, more when it is hot.
And, I know to eat carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes following a ride. In fact, I also have the Vega post-workout drink which is specifically formulated to replenish electrolytes, reduce inflammation, muscle pain and accelerate recovery.
I know better. Much better. But I neglected to hydrate before, during and after the ride or to eat quickly enough afterward.
There are other things I know to speed recovery – things I have experimented with over the years and know work, at least for me.
- Cool down at the end of the ride. Spin with a light load for 10-15 minutes to rid the body of lactic acid.
- Stretch for 10-15 minutes following the ride, particularly hamstring, quads, calves, shoulders and back muscles.
- I can’t afford a massage after every ride but self massaging the calves, knees, quads and hamstring muscles can make a big difference.
- Hydrate adequately before, during and after the ride. I use the Vega products but chocolate milk is an excellent alternative post workout drink.
- Cold baths, a favourite technique used by professional footballers (soccer), to reduce inflammation and help to relax.
- Eat within 30 minutes following the workout.
- And, make certain to get a good nights sleep – 8-10 hours is recommended.
Next time I will be better prepared.
If you have other tips, I would like to hear them.