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What to do if one recovery day is not enough?

Old 03-05-19, 03:18 AM
  #1  
Sito
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What to do if one recovery day is not enough?

Hi guys, quick question: what's the best thing to do when you're still supertired (pain in the legs, HR does not go up) after one rest day. Simply do another one, do some light riding or do a proper session and 'ignore' the pain?

Some background: I am your typical weekend warrior, doing my big and fast group rides on the weekend and some smaller rides during the week. If I only do one big/intense ride on the weekend I am usually fine after one day of recovery and can do some intervals the day after. However, occasionally I am allowed out both days of the weekend. Last Saturday I rode 155k at full gas with my club and was of course knackered afterwards. Usually I'd not ride on the Sunday after such a big ride but on this occasion my other half was away, so I wanted to take advantage and did a 165k solo gravel ride...at much lower intensity than the day before but still not exactly a recovery ride. I did not ride on the Monday of course but just tried to do some Zwifting now (Tuesday) and noticed there's no point in doing any efforts or intervals, so just did a little bit of easy pedaling.

I don't have any specific goals, just try to be as fit as possible during the entire year and smash it out on the weekend with the Grupeta....what would you do after a big weekend? Double-rest day or pedal through the pain?
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Old 03-05-19, 05:21 AM
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If you don't have the energy for a quality workout then don't is my advice. A day off should be enough for most situations though unless you are overreaching and need a light week. Do you ever do light weeks and if so how often?
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Old 03-05-19, 05:45 AM
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Split the difference and go for a good walk.
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Old 03-05-19, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by srode1 View Post
If you don't have the energy for a quality workout then don't is my advice.
+1
A short, casual ride to limber up is probably beneficial. But if you can't get the numbers up, there's very little point in pushing it.
´Course, some may suggest riding when it hurts the most will build mental "muscle" or endurance.
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Old 03-05-19, 06:37 AM
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Skip the workout and do an easy ride. Or skip the ride altogether and do something else.

Two or even three rest days in a row can be great, especially if you're busy with other things.
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Old 03-05-19, 08:51 AM
  #6  
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If you must ride, make it a recovery ride. Don't get above Z2.

You'll probably keep the distance short, too, because going so slow you don't cover much distance, so there's not much incentive to ride long. That's good, too, it helps you recover.
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Old 03-05-19, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by srode1 View Post
If you don't have the energy for a quality workout then don't is my advice. A day off should be enough for most situations though unless you are overreaching and need a light week. Do you ever do light weeks and if so how often?
He, thanks for the advice! I don't really schedule light weeks but I am a freelancer with quite a workload variation between weeks, so light weeks do happen, they are just not planned ahead. I might do 15 hours one week, 10 hours the next and 5 hours after that, but a "normal" week is probably 10+ hours.

My work schedule probably allows me to do more riding than an office job (because I can go out for a ride on the morning and then work late at night) but the workload varies so much and unpredictably that it's really difficult to follow a strcutzred training plan.

Thanks to everybody else who has replied as well!
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Old 03-05-19, 01:23 PM
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Exercise triggers your fitness to improve, but the actually improving happens when you rest. If you don't rest, you don't improve. Take another day.
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Old 03-05-19, 01:43 PM
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This depends also on what your goals are. If you are doing events where you are riding hard every day, doing blocks of training without the rests can be very beneficial. Not fun. You won't see power number gains. But your body will improve at recovery. Every pro who needs to be at his best in a 3 week tour rides at least one week-long tour for that hard every day training with no rest days.

Ben
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Old 03-05-19, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Sito View Post
He, thanks for the advice! I don't really schedule light weeks but I am a freelancer with quite a workload variation between weeks, so light weeks do happen, they are just not planned ahead. I might do 15 hours one week, 10 hours the next and 5 hours after that, but a "normal" week is probably 10+ hours.

My work schedule probably allows me to do more riding than an office job (because I can go out for a ride on the morning and then work late at night) but the workload varies so much and unpredictably that it's really difficult to follow a strcutzred training plan.

Thanks to everybody else who has replied as well!
My initial reaction is not to stress over an extra day off, especially given your chaotic schedule. If you are meandering anywhere from 5 hours to 300% of that then you are by no means optimizing your training so yeah err on the side of safety and recovery.

