Recovery is a major part of training and is nessecary to rebuild muscles and and clear the mind. As you start entering your Build and Race Phase of your training, recovery become even more important so you can do it all again the following day. Master (40+) athletes recovery time takes longer then those in their 20’s and 30’s and focusing on recovery becomes just as important as getting those intervals in. These methods apply to all levels, beginners to elite. I’m going to describe some things you can do to improve your recovery on a daily basis.
While you are sleeping your body releases hormones to repair damage caused during your hard workout. Studies show sleeping 8+ hours a night and more when leading up to an important race is critical for optimum performance. I recommend going to bed early enough so you don’t need to set an alarm. Your body will wake you when it’s ready to get up, if you are forced awake, your body isn’t done with getting the rest it needs.
Bonus: Take a a 30min to a hour nap on top of the 8+ hours as often as you can. For most of us we don’t have that extra time, but if you can get in an extra hour mid day, you’ll notice a big difference the following day.
Eating ‘clean’ healthy foods is probably one of the easiest things you can do to improve recovery. Focus on eating whole foods such as lean meat (wild and/or grass feed), nuts, fruit, vegetables. Remove processed foods such as white breads, pastas, chips, cookies, cake, crakers etc. Other foods that can be included are healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocados, whole organic milk (almond/soy/coconut), cheese, olive oil, greek yogurts
Within 30min of your workouts have a recovery snack. I like a recovery smoothie, or if I’m not at home when I finish the ride I use Infinit Repair. Focus on getting 15-20g protein, some fast acting carbs (1 banana or other fruit) and yogurt, 300-400 calories in all. Have a meal within 2 hours of your recovery snack.
There is so much more to using food to assist in recovery. For expert advice on nutrition contact Kelli at Apex Nutrition LLC. She will help you with all aspects of how and what to eat to make sure you are getting the best fuel needed for your training and racing. All MTBCoach plans and coaching get a discount and free coaching through Apex Nutrition.
Bonus Tip: Eating processed carbs like breads, cookies, pastas etc causes inflammation, delaying recovery. Many endurance athletes are eating gluten free, not because of health issues or because it’s a fade, but it’s because products that contain gluten generally cause inflammation, delaying recovery. Gluten free foods are generally whole foods that provide excellent recovery and fueling nutrition.
Pneumatic compression is one of the latest technologies making it in to the sports market. You may have heard of these devices as Normatek, Podium Legs and Elevated Legs. These devices you’ll use every day which will greatly improve recovery time after training and racing. The device will clear the waste i.e lactic acid from your legs through massage and compression. I recommend Elevated Legs as they have the highest compression, best features and support.
Massage may be the most powerful medicine cyclists can get without a prescription. It relieves sore muscles, speeds recovery, prevents injury, and helps you feel better fast. Few activities demand more from your body than cycling, and few athletes benefit more from massage than cyclists.
Bonus Tip: Some tools to use for self massage include a high density foam roller or The Stick. Use them a couple of times a week or daily.
Compression garments further helps blood circulation speeding up recovery and prevent injury. Use either a Calf Sleeve or full leg sleeve or tight . Some athletes use the Calf Sleeve or Sock to help circulation while training or racing. Put on the garment right after a hard workout or race.
Bonus: Checkout RecoFit Full Leg Compression Sleeve or Calf Sleeve. I started using RecoFit this year after using another brand the last couple of years. I found the RecoFit product to work better as they stay in place and has focused placement of compression material where it’s really needed. They also look sharp!
Studies show active recovery appears to significantly reduce accumulated blood lactate and speed muscle recovery. Doing a cool down (easy light spin) after a race or hard workout will help relax the muscles and clear blood lactate.
One or two days a week (depending on your fitness level and training phase) you need an active recovery day. 30-60 min on the bike easy Zone 1/Power level 1 or 2, a brisk walk, hike helps clear lingering blood lactate.
For optimum performance practice these tips daily. If you have questions on any of these methods, leave a comment or feel free to contact me directly. Thanks for reading.