With a busy lifestyle, recovery is often the ingredient that is most easily overlooked when it comes to cramming in everything else, from work to training to family time and beyond, yet it’s only when you give your body a chance to fully recover that it is able to become stronger from the training loads that you have been putting on to it. Failure to factor adequate recovery time into your weekly schedule will see your form plateau and gradually decline. Adopting the mindset that recovery is a continual process will ensure that you’re always thinking about how to maximise the return on your training investment.
Start your recovery while you’re still on the bike, using the last 15 minutes to gently warm down. If you absolutely have to sprint for the last village sign like it’s the finish line on the Champs-Élysées then go for a little spin around the block afterwards to clear the lactic acid in your muscles before stepping off of the bike.
Prepare your recovery nutrition in advance so that you can consume it within 20 minutes of finishing training when blood flow is increased and your body is more receptive to replenishing depleted glycogen stores. To maintain flexibility think about incorporating a regular stretching routine into your training, not only does this relax the mind and body but it’s useful at keeping your muscles supple to prevent injury.
Don’t be afraid to include recovery days or weeks into your routine. Without doubt the absolute number one element of recovery is sleep. This is when your body really has the chance to repair and recharge. Even missing out on just a few hours here and there can have a serious impact on your training and general wellbeing so never underestimate its importance.