Why can't I recover???
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  1. #1
    Team American Classic
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    Why can't I recover???

    Hey all!

    Ever since it started getting warm, I've had the hardest problem recovering from my rides. My Saturday ride is a group ride of 40miles with a speed in the mid-20's with a few "hills" and a couple of sprints. My Sunday ride is all hills and rollers and is about 35miles.

    I'm down here in Florida and it is extremely hot this time of year. My legs just don't seem to come back after the Saturday ride and I get dusted on the Sunday ride when we hit the first big climb. I know...I'm in Florida, but is seems like a big climb to us...more like a sprint with an incline....

    I typically drink two 24oz bottle of sports drink during each ride and even broke out the CamelBak last week, much to the dismay of my sense of style.....;-). I usually eat 2 gels as well. I will try to drink as much as possible the rest of the day as well...

    Any advice on how to get the legs back?

    Flash

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    What are you doing with recovery after the ride? And during the week?

  3. #3
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    I usually take a nap! I really just try to get fluids back in and usually soak in the tub. During the week, I usually ride 2-3 times a week in the evening and try to work in some intervals and some spinning. I think the problem is that I really don't know what to do to recover and that is hurting me. I know I should probably work some stretching in and maybe some light spinning.

    Are there guidelines on what to do post-ride? On my two big rides, it's off the bike and to the sandwich shop...


    Flash

  4. #4
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    Some things I learned/did early in my training that I saw an improvement with being able to ride hard day after day. (20+ miles a day, plus longer rides on the weekends, 1 day off a week)
    For after ride, I hit the whey protien.. no special powder from GNC, took advice from a few sources and drink the wonder tonic.. Milk (with Ovaltine) And the end of each ride, I also ride until my Heart rate is down to 60% max, and ride that for 5 minutes. good cool down.

    During the week, I make sure to do a recovery ride or 2. I like you mix up my riding, sprints, cadence, hills, (all that carmichael stuff) but one day is a long ride, big gear, low HR (70-80% max HR) I think it is important to use recovery rides. They help you recover, but still build up the endurance in your legs.

    I am a n00b, so all this could be wrong.

  5. #5
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    During last saturdays ride I drank 126 oz of mixed sport drinks, E-Lyte and a small amount of water. It wasn't even that hot. Nothing like Fla hot, around 85 degrees. I think one of the keys to recovery is to eat/drink within 30 minutes to an hour right after riding. That is when your muscles and body is most efficient in re-stocking itself. Everybody seems to have their own formula, some like a chocolate drink, some cereals, protein whatever. I like to have smoothies with different kinds of fruit with a scoop of protein
    "The Shill"

  6. #6
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    my advice may seem funny but it doesn't hurt to try.

    suggestion #1: maybe you should skip either saturday or sunday for a week, then go back doing both days the next week. i would recommend skipping saturday, and see if you still get drop on sunday. if you do, then it's not so much about recovery as it is about your ability to climb.

    suggestion #2: try to stretch after your ride on saturday and just take a shower rather than soaking in the tub.

  7. #7
    Bickety bam!
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    Maybe?

    Maybe you're just not as fit as the other guys you're riding with? And that doesn't have much to do with recovery.

    Anyway, if you're not out riding with a "purpose" meaning, a goal in mind, you should just ride easy. If you're on a group ride, ride the ride, keep the pace, and all of that good stuff. If you can do the ride on Sunday, do it, if not, do your own thing.

    Just go out and ride your bike, if you're not racing, don't even worry about intervals. Just enjoy going out for a spin here and there.

  8. #8
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    Agree with magnolialover

    Sounds like you are doing too much intensity for your fitness level. Take it easy, and train easier for a while and see if it helps. Training hard two days in a row is difficult, especially if the others are elite (or whatever) and you are not. Trust me, been there (in fact I still am).

  9. #9
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    Some tricks...

    Heat is a waste product of metabolism - we are only about 20% efficient at the best of times. So when you exert yourself in high temperatures you really have a significant load on your system. It is best to avoid hard training in the hottest temperatures but if you do it you will have to pay the price - basically similar to running a fever. That is, many enzymes and other sensitive proteins will be damaged throughout your system in addition to the "standard" muscle stress.

    Cool down afterwards and avoid heat in general afterwards to accelerate healing/recovery (cool showers, etc.). Help your system by eating well (nutrition) and even take some supplements such as cordyceps and maca. I recommend reading Brendan Brazier's "Thrive" for an excellent view on training, its effects and diet. His drink, Vega, is very good stuff for hard training.

