Massage and other recovery aids
There's an old phrase in cycling: "don’t stand when you can sit and down sit when you can lie down".
While this is great advice, often real life gets in the way and makes this unachievable. However, small changes can make a big difference, so on recovery days try and minimise strenuous activity as much as possible.
Many riders also see recovery days as a chance to 'catch up' on training they may have missed earlier in the week - but this is a mistake in the long run. Ok, you might catch up on one session you missed but it will leave you tired for the next block of training, so by doing extra on the recovery day you will effect the next three or four training sessions.
Something I am asked about a lot is recovery aids: foam rollers, massage, compression socks, ice baths etc. All of these products and methods have been tested in scientific experiments and, to be honest, the jury is out on them all.
That isn’t to say that they aren’t helpful, but in scientific experiments the results haven’t been conclusive. Personally I have used all of the aforementioned methods depending on how I felt at the time. As a coach and as a riders it is good to do what you think will help as if you feel something is helping, even if you are only receiving a placebo effect, then chances are you will feel better afterwards.
If you feel better about your recovery then you are more likely to be recovering well. Don’t underestimate the power of being confident that you have done everything possible to recovery from a hard session and be fresh on the start line of your next race.