Recovery; where the magic happens. Without adequate recovery, your body will fail to adapt from the stresses you put it under in training. This can leave you feeling fatigued, lethargic, and can lead to more serious complications.
What can you do to help promote better recovery? Here are my top three tips:
Sleep is often the most overlooked way to improve your recovery.
Sleep is easily affected by stress, nutrition timing (caffein especially), alcohol intake, hydration, and our living patterns. It is something that many people don’t get enough of.
Lebron James is famous for getting 9 hours of sleep EVERY DAY. He values and understands the importance of sleep for his performance, so much he takes his own bedding to hotels.
Why sleep is so important
This is when we are at our most relaxed, so our body can put all its efforts into recovering. Our mind switches off and the worries of life are gone, its like we are on standby. Allowing our body to repair itself and rebuild from the damage done to it by training and riding the bike.
Our sleeping patterns should be treated like our training habits. We often keep our training regime on a regular pattern, so try and do the same with your sleep.
Try getting to bed by 10pm and switching all sources of electronic light off an hour before doing so. Watch what you eat prior to sleep and look to clear your mind through meditation and mindfulness.
Make sleep a priority and I promise you will recover better.
2: Stretching and massage
Stretching is one of those things a high number of athletes are educated on, we understand the importance of it, but rarely find the time to actually do it.
This is another habit that needs to change, adding in pre and post stretching to our training and riding is something that we should all be doing. Even 10 minutes pre and post ride will help.
It keeps our muscles supple, flexible, and allows more blood flow as they are not as tight and tense.
Massage is again something that a lot of people neglect, often treating it as a cure rather than a prevention.
Being in a static position for extended periods of time can tighten up the body and make you feel uncomfortable and also sapped of energy while riding.
Nutrition is a big one, it is very easy for us to not eat enough and leave our bodies short on certain macronutrients.
The importance of fuelling for recovery
When riding the bike you burn A LOT of calories. You need to put these calories back in to make sure you recover. Consider tracking your calories burned during a ride, through the day, and also what you eat.
Trackers like MY FITNESS PAL are great for this as they allow you to really see what you are eating. Not getting in enough food can be very destructive when it comes to recovery, so I would definitely analyse your food and body weight and see if you are eating enough.
The importance of protein for recovery
Protein is the macronutrient that provides our bodies with the ability to rebuild muscle fibers. It also effects concentration levels and can cut out cravings through the day whilst it also wakes up the brain.
Nutrition can be very complex, and it could also be a very valid reason as to why you aren’t recovering as well as you could be. Consider looking at your protein intake as this may be why you are not recovering as well as you like.
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About The Author: Adam Copley
Adam is a self-employed coach based in Sheffield, UK. Alongside this he is an avid cyclist and competes in cross country mountain biking across the UK. He has raced Cyclocross during the winter and is also a huge lover of road cycling. While he's not working on his business, he is usually out on two wheels getting fitter, and enjoying the fresh air and many climbs in the peak district.