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  1. #1
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    Recovery Ride? Whats the thinking?

    There are a lot of guys on my racing team who post on their media that they have taken a "recovery ride". This is almost always after a race day or a hard training day.

    Im pretty new to training for my racing season, this being the first full off season of training. So far I have gone with the 'never ride 2 days in a row' philosophy of training. If I have pushed my legs hard on any given day, I do not like the idea of doing anything to stress them at all for at least 24 to 36 hours.

    So what is the thinking behind the "recovery ride"??
    People ask me all the time "who beat you up"? I tell them "a tree". They just look at me funny....

  2. #2
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    Visiting St george/Hurricane? Stay at my vacation rental. Discounts for MTB's

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalfaraway View Post
    Your an ahole.

    Does anyone have any constructive feedback? I value the (relevant) opinions of the riders on MTBR, thats why im here asking...
    People ask me all the time "who beat you up"? I tell them "a tree". They just look at me funny....

  4. #4
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    An easy ride the day before or after a hard ride or race can help your legs stay loose. I like the idea of 'active recovery' a lot more than passive rest. I did some physical therapy last fall, and we fixed a couple of things through exercise that weren't getting better with rest.
    I'm no expert (other than my categ.), but recovery is about allowing your muscles to properly rebuild, and moving them somewhat vigorously can be a good thing during 'recovery'. There's stuff in there that has to move out, as well as move in, think of the recovery ride as having a similar effect to a massage.
    From what I've read and experienced, a couple of hard days in a row can be really good for you. I've been doing no more than 3 real days of riding in a row, and no more than 2 days off in a row, -that's been working for me.
    Carmichaels book 'the time crunched cyclist' was a good read, I think you might enjoy it. It covers a lot of that topic much more clearly than I did.

  5. #5
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    If you are only riding 3 or 4 days a week, you aren't getting the volume to really make any real progress beyond beginner or intermediate racing (unless you're riding 4-5hrs a day).

    Similarly, if your legs CAN'T handle riding two days in a row, you might want to reevaluate your training, as something is seriously wrong with it. I'm not going to advocate that everyone ride 7 days a week, 365 days a year, but getting out and riding 10-15 miles on pavement at a conversational pace shouldn't be something that stresses your body. It will actually help get the blood moving and enhance recovery. Hence the "active recovery" that pedalfaraway linked to.

    Coming to cycling from running on the track, where running 10 miles or more every day was the norm, the idea of NOT riding, which is very easy on the body in comparison, has always seemed strange to me. And, eventually I built up to the point where I was racing Saturday and Sunday, and doing two hard workouts during the work week, usually Tuesday and Thursday. Riding every day of the week, most weeks. And now, I'm doing the same on the MTB. Different strokes for different folks, but I don't really feel fatigued or sore, provided I get 6 or more hours of sleep. But, that might be a result of both my job and athletic background.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    If you are only riding 3 or 4 days a week, you aren't getting the volume to really make any real progress beyond beginner or intermediate racing (unless you're riding 4-5hrs a day).

    Similarly, if your legs CAN'T handle riding two days in a row, you might want to reevaluate your training, as something is seriously wrong with it. I'm not going to advocate that everyone ride 7 days a week, 365 days a year, but getting out and riding 10-15 miles on pavement at a conversational pace shouldn't be something that stresses your body. It will actually help get the blood moving and enhance recovery. Hence the "active recovery" that pedalfaraway linked to.

    Coming to cycling from running on the track, where running 10 miles or more every day was the norm, the idea of NOT riding, which is very easy on the body in comparison, has always seemed strange to me. And, eventually I built up to the point where I was racing Saturday and Sunday, and doing two hard workouts during the work week, usually Tuesday and Thursday. Riding every day of the week, most weeks. And now, I'm doing the same on the MTB. Different strokes for different folks, but I don't really feel fatigued or sore, provided I get 6 or more hours of sleep. But, that might be a result of both my job and athletic background.
    ^^^This!

    I typically only take 2 - 3 days off an entire month. It takes me usually about 10 consecutive days of riding just to be able to really go for a hard ride. I never have any fatigue or tired legs. Have done 100 mile races and 24hr events and still ride the next day without trouble. Now when I first started racing would only ride 3 days a week and I always felt sore and tired. Try riding for a complete month not missing any days and with no plan but to ride each day. I bet you will pick up some fitness and speed.

  7. #7
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    Riding/training hard for multiple days in a row is very important tool to achieve overloading your system. But recovery is always critical, so that you can improve and avoid injury. Even more important as you get older (I am 51).

    When I did my base training I would go for many days without any off days (hitting 14-16 hour weeks), but the intensity of base riding allows for that. I personally cannot sustain truly hard workouts for more than 2-3 consecutive days without recovery (active or inactive).
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    KHS Team 29
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    Pake French 75 track

  8. #8
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    My thinking on recovery rides is that I've noticed that when I take a day completely off after a few hard days of riding, I feel stiff and sore. When I get a chance to do about an hour of easy spinning instead, I feel refreshed.

  9. #9
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    Thank you everyone for the responses. Its apparent I need to up my riding volume. Believe me im ok with that!
    People ask me all the time "who beat you up"? I tell them "a tree". They just look at me funny....

  10. #10
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    Sorry PattonGB. Guess I have just been looking for a chance to use LMGTFY.

