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  1. #1
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    Two Recovery Days Needed After Race?

    I'm curious as to what the norm is for recovery time after a hard 2 hr mountain bike race. I raced on Sunday, took Monday off, and was hoping I would be fresh enough to do some threshold intervals on Tuesday, but as soon as I started riding I realized I was still smoked from the race - couldn't get my HR up, low power for RPE, all the typical signs of not being fresh. I have a pretty good base, and have had no problem doing back to back group ride hammer-fest days and interval days this season, so I was a bit surprised to be as useless on the bike as I was yesterday.

    Is it typical to take two days to recover from a mtb race? Are any of you are able to do intervals on the second day after a race?
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  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I'm sometimes still tired the second day after a race, especially now that I'm trying to do the whole thing at a higher level of effort. I think it also happens if it's been too long since I've had a proper break. When I first started going to races, it took me longer than that to recover.

    If I didn't have an extra-long school day on Mondays this quarter, I'd be trying to get on my bike and go for a mellow ride that afternoon - just start slow, and play it by ear. If I don't do that, I think it takes even longer for me to recover. Then, depending on how that ride felt and how I'm feeling in general, I might do something more challenging on Tuesday or I might just take the day off.

    How long was your ride on Tuesday? I often find that if I'm feeling a bit tired or out of sorts in general and I start slow, I end up warming up to the point that I can ride at a pretty high level of intensity once I'm feeling comfortable on the bike.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch

    How long was your ride on Tuesday? I often find that if I'm feeling a bit tired or out of sorts in general and I start slow, I end up warming up to the point that I can ride at a pretty high level of intensity once I'm feeling comfortable on the bike.
    Funny you say that, because I felt like sh*t the first hour, but after there I started to feel better, and could maintain a threshhold-ish pace, but my total ride was only about 1:30, just because I didn't feel I had much to gain by pushing too hard even though I started feeling a bit better as the ride went on.
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  4. #4
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    takes me a few days to recover. usually almost a week to "fully" recover. 1 or 2 days is not enough, but it doesn't mean you can't ride or train, you just might wanna do more moderate efforts.

  5. #5
    It's about showing up.
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    Recovery Ride

    I usually hold a pave recovery ride for my teen racers the day after the race. I control the pace and tell them we are just "using" the legs and not "working" them. You can hear the groaning and such from the start but 20 minutes in they are brightly chattering away and talking about the race. I hold Office Hours at the back of the Peleton and debrief each of the racers.

    It can be hard for hammerhead racers to do recovery rides at that really slow speed and the heart barely beating but it works wonders.

  6. #6
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    If I have a real hard day, especially something that can make my legs sore, I will normally feel the stiffest 2-days later, so I'll put off the hard work till Wednesday if it was a Hard Sunday race.

    With that in mind, I'll usually schedule an EZ recovery ride for Tuesday (if hard race on Sunday). Now what I do Monday will depend on the week. A typical week I will either do intervals or a group road ride on Wednesday night. If it's intervals Wednesday night, I'll take it EZ Monday so I am feeling good for Wednesday (2-recovery days). If I don't have a hard week of intervals and just the group ride scheduled for Wednesday, then I'll go out and do a few hours at endurance pace or Group ride on Monday (recovery day Tuesday). But I'll have no expectations on Mondays ride, and I won't stretch out any efforts beyond the comfort zone. It might be a good night, or it might be a cruiser.. never know till I'm done.

    I usually don't feel the sorest the day after a race, its always worse 2-days later. So doing a few hours of endurance miles on Monday isn't so bad, in fact I often might feel pretty darn good.

  7. #7
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    At age 40, I now find I need 2 days in between after a race (e.g. on Wednesday ride if race was on Sunday) to feel like I could put in similar effort again. Sure I can ride, or even train on days 1 and 2 afterwards, but I wouldn't be able to reproduce normal top output for a full distance race effort again until day 3.

    I've done some multi-day MTB stage races, and output has to be lower across the board right from day 1, to prevent too much of a slide on days 2+.

  8. #8
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    Another thing that can cause an extended recovery period following a hard race is the travel. For me sitting in a car for several hours after a long hard effort usually results in dead legs for a few days. Compression tights, able recovery nutrition, and rehydration help, but I still notice a difference from what I experience following trips of less that an hour.

    I always do an easy spin the next day. The second day is either and off day or a longish endurance type ride, depending on how recovered I feel. The 3rd day will either be the endurance ride, if I postponed it, or a hard interval session.

  9. #9
    LMN
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    Two to three days of recovery is expected after a good race. But not all races are created equal, some require more than others.

  10. #10
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    You really should have a recovery ride the day after. ride for a couple hours in HR zone 1 and 2. Find VERY flat terrain. After the recovery ride, take a day off.

  11. #11
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    some rides destroy my shin and calf muscles for some reason. those take a few days to recover from.
    my ride the other left me sore like that and im actually worried as i have two races this weekend.
    i try to go on as usual but do take it a bit easy the days after a big race.

  12. #12
    BDT
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    Had a Short Track race 5/6 then XC race 5/7 last week, trained all week and did an Xterra race 6/13. I showed up to my LBS tuesday road group ride (6/15) and felt completely horrible. I rode with the group for about an hour, then did a zone 1-2 spin for another hour solo.

    This is my first year racing, so I still have a lot to learn about recovery.

  13. #13
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    My new theory is if you think you need a recovery day, you probably do. Even if you took one yesterday. Imagine all the laundry and dishwasher unloading you could do.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MFKracing
    My new theory is if you think you need a recovery day, you probably do. Even if you took one yesterday. Imagine all the laundry and dishwasher unloading you could do.
    Shoot... I wouldn't have ridden at all this week if I did that

  15. #15
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    Maybe you should have more rest the week before the race. I've done a couple races this year where I'm training the very next day. If your legs are used to doing 3 day training blocks after a rest, and you are well rested before the race, kinda makes sense. But of course every race is different- temperature, hydration, climbing, alt, competition, etc will have different effects on how quickly you recover.


    Also, I suggest laying off the hard pedaling. I think I read a tweet from Joe Friel saying something like "you can't make a tired muscle stronger, but you can improve its endurance."
    I know when my legs are tired, it can take an hour or more of pedaling to get them feeling good again. So maybe its a good day for 2+ hours at endurance pace.

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