Three Tips for Post-Gran Fondo Recovery


Was your Crossroads weekend hard on the body? Was it your first big bike outing of the season? I have three pieces of advice you can use in future for active recovery after a major endurance ride, high-intensity training or a competition.

1. Take a day off

The body needs time to bounce back. It needs a day with no training or very light training. The aim is to quantify the level of mechanical stress on the body in order to optimize progress and reduce the risk of injury.

If you look at the graph above, intense training corresponds to the top of the green curve, without going above the maximum capacity line. So we want to allow time for the body to recover without giving it a new overload too soon and, in so doing, stay within the limits of good progress.

2. Keep moving!

A day off doesn’t mean giving yourself permission to be a total couch potato! What your body needs is recovery time with a minimal level of activity. After intense effort, you will likely feel fatigue and stiffness quickly setting in on the same or next day. To promote muscular blood flow and avoid ankylosis, opt for regular movement over immobility. Activity and light muscle exertion will enhance blood flow to help flush out undesirable metabolites and promote the circulation of restorative agents.

That means today is not the day to lie back and binge-watch. Whether you’re at home or the office, stand up and stretch at least once every hour.

3. Use self-massage tools

Right now, your foam roller and exercise ball are your best friends! Along the same principles as my second tip, self-massage routines will revive blood flow through muscle, enabling better recovery and warding off painful stiffness. They will also help reduce muscle tension.

After a strenuous ride, you want to prioritize your legs, which have worked very hard! The quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks and calves all need some TLC. I recommend two to five minutes of light activity for each muscle group on the day of your ride and the two days after that.

If you have pain that persists beyond three days, especially if it is asymmetrical, I strongly advise you to see a physiotherapist to identify the cause before an injury develops. The cycling season is only just beginning and you don’t want to start off on the wrong foot!

Enjoy a good, active recovery!

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