Tips For Post Rider Recovery16 June, 2014 0 comments
Tips For Post Ride Recovery
What you do after your ride all contributes to how well your body recovers, how much benefit your body actually gets from the exercise you've just done, and how well you're able to perform next time you're out on the road, trail or track. By providing your body with adequate rest, the muscles that become damaged during the ride have a chance to repair themselves. When you have a good recovery plan in place, you're helping your muscles to become stronger, enabling you to progress with your cycling goals.
Even if you just hop on your bike at the weekend, it's still important that you factor in recovery time. By taking proper care of your body and bike, you'll reap the benefits, and will find that you're getting much more out of your rides and life in general.
On The Ride
Believe it or not, but recovery actually starts before you get home. Rajiu Desai from Going Going Bike says that it's easy to forget that the recovery process begins while you're still out cycling. If you're already struggling out on the ride due to running out of energy, and not refuelling when you should have done, the likelihood is that your eventual recovery time will be longer than anticipated. It's crucial to always make time for breaks, and before you leave for a long ride, ensure you're stocked up with high energy snacks and water. It's better to have regular breaks than to push yourself to the limit, and find you can't get back on your bike as soon as you'd like to.
Even if you maintain hydrated for the duration of your ride, you will still have lost more fluid than you would have consumed. Marianne MacGinnis from bicycling.com says that afterwards, your goal is to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. If your ride was easy or moderate, sipping water and then eating a meal within an hour of finishing your ride should be fine. If the ride was long and intense, you might want to consider the weighing method. This will help you to determine your drinking regime. What it entails is stepping on the scales before and after your ride. If you find that you weigh less after your ride, then you should try to drink more. If, however, you weigh more than you did before the ride, then it might be wise to avoid overhydration.
Stretching after a ride is crucial if you want to prevent injuries. If you've just finished a ride through the rain and are soaked to the skin and cold, take a shower before stretching, as it's important to be warm to reap the full benefits. Joe Gustafson from Cycling Underground says to take 15-20 minutes to do some static stretching, though he insists that you should hold at mild discomfort and not, under any circumstances, bounce. By stretching after every ride, you'll find the next day you'll have less muscle soreness, and will increase your range of motion, enabling you to become a better cyclist.
But stretching isn't only great for the body, it's great for the mind too. When you stretch after working out, you're giving your mind chance the chance to tune into your body and how it's feeling. This connection between the body and mind is great for stress relief and relaxation. The best way to learn how to stretch effectively is by studying a stretching manual, or by following an experienced person.
Massage is an excellent way to promote recovery. The best day to have a massage is the day after your ride. If you're worried about the cost of regular massage treatments, there's always the option of self-massage to reach those tight, sore spots. There's plenty of information available about self-massage, and equipping yourself with a foam roller might just be the best thing you've ever done. Massage has multiple benefits, and the list below isn't by any means exhaustive.
- Reduces/prevents injuries
- Relaxes and elongates the muscles
- Improves circulation
- Calms the nervous system
- Relieves pain
- Helps you to feel better overall
If you think getting a regular massage from a professional would be a wise investment, Jeff Nachtigal from Active.com says to look for a therapist who focuses on athletes, preferably cyclists. Ensure that you find a masseuse who you feel comfortable and relaxed with, as it's a good idea to stick with the same one, rather than hopping from one to another. By visiting the same masseuse, they will get to know the idiosyncrasies of your muscles which will enable them to do a better job, and identify any problem areas that you might have.
Active And Passive Recovery
There's a lot of debate about active and passive recovery and which is the best choice. Passive recovery involves putting your feet up and taking it easy the day after your ride. Active recovery means doing some light exercise the day after, for example an easy 20 minute bike ride. The important thing to remember with active recovery is that you're not taking part in an endurance test.
Rebecca Ramsay from Easy Cycling reiterates that the harder you work on your bikes, the more rest you need. Ramsay finds that by engaging in active recovery, she actually delays her come back. At the end of the day, you need listen to your body and what it needs.
Cleaning Your Bike
It's important to remember that it isn't just you who needs post ride recovery, your bike does too! Rob Sutton from Bike198 says that riding in muddy conditions can cause serious damage to your bike. Particles of sand and dirt get into areas of your bike, and act like sandpaper, wearing out the moving parts. Take 30 minutes or so out of your recovery time, and give it a thorough wash. By doing this after every long or muddy ride, your bike will be on the go for longer and your rides will always be smooth