All About Recovery Ride – What it is, its Importance, and How to Do It!

Know how you can regain your spark to ride your bike after a long haul. A comprehensive guide to recovery rides.
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“Cycling is not an activity or sport; it’s a lifestyle!” As a rider, you preach cycling and really enjoy those long, challenging, and speed riding sessions. But have you ever tried going slow, just swinging your legs, feeling the cool breeze, enjoying the beautiful view? Well, that’s a different feeling altogether, and you must experience it from time to time, especially when you’re a rider.

Now, this may be hard for you because you’re used to speed. However, when you go for this kind of training rides, it will help you recover from the tiredness of your harsher, longer, and more difficult rides. 

You might think that’s crazy! Another ride for recovery from a ride? Well, that’s the beauty of recovery rides, and you’ll love how going for such rides will enhance your cycling performance and speed!

What is a Recovery Ride?

As its name suggests, it’s a ride to help you recover from the tiredness of a more competitive, difficult, and hard training sessions.

Now, it sounds confusing to do the exact same thing for the active recovery from that thing. But this is how it works with rides. In a recovery ride, you’re just riding slow to get your legs moving and muscles flexing. It’s only about being in motion so that you can channelize the blood flow in a more proper manner.

Yes, you might not want to go for this initially because you’re already exhausted. But you just have to give yourself a little push, and once you go for the recovery ride, you’ll feel like that was the best decision you ever made.

Recovery Ride
Recovery Ride

Moreover, keep in mind that there is a keen difference between active recovery days and passive recovery days in which you don’t perform any metabolism boosting activity other than light walk or mild stretching.

What is the purpose of a recovery ride?

When you paddle continuously on a long bike ride and that too with speed, your muscles tighten and the minute you step down from the bike, all you want to do is jump right into your bed. 

However, if you stay in there for too long thinking about the rest over, your muscles will tighten, restricting proper blood flow. All you’ll feel later are cramps and that demotivating feeling to get on your bike again.

After you’ve worked your muscles too much, it’s important to flex and stretch them. This will channelize the blood flow and let go of the nasty and painful feeling of the cramps. A low intensity active recovery ride helps with that and most endurance athletes will confirm that it helps in maintaining momentum.

It helps you stay in motion without straining your muscles too much. Your legs are just swaying over the paddles, and that surely helps get the blood flowing in the right way. As you complete this ride, you’ll be set for another hardcore, speed recovery riding session.

How Do I Know When to Take a Recovery Ride?

Well, now you know why an active recovery ride is essential and how it will help you get back your energy and strength for riding. However, you surely can’t go for it right after that hardcore riding session. So, when is the right time to go for it?

As a general rule of thumb, it’s ideal to give yourself a little rest and then pick up your bike again for the work recovery rides. You can wait it out a day or two after you’ve come from a more strenuous ride.

Basically, it all depends on the length and duration of your rides and training. If you train and ride regularly, it’s ideal to take a recovery ride at least thrice a week. 

Moreover, opting for a recovery ride right before a strenuous riding session will be very beneficial. It will channel your body into motion, you’ll be full of boosted energy, and you can put that into achieving better performance and speed during your ride.

How to Do A Recovery Ride?

A recovery ride is not about riding slow, but about riding easy instead. It’s about getting your legs in motion to flex those tightened muscles and channel the blood flow to prevent any clots and cramps. So, you need to sway and swing your legs and just ride easy for 1-3 hours.

Relaxing Road Eating

Moreover, riding slowly will be an additional challenge for you as you’re used to the speed. So, you need to constantly remind yourself that all this ride needs is a little motion with a swing.

You need to make sure that your heart rate is consistent and you’re not tiring yourself here. Also, when going for a recovery ride, the route you choose is important. It’s best to avoid rocky terrains or courses that would involve climbing. The best is to take the flattest route, so you’re just riding straight.

You can also involve some short spin-ups in your ride that include short 10-second cadence. This releases human growth hormone and triggers muscle activation that allows them to relax.

Also, when doing a recovery ride, it’s good to take a companion along, so you can just talk while riding and enjoy yourselves. You can even plan a break for a quick bite or drink. All this will add to the fun factor, and it will feel like a real recovery where you’re boosted with energy and motivation for your training and rides.

Summing Up!

Cycling is fun and adventurous. But when you’re training, you need to make sure that you’re fit and constantly motivated for the rides. If you just be a couch potato after coming back from a long ride, you’ll have no motivation to go for another ride ever.

It’s essential to stay in motion, and a recovery ride or rest days helps with that. Not only will it help you feel better, but it will also enhance your performance and speed.

So, no matter how tired you feel, just give it a push and go for a low intensity recovery ride whenever needed!

Happy Riding!

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