Importance of Recovery

Importance of Recovery

How seriously are you taking recovery?

by Patricia Schwager, ALP Cycles Coaching

Are you doing enough to recover from training and racing? A lot of athletes underestimate the need for recovery and the power of recovery.

First important thing to do is cooling-down. Make sure you are doing a cool-down after finishing a race. No matter how good or bad the race went, spin out your legs for 15 to 20 min.

Ride at an easy pace and spin your legs during the last 10-15min of your training sessions. This is the first step to start with your recovery and it has an influence on how you will feel the next day.

After you finished your training or race, eat and/ or drink something easy digestible. Getting the necessary nutrients into your body within the first 30min of finishing your training or race is essential to recovery.

A recovery drink or a snack like a sandwich for example, are fast and easy options. You could prepare some recovery food before you head out for training or racing.

Make sure to eat/drink something with simple carbohydrates and a little protein- more protein and less carbohydrate if you are a woman.

After that, you should eat a normal meal within 2hrs after your race or training ride. Balance the calories you expended during the day of racing/ training with the calories consumed the rest of the day. Your nutrition will help you recover from the day and feel better

Other things to help with your recovery are:

– stretching

– foam rolling

– massage

– ice bath or another technic is doing hot/cold bath intervals

– wearing compressions socks or tights

– eat right

– listen to your body- means don’t overdo it with training/racing/working

– sleep

Getting enough sleep is very important and a key factor for effective training and recovery. Taking a nap after a hard training is the best you can do for recovery. Even if you just get to sit down and relax for 20min, this already helps in your recovery.

It isn’t a good idea to rush right away to the next thing on your to-do-list after completing your training ride. In that case you better shorten your training to have a little less stress and more time to recover.

Of course for many who lead busy lives and have cycling as a hobby it is hard to find enough time for recovery. Think about how you can fit life around riding and recovery and less about how to fit every free minute into training around work.

Talk to your coach about your work and life schedule. For us coaches at ALP Cycles Coaching, it is very important to include these facts into planning. We will work out a training plan that fits with your life instead just fits with the calendar.

What about an active recovery ride?

Spinning your legs on a rest day is a good idea. Ride at low- intensity on flat terrain or trainer/rollers and use a light gear. Make sure you just put minimal pressure on your pedals. Active recovery boosts blood circulation, which removes lactic acid from your muscles- helping facilitate recovery faster. However, this only counts as long as you keep your ride very easy. If you are going too hard on an active recovery day, then it doesn’t do anything for your recovery. This is because, as soon as you push harder and raise your heart rate you don’t ride in the recovery zone anymore and the adaptions you would get from recovery aren’t taking place.

Days off: don’t be afraid of taking a day completely off. If your coach is giving you a day off it has its reason- so enjoy that extra rest! Go hard on the hard days- take it very easy on the easy days.

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Patricia Schwager began cycling in 1998, racing as a junior. After racing on the domestic level and completing her Diploma as Pastry Chef, she got her first pro contract in 2006. 2015 will be here 10th year of professional racing. Patricia has a lot of experience racing in the European peloton. In 2013 she started working with Shawn Heidgen (Current ALP Cycles Coach) as her personal coach. In 2014 she changed her focus to racing in the US. Patricia is a 6 time national Swiss champion and has represented her home country, Switzerland, at the World Championships 12 times.

For 2015, Patricia will race for Team Tibco. Along with racing she’s looking to share and pass on her knowledge in her new role as an ALP Cycles Coach. Visit her online at