  10. #10
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    Here are some excerpts from "29 Pro Cycling Secrets for Roadies" (free download from http://www.roadbikerider.com/ )

    The Importance of Rest
    Pro: Wolfram Lindner (former East German cycling coach, now mentoring the German pro team called Team Coast).
    Secret
    Olaf Ludwig (top East German amateur who went on to a stellar pro career) rode
    26,000 miles during the 12 months before his Olympic road race victory. When you
    train as intensely as we did, you have to rest just as hard. “ We went to Mexico for six weeks of altitude training. When we got back, my boss in East Germany looked at all the rest days and said we could have saved money by only staying four weeks. He didn’t understand the need for rest.”

    What You Can Do
    Pro riders and coaches have said it many ways in the tips recorded in this book: Rest and
    recovery are as essential as work. Hard training is only half the equation. Without rest to allow the body to recover and get stronger, those tough workouts are only so much wasted sweat. If you’re not getting better despite your dedication to training, you’re probably a victim of insufficient rest.

    Make sure to follow these rules for recovery:
    • Take at least one day per week completely off the bike.
    • Most riders improve maximally if they train hard 3 days per week and ride slow and
    easy 3 days.
    • Some (not many) riders can get away with 4 hard days per week. But it’s dangerous to
    maintain this schedule for more than a month.
    • As you get older, you recover more slowly. Riders over 45 or 50 often do best by riding
    hard only twice a week and taking two days off the bike.
    • Don’t try to be superhuman. You’ll improve faster—and have more fun—if you’re
    rested and eager for hard training, group rides, or races.

    TIP! During training, work on your shortcomings but don’t forget your strong points. As
    coach Wolfram Lindner puts it, “We work extensively on riders’ strengths and also try to
    improve their weaknesses. But never spend so much time on your weaknesses that you
    lose your strengths.
    “For instance, we had a great sprinter who suffered with the fourth group on climbs. He
    worked all winter on climbing. When racing began he could climb with the third group.
    But he could no longer sprint well.”

    CAUTION! Overtraining is a constant threat when you’re in a regular training program.
    Here’s an interesting warning sign from Dr. Massimo Testa:
    “Sweat that smells like ammonia is a signal that you’re overtrained, glycogen-depleted,
    and destroying muscle cells as you ride. It indicates catabolism and means you aren’t
    respecting your need for rest.”
    When you shower after a ride, be aware of the odor as the first spray of water hits your
    body. If you catch a whiff of ammonia, take an easy week. Be sure you’re eating enough
    carbohydrate to fuel your training.

    Ride Rollers for Recovery
    Improve your recovery with a technique used by the powerhouse East German cycling teams of the 1980s.
    Pro: Wolfram Lindner
    Secret
    To promote recovery, our cyclists ride rollers for 15 minutes before breakfast and
    another 15 minutes in the evening. They don’t go hard—they just spin easily.
    “The idea is to get the blood flowing, which will flush out the toxins from the
    day’s hard training.”

    What You Can Do
    Rollers are viewed as old fashioned. Modern indoor trainers provide more resistance and
    don’t make you balance. You can go as hard as you want without toppling over when your
    poor oxygen-deprived brain cells cease to function properly.
    But rollers have a big advantage for recovery rides compared to most indoor trainers: You
    don’t need to work hard while pedaling. (Well, that’s true for rollers with large-diameter
    drums. Models with drums the size of rolling pins generate more resistance.)
    • Go easy! The purpose of these short spin sessions is to help your legs recover, not to
    subject them to yet more work.
    • Be sure you’re well hydrated. Hydration is crucial to recovery. Have a bottle of water or
    sports drink on your bike and take big swigs frequently.
    No rollers? You can probably get the same zero-resistance benefit by using your trainer at its easiest setting and putting your bike in low gear.


    On-Bike Recovery
    Pro: Tyler Hamilton
    Secret
    “Most riders who race or do a hard group ride on Sunday take Monday off the bike. But
    you’ll recover faster if you ride for an hour extremely slowly. You shouldn’t feel any
    pressure on the pedals—just spin your legs.
    “Here’s another trick: After a hard weekend of riding, do several days of
    recovery rides but throw in a couple of sprints. Just do 10 seconds at about 80 percent
    effort. If you get your legs to burn a little, you’ll come around faster.”