    However my advice to you was going to be to Google active recovery There are thousands of articles which will explain the physiology, methods, and benefits. There are also many studies comparing active and passive recovery some of which were in the google results that you find so offensive.
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  11. #11
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    Pedal im very familiar with Google.

    For every search you could show me explaining the 'Benefits' of the Recovery Ride, I could show you an equal amount of searches that show the 'Downfalls' of the Recovery Ride.

    Same with: 26 vs 29er / Interval Training / Carb vs Protein Diets... ETC ETC....

    Thats why I ask people on this website: real world experience from actual racers is information I chose to use.....

    Not trying to be a dink. When I started out here on the Beginners Forum, my biggest pet pieve was people who told new posters asking questions to "use the search feature", or "ever heard of google", or "this has been covered 100 times.."

    We are all here to help each other and share in our experiences.
    People ask me all the time "who beat you up"? I tell them "a tree". They just look at me funny....

  12. #12
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    Recovery Ride? Whats the thinking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flucod View Post
    ^^^This!

    I typically only take 2 - 3 days off an entire month. It takes me usually about 10 consecutive days of riding just to be able to really go for a hard ride. I never have any fatigue or tired legs. Have done 100 mile races and 24hr events and still ride the next day without trouble. Now when I first started racing would only ride 3 days a week and I always felt sore and tired. Try riding for a complete month not missing any days and with no plan but to ride each day. I bet you will pick up some fitness and speed.
    This is similar to what I do usually also. A hard ride the day before doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to be tired the next day.

    What I find is that your body likes routine. Waking up each morning and heading out on the bike, no matter what, becomes normal after a few weeks. From day to day you tend to feel a lot more consistent riding all the time, whereas a pattern of ride, day off, ride, day off etc is more disjointed and you never know how you're going to feel one day to the next.

    I also like the saying "rest as hard as you train". If you're riding all the time, and then suddenly take a break, it can come as a real shock. When I do decide to take some time off I try and do it thoroughly. I'll have at least 3 days completely off the bike, to let any delayed onset muscle soreness come out fully, followed by a quiet remainder of the week. If it takes more than 7 days and I'm still tired I'll give it an additional week also of low volume and low intensity to try and recharge.

  13. #13
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    Now your stretching. Where are these searches showing the downfalls of active recovery.

    Like I said I was trying to help you. You asked a very general question "what is a recovery ride" Instead of responding that its referred to as active recovery in exercise physiology circles and you could Google that and learn what it is about I used the LMGTFY tool because its kind of funny. You can't really be so uptight that it was necessary to call me names and damage my valuable MTBR reputation with your negative comments because I was trying to help you and have just a little bit of fun at your expense can you??
    Visiting St george/Hurricane? Stay at my vacation rental. Discounts for MTB's

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  14. #14
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    To offer an alternative, I think there are two potential downsides to recovery rides (for the amateur, at least)
    1) Can be hard to keep the intensity low enough
    2) No psychological "recharge" time away from the bike.

    ...but for what it's worth, I ride 5 or 6 days a week (and usually run the other days) - whenever I have a rest day, I seem to feel way more sluggish and heavy-legged than if I had ridden.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimification View Post
    To offer an alternative, I think there are two potential downsides to recovery rides (for the amateur, at least)
    1) Can be hard to keep the intensity low enough
    2) No psychological "recharge" time away from the bike.

    ...but for what it's worth, I ride 5 or 6 days a week (and usually run the other days) - whenever I have a rest day, I seem to feel way more sluggish and heavy-legged than if I had ridden.
    This one can be the hardest one to assess and master. Road riding has worked well for me on this. However, I have to do it on MUT around my house or I get going to hard.

    On my recovery rides I:
    Keep the cadence between 90-105.
    Keep the effort level in zone 1.
    No hills if at all possible.
    Practice pedalling form.

    I feel best on a 50-90 minute recovery ride. Any longer, I don't feel refreshed. I feel like I worked out a little. If I ride any shorter, I still feel "tight." "Your milage may vary" on time.

    Getting out and riding around with your kids/wife/GF is also a great way to do a recovery ride and spend time with them.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  16. #16
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    If you have enough free time, ride a whole lot and set high goals. Since you're new (and even if you weren't new), it is ok to have racing goals like; 'finish top 50% in Beginner', you can have satisfying results racing in the lower categories without dedicating a lot of hours to the bike, and that is perfectly acceptable. Satisfying racing is not exclusive to Cat1 and the really serious riders. In that book I recommended he talks about 'only riding 8-12 hours a week' or something like that, -that seems like a huge amount of time to me. I've got little kids, and being self employed doesn't give me a lot of free time, so I'm very happy to be able to ride 6 hours a week (which is 6 hours more than I was riding when my kids were babies), and I'm doing well on that. I ride trails with hard short hills, which seem to really work for me given my short rides. Don't read all this and think that you have to start riding 20 hours a week or it's not going to be worth it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    If you are only riding 3 or 4 days a week, you aren't getting the volume to really make any real progress beyond beginner or intermediate racing (unless you're riding 4-5hrs a day)
    Not true. There's more than one way to develop power for cycling. The volume you claim just don't work for everyone.

    IMHO, recover rides are important, but they have to be really low intensity. That can be a challenge for many cyclists. For example, rolling around super-easy on a bike path for 30-40 minutes and then stretch.

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