Or are you trying to accomplish something in particular? If so, then you won't likely get it with 300% variation in load randomly from week to week. You might be much better off just doing the minimum of five hours but in a structured and methodical way.

But, if that's not your thing and you just want to ride then just ride when you feel like it and you'll be fine. You can't lose if you don't have goals.
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Old 03-05-19, 02:37 PM
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Also, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but ACWR might be something for you to look into.
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Old 03-05-19, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
My initial reaction is not to stress over an extra day off, especially given your chaotic schedule. If you are meandering anywhere from 5 hours to 300% of that then you are by no means optimizing your training so yeah err on the side of safety and recovery.

Or are you trying to accomplish something in particular? If so, then you won't likely get it with 300% variation in load randomly from week to week. You might be much better off just doing the minimum of five hours but in a structured and methodical way.

But, if that's not your thing and you just want to ride then just ride when you feel like it and you'll be fine. You can't lose if you don't have goals.
Thanks for the reply! Yeah, it's like your saying, I am pretty much just planning from weekend to weekend, trying to be somewhat rested for the big ride in the bunch on the weekend. I might do one or two events per year and then I'll try and plan ahead a little better when possible and taper etc...but it's never as structured as I wish. At the end of the day, when I've got the time I want to ride my bike, even when it might be counterproductive from a training point of view

ACWR is Acute Chronic Workload Ratio? I'll look onto that, thanks!
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Old 03-05-19, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Sito View Post
Thanks for the reply! Yeah, it's like your saying, I am pretty much just planning from weekend to weekend, trying to be somewhat rested for the big ride in the bunch on the weekend. I might do one or two events per year and then I'll try and plan ahead a little better when possible and taper etc...but it's never as structured as I wish. At the end of the day, when I've got the time I want to ride my bike, even when it might be counterproductive from a training point of view

ACWR is Acute Chronic Workload Ratio? I'll look onto that, thanks!
Makes sense and nothing wrong with enjoying the bike! Yeah Acute Chronic Workload Ratio. The idea is that training helps to prevent overtraining. So ACWR compares total work done over a longer period to total work done recently. Since training load is cumulative, there may be benefit to looking at it that way such that, even with much variability within the acute period, as long as the ratio is good then you're good or something like that. I don't see it like others do. More of a sanity check in addition to other more important indicators.
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Old 03-06-19, 01:36 AM
  #14  
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Take more rest/recovery days. Doesn't need to be zero activity. On rest days I stretch and do light calisthenics. Nothing extreme -- range of motion, shadow boxing for upper body, massage, rollers on muscles I can reach.

Last week I overdid a new-to-me training session on the indoor bike trainer. An hour at low cadence, 50-60 rpm mashing the top gear, rather than my usual spinning. Strained some muscles in odd places -- the top of the foot, front of the lower leg. Still hurts several days later.

Tried an easy 12 mile ride Sunday after taking a week off (other than easy indoor trainer sessions), but it was too cold and I felt worse afterward. I'll try a moderate effort group ride Wednesday, probably around 40 miles by the time I get home. But I'm gonna avoid pushing too hard until the weather warms up. I find myself tensing up in the cold, which probably leads to poor ergonomics and minor injuries.

Then I got a call from my endocrinologist today telling me my bone density scan showed some bone loss. Side effect of my dysfunctional thyroid. So I need to avoid extreme strain until that improves and I take the stupid supplements, presumably something like alendronate. Family history of osteoporosis, stress fractures, etc., but so far all of my fractures were due to trauma, fairly hard impacts, not just exercise induced strain. So far.

Getting old sucks. Took awhile for me to get the message than I can't work out 5-6 days a week anymore. I've cut back on the muscle building stuff to once a week for now, rather than 2-3 times a week. So far, so good. I just need to discipline myself to apply the same thing to bike rides.

So, back to my usual preference for spinning. Suits me, I'm more comfortable around 80-90 rpm anyway. If I do the big gear mashing again after a couple of weeks recovery I'll limit it to 15 minutes or so, and add some careful squats, lunges, etc.

