When we train, our bodies are put under pressure. Our muscles develop microscopic tears, and those muscles need to be repaired in order to become stronger and capable of being pushed for longer periods of time. You'll either be underperforming or overtraining if you don't include adequate recovery and cycling rest days in your training schedule.
Working on the recuperation part of training is essential for increasing cycling power. If not, you will not obtain the full potential power of their hamstrings and hip flexors, putting them at danger of injury and at risk of not being able to improve cycling speed. The risk of burnout, a lack of energy, and a lack of motivation can all occur if you don't get enough rest and recovery. It's just as vital to schedule rest days and make sure you take them as planned. Interval training helps you increase your bike speed. Cycling intervals and building endurance cycling, on the other hand, are strenuous physical workouts, and they must be followed by a recovery day to get the most out of them.
“It's the most crucial aspect of training,” professional cyclist Liam Holohan explains. So many guys go beyond with their training and never recover — their form deteriorates, and it's a terrible cycle. They believe they aren't performing well, so they train even harder, which just makes things worse.” (i)
How To Recover After A Long Bike Ride
Recovery after cycling, especially a long-distance rides require the adequate post cycling recovery time of at least one to two days a week. This is to allow for proper muscle recovery after cycling and to allow your body to adjust to your training schedule. Cycling recovery aims to help you recover faster by increasing your heart rate, increasing your blood flow, restoring glycogen (or energy), and clearing your blood lactate levels. The following are answers to the question of how to recover legs after cycling.
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Cycling Recovery Rides
A cycling recovery ride is a short ride between strenuous training sessions, usually less than one hour. If you did intervals the day before, today's ride will be an easy and strenuous free cycling recovery session. Researchers believe that a recovery ride after a long ride aids in metabolic waste clearance, which leads to increased cycling performance (ii).
Cycling Recovery Week
Aside from bicycle recovery rides and in addition to cycling training rest days, cyclists should also take a rest week every now and again. After a period of intense training, a recovery week allows you to regain your mental and physical freshness while also assisting your body in adapting to the cycling stress. The level of exhaustion created by your training should be taken into account when planning a bicycle recovery week. Every 3-4 weeks, it's a good idea and a super compensation to have a recovery week. Due to racing blocks or training camps, this may grow shorter or longer apart during the season.
A sample cycling recovery week plan is shown below, as proposed and endorsed by Sport Coaching, a coaching website based in New Zealand (iii):
- Monday: Off Day
- Tuesday: Light Interval Workout
- Wednesday: Light Recovery Ride
- Thursday: Day of Complete Rest
- Friday: Light Recovery Ride
- Saturday: Power Test
- Sunday: A Longer Aerobic Ride
Post Cycle Cool-down
After your training session or race ends, take a 5-minute cool down by spinning slowly on your bike as during a training session or a race, the blood vessels in your legs grow. When you come to a complete halt, the blood simply pools in the same area. This can make you dizzy and reduces your body's ability to transport fresh blood and metabolic waste.
Keep Up the Hydration
After your race or training session, drink plenty of water and hydrate your body. Dehydration might cause your recovery to be slowed. Use chocolate milk or your favorite beverage to help you recuperate.
Protein Helps Muscle Recovery
Protein contains branched chained amino acids, which reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and promote healthy muscular growth and repair. High protein meals like beef, chicken, eggs, nuts, and legumes are high in this supplement. After your race or training session is finished, start your cool down by eating high protein snacks.
Elevate Your Legs
After a long ride, elevating the leg will aid recovery by promoting blood flow in the lower body and reducing blood pooling. Place your legs against a wall and try to stay there for 5 minutes for every hour you've been riding.
Rest is necessary for recuperation and muscle repair, both of which aid in the general healing of the body. Muscle-building hormones are released when you sleep, which are vital for muscle repair during training and after a race. According to research, obtaining 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night and a 30 minute power nap during the day improves recovery by lowering stress hormone levels (iv).
Active Recovery Workouts At Home
A simple massage is an example of an active recovery workout at home. Massage your legs to help drive waste-carrying fluids out of your legs during muscular breakdown. A massage will improve circulation and allow fresh blood to flow freely, assisting in muscle repair. It can also aid in the removal of knots that may form in your body as a result of muscle overuse. Use tiny foam rollers or even a couple of tennis balls tucked under your socks for optimum effects. According to research, receiving a massage after exercising can enhance circulation for up to 72 hours (v).
Cycling, while fun is a highly demanding sport when it comes to your body. Cycling requires physical attributes such as endurance and strength in order to traverse long distances and push harder whether it is just training or a competition. With the above in mind, you can be assured that not only will you feel great after a recovery but you will also be able to push your body that much harder and longer over on the next run.