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Cycling – Recovery, The Most Important Part Of Your Training

If you’ve just begun cycling and possibly discovered a new passion, you may be tempted to ride your bike at every given opportunity. It’s easy to assume that the more you ride, the faster and stronger you’ll get but this is a common mistake that ignores one of the most important parts of any training schedule — recovery. It is in resting and recovery, and the correct nutritional support, that your progress is made — allowing your body to rebuild it self just that little bit stronger each time.

At the end of a long ride you may want to sit down and do little or nothing for the rest of the day. This is a fine idea but your training isn’t completely over until you’ve attended to your bodies needs so that it can replace and replenish its depleted supplies. It is vital to replace carbohydrates and proteins for effective recovery and to maximize the effectiveness of your training. This should be done within half an hour of finishing your ride.

Complex carbohydrates will replenish the glycogen stores in your muscles and protein will assist your body in repairing muscle tissue while also maximizing your muscles ability to store glycogen. Glycogen is the primary source of energy for the muscles. In strenuous exercise your body will be burning glycogen for around the first hour and a half to two hours — at the end of training or racing these supplies must be replenished and an intake of complex carbohydrates within half an hour of training is the way to do it. It is recommended to eat 30-90 grams of carbohydrate and 10-30 grams of protein to maximize your body’s recovery.

As well as rebuilding your body and replacing its depleted supplies nutritionally, it is vital to have a sensible training program that includes recovery time. Over-training occurs when you continue to push your body without allowing it to properly recover. Essentially over-training means that you wear down your muscles and organs with strenuous use and then fail to give them the time or the nutrients it needs to recover. It generally starts with a general soreness in the muscles and a constant feeling of tiredness. During you will feel a certain amount of soreness and fatigue, but if your training schedule is well balanced you should be able to recover enough between rides so that you performance can improve a little bit each time. If you still feel sore from your last ride when you start a new one you may want to look into reducing the intensity, duration, or frequency of your rides.

If you continue to over train you begin to see a steady deterioration of your performance, and may experience mood swings as your hormone levels are disrupted. You also put yourself at a much greater risk of injury, as your muscles will lose a lot of their flexibility and suppleness. Your day-to-day lifestyle also has an effect on over-training. If you are under a lot of stress, or not sleeping well due to other reasons, then you may experience over-training at a much lower level of exertion than you normally would.

If you’re training effectively you should see a steady development of your strength and endurance. To do this it is vital that you understand the importance of both nutritional support following strenuous exercise and the need to let your body recover properly between training sessions. Recording each session and your recovery with training software will give you the ability to develop the most effective program for yourself.

Matt McCullough has been instrumental in establishing the cycling resource site Cycling-Secrets.com. Cycling-Secrets provide resources and information to cyclists of all levels and provides free software to help you track your rides, health and progress. Cycling-Secrets also supports a number of bicycle centred charities.
http://www.cycling-secrets.com – free cycling software and resources
http://monroe15.wordpress.com/ – Matt’s Cycling Blog

Category: Cycling Health

About Mark Carrington

Keen cyclist and cycle tourist. Ridden by bicycle across Australia 7 times and crewed Race Across America. Experienced randonneur participated in Paris Brest Paris in 2007

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