I'm older than most of the folks in the local fast club's B-group, and I've noticed the 50something folks don't usually work out on days other than the three main weekly group rides. Probably a good practice. Their group rides usually wring me out, so if I rode with them more often I really wouldn't need to do any other rides.
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Old 03-06-19, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Sito View Post
He, thanks for the advice! I don't really schedule light weeks but I am a freelancer with quite a workload variation between weeks, so light weeks do happen, they are just not planned ahead. I might do 15 hours one week, 10 hours the next and 5 hours after that, but a "normal" week is probably 10+ hours.

My work schedule probably allows me to do more riding than an office job (because I can go out for a ride on the morning and then work late at night) but the workload varies so much and unpredictably that it's really difficult to follow a strcutzred training plan.

Thanks to everybody else who has replied as well!
Just remember, light means intensity as well as volume - as long as those 5 hours on your light week are lower intensity you're meeting the intent. With your variable schedule, I'd suggest tracking and make sure you aren't going much over 4 weeks without a light week. I know a few cyclists that have dug nice holes for themselves overtraining and lost quite a bit of fitness with time off recovering.
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Old 03-06-19, 05:21 AM
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If you want to recover you need to rest. That said, you need more than one day/wk. You need 3 day/wk minimum to be effective in improving your health. Never workout 7 day/wk. One day off is a must, although two days off is best.
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Old 03-06-19, 10:43 AM
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First nothing beats being fit for whatever you want to do on the weekend when you have time. Your body uses the same system for recovery as it does for generating energy with the proviso that sleep is extremely important. If you want to learn about sleep and its importance, I suggest Why We Sleep by Mathew Walker.

However, IMO, there are a few tricks to use that may help with recovery. First if you are going to do two days of harder rides on the weekend, have a recovery plan and think about adding some tools.

Take a trainer or rollers to the group ride and when it is over get on the trainer for a 15 minute higher cadence very low effort spin. Finishing the ride and jumping in the car and driving back home leaves all those waste products in your legs. A spin out may help.

I use compression tights. So after a hard workout and spinout, I put on compression tights. They feel good on and you will see them in use by pro teams after races with racers standing on the podium in compression tights after they do their spinout.

Take your recovery drink immediately after the workout to get some protein in the system and start drinking water to replace the lost plasma. That takes some time and the sooner the process is started the better.

Wipe off the sweat and road crap off your skin when finished riding. The skin has to breathe and this will aid recovery.

After a track workout, like the one I did last night, I put on compression tights and drive to the gym. I take a steam bathe, shower and then stretch and use a foam roller. I slept in compression tights last night and after a hard workout, my legs feel pretty good this AM.

I attended a training camp that had triathletes and they were using neuromuscular stimulators to aid recovery. I have found those work and there is research to support the results but this can be a YMMV.

Also, there is cold therapy. Pro teams are using whole body cryotherapy where one gets in a tank cooled by liquid nitrogen for 3 minutes. This seems to aid recovery and may be better than ice bathes. I have done it and it is better than getting into cold water.

All the training camps I have attended including massage which is pro cycling's go to modality for recovery after a race.

So there are some ideas on things to try after your Saturday ride and before your Sunday ride as well as after your Sunday ride to enhance recovery. And of course, there is just stay off your legs. Walking and standing is the kiss of death after a hard ride. Get off your legs and elevate them if possible.
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Old 03-06-19, 11:52 AM
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After that first day off, I'll usually do 1 hour zone 2 rides until I feel better. I'll include one short hill in those easy rides and try to hammer it a bit, see what my HR does. When my HR response looks normal and my legs don't hurt too bad, I'm good for a real workout. I don't find that the Z2 rides compromise me in any way. Many weeks that's all I'll do during the week, depending on how hard the weekend was.

All that said, my wife and I frequently go for a Monday hike in the mountains, weather permitting, no matter what I did on the weekend, 3-4 hours all zone 1 for me. We've always taken Mondays off. That's been magic.
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Old 03-06-19, 12:12 PM
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Also, if you want to plan for a two day recovery after a hard weekend then do a very low power higher cadence ride on Monday and take Tuesday off. I do recovery rides on the trainer or rollers and NOT on the road since it is too easy to use too much force at higher cadence on the road that puts me deeper in the hole I am trying to get out of.
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Old 03-06-19, 12:16 PM
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On final thought...fatigue is like pain. If you wait until you have pain, pain medication is less effective. It is better to take pain medication BEFORE you feel the pain. For me fatigue is similar. I use the tools I discussed above to get ahead of the fatigue before it gets started versus waiting until my legs feel like crap and then try to rest my way to recovery.
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Old 03-07-19, 12:56 PM
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I always pretty hammered on my "morning after" rides. I rarely go on a multi-day tour, but day 2 is usually hardest, but by day 4 or 5 one starts getting into a routine.

