We get it, when you get home after a long ride all you want to do is collapse on the couch with a beer. There may not be anything wrong with that, but what you do after your ride can be just as important as the ride itself. If you miss the opportunity to give your body what it needs to recover, it can have negative effects in the long run. So here’s what you need to know about post ride recovery to bounce back from a hard ride feeling even stronger and faster.
6 Tips To Speed Up Post Ride Recovery
You may want to do a final sprint on your final segment home, but it’s important to take some time for a cool down. Stopping abruptly can cause blood to actually pool in your legs, so you’ll want to gently spin your legs and lower your heart rate for at least 5 minutes at the end of each ride.
Stretch & Roll
You may not have access to a massage therapist after every ride, but massaging your legs after a ride encourages blood flow to the muscle, pushing out waste products of muscle breakdown and aiding muscle recovery. Using a roam roller is like having your own personal massage therapist, as painful as it can be. Stretching your muscles in a way that returns them to their natural state of balance is also important to recovery. If you want to learn more about the best stretches for cyclists, check out Dynamic Cyclist for more information.
Dehydration can slow the recovery process, so be sure to drink up after a ride. Whether it be water or an electrolyte drink, be sure to replenish your body before reaching for that beer.
Have a Nap
A long ride is the perfect excuse to go for that afternoon nap. Sleep is one of the most important parts of recovery, as your body enters full relaxation mode. Whether it be having a 30 minute nap, or going to bed a little earlier that night, getting plenty of sleep will help boost your recovery.
Have a Meal
Hard rides can eat through your carbohydrate stores pretty quick, so it’s important to replenish within an hour after your ride. A meal that is both carb-rich and high in protein is ideal to restock glycogen and speed up muscle recovery.
Contrast water therapy (a fancy name for alternating between hot and cold) can help reduce inflammation and increase blood circulation to the areas that need it. Although the science hasn’t fully backed the method, there’s a reason why many professional athletes and coaches still swear by it.