    What You Can Do
    Riding slowly is as much of an art as riding fast.
    Serious riders equate going fast with having fun. Riding slowly—on purpose—is a foreign
    concept. But Hamilton and other pros have to ride hard in as many as 100 races a year, so
    when they get an excuse to go slow they enjoy the ride.
    Remember this and do your slow rides guilt-free.
    EXAMPLE! In 1995, RBR’s Fred Matheny rode with Tyler Hamilton and other
    members of the U.S. National Cycling Team during their altitude camp in Winter Park,
    Colorado. Fred remembers: “On the first day, coach Chris Carmichael told his charges
    to ride 25 miles slowly. I expected that these elite riders’ idea of a slow pace would
    make this old cycling writer work hard. I was wrong. They tooled along talking and
    even my heart monitor didn’t go above 120.”
    Follow these tips to make sure you ride slow enough:
    • Wear a heart monitor on recovery rides and don’t let it exceed 65% of your max. Skip
    Hamilton (no relation to Tyler) instructs the riders he coaches to go “guilt-producingly
    slow” on their easy days.
    • Build up the desire to go fast. Don’t squander your energy and enthusiasm. Save it for
    those days your training plan calls for intensity.
    • Search out flat roads so you aren’t forced to strain on hills. If you don’t have flat
    terrain, install a bigger low-gear cog so you can spin up hills with less resistance.
    • Ride bike paths to keep your speed and effort down.
    • Ride with a slower companion—your significant other is often a good choice. Spin
    along and talk, gaze at the flowers, concentrate on not breaking a sweat. Little kids on
    BMX bikes, riding on the sidewalk, should zoom past you.
    32
    • Avoid group rides. Even if the group has agreed to go slow, competitive urges often
    causes the pace to increase to the point where you’re riding too hard for recovery.

    http://www.cptips.com/recvry.htm
    http://www.cptips.com/ovrtrng.htm

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Some very good information from Coonass. I can add a few suggestions from my personal experience. I used to ride 5-6 days per week and nearly always felt run down. I've since cut back to 4 days per week and feel much better. My overall mileage is about the same because I do more longer rides.

    I've recently started taking multi-vitamins again after stopping a while back. I started taking vitamins again after reading in the book Serious Cycling how vitamins are important for the anti-oxidants that help repair muscle tears and other stresses from hard rides. It may be just the placebo effect, but I swear that my muscles feel much less sore and I recover more quickly since I started on vitamins again.

    On weekends I generally ride ride long and fairly hard both days. I've found that it's helpful to eat as soon as possible (within 30-60 minutes) after the Saturday ride to help replenish my glycogen stores for Sunday. Sometimes I'll keep a Slimfast shake in my cooler and drink it immediately after the Saturday ride for that reason. Seems to help.

    Recovery rides are also important. I usually ride on Mondays by myself so I won't be tempted or pushed to rider harder by others. I just take it easy and average about 15 mph, being careful not to push it on the hills. In my experience, my climbing legs suffer the most when I don't get enough recovery time, so I'm always careful to take it easy on hills when I'm doing recovery rides.

  12. #12
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    I've started to try to ride every day, but three days easy, and even that fourth day often kind of easy (aerobic or recovery pace, with some sprints). I think that the extra time on the bike has helped, without too much cost to the hard workouts.

    I've posted this before, but I'll repeat it. Last year, Jelly Belly guys stayed at my house for a local race. I went out with them for one of their light day rides. An hour, maybe a little more. At a crawl. A friggin crawl. You could have sung the Star Spangled Banner in full voice at any point in the ride.

    By contrast, this am I had done some sprints but mostly easy, still sort of recovering from the past weekend's riding. On the way back, spinning home, I ran into a teammate who just had returned from Altoona. Now, this guy, of anyone, with three days of hard racing this past weekend, should have been crawling. We were talking, but the pace was ramping up. I guess maybe he thought I was half-wheeling him, and I kind of thought he was half-wheeling me. I'm really annoyed at myself about it now. We should have crawled. It's hard to do. When it's Jelly Belly, you are not going to feel competitive, and you'll go no faster than they, for sure. But when it's your Cat 4 buddy, and he seems to be comfortable at a pace that is a little bit harder than you want to go (and I think we both were silently feeling that way), it's difficult to back off. And for sure we were going faster than Jelly Belly would have under the same circumstances. Stupid.

  13. #13
    Some guy
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    Flash,

    This is my entirely anecdotal advice. Eat 1 gram of carb per pound of body weight within the first 2 hours of ending your ride. Throw in 1/4 to 1/7 of the protein as well. So if you weigh 200 pounds, eat 200g carbs and 30-50 g protein after each of your weekend rides. This will allow your body to more efficiently restock the glycogen stores for the next ride. My post ride ritual currently consists of 2-3 scoops of Endurox, a cup of grape nuts with a cup+ of rice milk, plus a bagel. The rice milk is a high GI food as opposed to my normal skim milk which is low GI. Combned, that meal gives me a good mix of what works for me post ride. I try to eat as quickly as I can after the ride. But sometimes it's a chore to choke down the last of it.

    Rest of day I try to eat plenty of carbs but look more towards the low-GI foods as well as plenty of fruits & veggies.

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