I've found with my Portland rides...
Day 1: 150 to 180 miles or so
Day 2: pretty wasted, but usually do some projects, sometimes a bike event.
Day 3: more projects.
Day 4: more projects
Day 5 (or so): Return ride, usually a bit shorter, 150 miles or so for a short ride.

One or two days after my return trip, my body has adjusted and I'm pretty much recovered.

Anyway, if the question is to ride 7 days a week through fatigue and pain.. the response would be an emphatic no, especially if you're hitting it cold.

If the question is to ride Saturday/Sunday, then take a week off. Sure, why not? You'll only conquer that "morning after" feeling with more work.

Now, one needs to look at age and symptoms. 20's, 30's, etc... ride through it. 50's, 60's, 70's, pay attention to what your body is saying.

Muscle pain & fatigue... No Pain, No Gain.
Joint, Ligament, Bone pain... Be CAREFUL!!!
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Old 03-28-19, 06:52 AM
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I have a similar question:

After long endurance rides, usually after 1 rest day, I still feel some slight soreness in my legs, but I am able to put out my usual power fine. Does this mean I am recovered enough to go for a full hard training session?

Or is it better to "recover" for an extra day, until ALL soreness is gone from your legs, and you feel super super strong again? I don't want to be doing any "junk miles" or more harm than good.

Thanks!
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Old 03-28-19, 07:28 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
I have a similar question:

After long endurance rides, usually after 1 rest day, I still feel some slight soreness in my legs, but I am able to put out my usual power fine. Does this mean I am recovered enough to go for a full hard training session?

Or is it better to "recover" for an extra day, until ALL soreness is gone from your legs, and you feel super super strong again? I don't want to be doing any "junk miles" or more harm than good.

Thanks!
You definitely don't have to be recovered completely before you ride hard again. In fact, at the advanced/elite level, it would be pretty tough to get sufficient stimulus to make progress if you did wait to be recovered completely.
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Old 03-28-19, 09:35 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I always pretty hammered on my "morning after" rides. I rarely go on a multi-day tour, but day 2 is usually hardest, but by day 4 or 5 one starts getting into a routine.

I've found with my Portland rides...
Day 1: 150 to 180 miles or so
Day 2: pretty wasted, but usually do some projects, sometimes a bike event.
Day 3: more projects.
Day 4: more projects
Day 5 (or so): Return ride, usually a bit shorter, 150 miles or so for a short ride.

One or two days after my return trip, my body has adjusted and I'm pretty much recovered.

Anyway, if the question is to ride 7 days a week through fatigue and pain.. the response would be an emphatic no, especially if you're hitting it cold.

If the question is to ride Saturday/Sunday, then take a week off. Sure, why not? You'll only conquer that "morning after" feeling with more work.

Now, one needs to look at age and symptoms. 20's, 30's, etc... ride through it. 50's, 60's, 70's, pay attention to what your body is saying.

Muscle pain & fatigue... No Pain, No Gain.
Joint, Ligament, Bone pain... Be CAREFUL!!!
The "pain of training" indicating a sufficient amount of stress to incur hypertrophy. Lots of people workout but never push themselves to a sufficient level to do much good. Finally, the pain from training is one thing, fatigue is something totally different.

Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
I have a similar question:

After long endurance rides, usually after 1 rest day, I still feel some slight soreness in my legs, but I am able to put out my usual power fine. Does this mean I am recovered enough to go for a full hard training session?

Or is it better to "recover" for an extra day, until ALL soreness is gone from your legs, and you feel super super strong again? I don't want to be doing any "junk miles" or more harm than good.

Thanks!
I wouldn't, unless you have a good reason. That soreness is you body telling you something. You can't just ignore it without consequence at some point.
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