It's all about the ride, right?! As a cyclist, you never really want to hear that you have to take it easy or have some recovery.
As a cyclist, you are wired a little bit weird and it's all about the miles and not about the rest days. Rest days or easy weeks are just simply an inconvenience. When all your mates ask you if want to go out riding or you find out there is a local event on and your coach says you can't go because it's 'a rest week' You just get the feeling that you are missing out on all the fun and worry like mad that your mates are going to end up fitter than you because they are racing and you are not! Just remember, they will also have to have a rest week at some point and if they don't, well you are already one step ahead!
So when someone asks you 'Why do you do so much?' The only way to describe it is that, it's an obsession, an addiction, a habit, call it what you like but you can't stop, right? Whether you like to commute, go on Zwift or go to the evening chain gang, it's part of your life and you couldn't be without it.
Why don't you have a rest? Rest, yes we do all need to rest our bodies and you actually may be quite thankful of a rest day the day after a Sunday club run, race or sportive. But, when someone says's 'Oh, just have a rest' there is nothing more infuriating. Rest doesn't make you faster! But rest at the right time does! This is one thing as a cyclist you have to remember.
You do need a recovery week? - The recovery week can be quite a torturous week. Even though it is essential to your progress and development, it's hard to master. Some of the best cyclist in the world spend more time trying to perfect the recovery than the actual training. All sorts of things go through your mind, mainly that you are going to get unfit in the rest week. That you are going to lose all your strength and basically forget how to ride a bike! You'll be watching all your mates on Strava smashing out the segments, doing 100-mile rides and winning races whilst you're trying to go slow and recover!
So how do you have a good recovery week? Below we are going to help you enjoy your recovery week and make the most of it so you are in the best shape possible to start your new block of training.
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Choose a cafe and have a nice steady ride out. Now if your anything like most cyclists, a steady ride can turn into just one effort up your favourite Strava segment. Or one sprint for the top of the hill. Well, keep an eye on your Cycle Computer and force yourself to ride 2 mph slower than normal. If you start to see it creeping up. Slow down!
Shall we take a selfie?
This is a great way to keep the heart rate low and keep the intensity down. Turn your recovery ride into an Instagram ride! When you're on a hard week there really aren't many opportunities to stop for picturesque photos really is there? Unless you have just gotten to the top of your hill effort and have almost keeled over with exhaustion, you just about manage to get your phone out for a quick snap before heading off again. So on your Instagram ride take time to get the good shots, Make your bike look awesome, find the best backdrops and have some fun! At least you can show them off to the world when you post them up and watch the likes come in!
Go somewhere you don't know. This forces you to go slower simply because you will probably be taking wrong turns and getting your maps out every 5/10mins! Not only that you will be naturally going slower because you are looking at the new scenery and taking in all the new landmarks trying to figure out where you are. Not only that you have just found yourself and new training loop which you can map on your GPS device and share with your friends.
When you are not on the bike recovering, what can you be doing to keep the circulation pumping around the legs to ensure maximum recovery? Compression socks are a simple, yet very effective way of helping your legs recover. They aid in increasing circulation around the legs which help to repair the torn and damaged muscles.
Food, Food, Glorious Food!
Ok, so this recovery week isn't looking too bad after all! In fact, it sounds almost pleasant! The good thing about a rest week too is that you can have your favourite protein-packed meals. Eating protein during a rest week still aids in helping build and repair damaged muscles and speed up the recovery process.
So, if you get the chance, when you normally are on the bike training flat out, put your feet up and have a little rest! Now this one may be quite hard for some people so if you are not able to do this then swap the training for a stretching session. This will help to stretch any tight muscles and keep you supple and loose ready for your next hard week training.