Fatigue affects us all, young and old, male and female. And there’s nothing you can do to stop it when you do strenuous activities and cyclists are especially prone to muscle fatigue and ache. However, there is a lot you can do to recover from it by doing recovery cycling is the best way to improve your performance when your legs feel wobbly with every step you take, usually after a couple of days of intense and long-distance cycling.
What is recovery cycling? It is a very effective way to ease your muscles back into their best-performing state by doing low-intensity and slow cycling. Take it as a quick cycling session to go sightseeing.
When Should You Do Recovery Cycling?
If you are an avid cyclist who loves to chase the higher highs and train like there’s no tomorrow, it’s best to go for a recovery ride after 2 or 3 days of intense cycling even if you don’t feel the strain and aches. This is more of a preventative measure in case to avoid getting sudden pain in the middle of an intense session. For the more casual cyclists who usually go for leisurely cycling and only do the occasional intense rides, it’s good to do recovery cycling the next day after a hard day on the pedals to help you recuperate.
How To Do Recovery Cycling?
Recovery cycling should come naturally to all cyclists who have been cycling for a while, we just want to take things slowly without overstressing our muscles. Sounds simple right? That’s because it is! But there’s a catch, you must deliberately make more rotations than usual on flat paths. It is best to take routes that avoid as many inclines as possible to lessen the strain that your legs have to go through but if uphill paths are inevitable, just take them slowly or just walk.
- Short and Sweet
Recovery cycling sessions should be done within a short period of time, the shorter you plan those rides, the better. Even a 90-minute ride should be sufficient enough to help your muscles recuperate, loosen, and relax. 30 minutes on your bike for a recovery ride could do the job just as well. Although you’re taking it easy, it’s ok to let your heart rate climb slightly, but remember, you’re not trying to train, so take a rest when you think you’re going too hard.
- Easy Peasy
Things to avoid are hills and inclines, high heart rate, competition, and a fast pace or you risk failing to actually ‘recover’ in your recovery ride. If you use a heart rate monitor or power meter, you should keep below 68% of your heart rate threshold and below 55% of your power threshold. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to up the ante because you feel that it’s too easy, because it’s supposed to be easy on your muscles.
- Super Spin
The best way to help your recovery is to have the odd ‘spinups’ as you go on your rides. ‘Spinups’ are basically setting your bicycle at its lowest gear and spinning your pedals as fast as possible for 10-second bursts. These bursts help your muscles relax and encourage them to slowly spring back into action by helping them loosen up. This helps to reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). If you plan to ‘spin up’ during your sessions, take at least 5-minute breaks in between each burst.
- Power Up
Our bodies are engines and the bicycle is our vehicle, we have to keep ourselves fueled up on high-intensity rides but our bodies require protein to help repair our muscle cells, so eat and drink at least 3 hours prior to starting your recovery rides. You can even bring along a snack if you plan to do it on the ride.
- Fun In The Sun (Or The Moon)
Every ride you do should always be fun, make it a challenge or a game that you play with yourself. And recovery cycling rides should feel the same, don’t take it as a chore, take it as part of your training routine. Because every wind-up must have a wind-down.
Now that you’ve read a guide on recovery cycling, I bet you would want to try it out. Season 2 of #TOGORIDE2022 is here! Take on the challenge and push yourself and then do a recovery ride to see if the guide has helped you.