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How To Master A Recovery Ride

How To Master A Recovery Ride


– We often talk about the
importance of rest here on GCN. Rest is when your body
can actually repair itself and so that is the time when
you get stronger and fitter. Having all ready done the hard
work beforehand of course. – Yeah, you have two options
when it comes to said rest. You can either take the word literally and sit on your backside for a day. Or you can do what is
called active recovery or a recovery ride. Always one of my favourite days as a pro. (upbeat music) – Now, before we start to
explain exactly how to do a recovery ride. What actually is one supposed to do then? Well, it is a way of
gently boosting blood flow around the body through gentle exercise. And then the theory is that
will help deliver nutrients to your damaged muscles
and also start to flush out some of the waste products from them that would have accumulated
through hard training. – How then do you do a recovery ride? Why they really are quite simple. All you need to do is ride
at a very low intensity for quite short period of time. So, 60 minutes at a maximum at an effort level of between one and two if you’re going on feel. You should basically be able to breathe through your nose throughout. – That sounds good. – It does. That’s why I love recovery rides. If you’re going on power,
less than 50% of your FTP or less than 60% of
your maximum heart rate. There should be no accelerations
and no sprints at all. Just spinning on a nice easy gear. – I tell you what. I am liking the sound
of this more and more. Can we stop for coffee? – We can. In fact amongst professional
riders it is almost against the law not to stop for coffee. – Well I tell you what. We better stop for coffee. I don’t want to get into trouble. – Just spin nice and easy to a cafe. – Well, I tell you what Dan, I am thoroughly enjoying
my recovery ride so far. Question is, is there
actually any scientific proof that this is going to be a benefit to us? – There isn’t a great deal I must admit. – Oh? – But, there is some. There is one study which seems to suggest that recovery rides can
increase lactic clearing which I guess has got to be a good thing. And I’ve also found some other
evidence of other benefits to recovery rides, as well. – Okay, so we have not just
completely wasted 15 minutes. – No. Not at all. So I’ve been reading
some excerpts from a book by Matt Fitzgerald entitled
Brain Training for Runners. – Sorry. Runners? – Yep, bear with me. He says that the benefits
of recovery exercise are due to the presence of a cytokine called interleukin-6 or IL -6 for short. – Oh, yes, yes that’s
one of my favourites. – IL-6 will cause a feeling
of fatigue when it’s present in the body but it can also
lead to gains in fitness. So if you do recovery rides in a state of glycogen depletion, as you normally would be after
a block of hard training. In the presence of IL-6 in your body. You actually get fitness gains. Which I think is a great thing. And there are other benefits
to recovery rides as well. In terms of improved cognitive function. Also an increased resistance
to muscle tissue damage and better fat metabolism as well. – That’s really good. – Yeah. I though you’d like that a bit. So if you do recovery rides it should teach your body to
prefer fat as it’s fuel source. Especially if the ride
that you do in between is generally of quite high intensity. – I am sold. Recovery rides sound so beneficial I think I am going to do them everyday. – Ah, it doesn’t quite
work like that actually. You need something to recover
from i.e. some hard training. – Hmm? (upbeat music) – So, should you bother
with recovery rides? Well, if the weather is spectacular. If you’ve done some hard training and if you go very easy and
you don’t do it for too long. Then the answer is probably yes. It will give you a small benefit. However, if you haven’t
done any hard training or if you’re someone who
can’t hold yourself back when you go out on the bike
or don’t have much spare time or it’s tipping it down with rain. Then you’re probably not going
to get much benefit at all. – Well, fair enough then. Dan, that has been an education. I must just echo that last point though. That if you do not do
a proper recovery ride and your not training either then actually you are
just doing junk miles that serve no benefit whatsoever
and are only negative. So if you do a recovery ride
make sure you do it properly. With coffee and cake. – Yeah. Okay if you haven’t yet subscribed to the Global Cycle
Network you can do so now by clicking on the globe and then this next video
should show you how to get into a fatigued
state in the first place. And that you deserve recovery ride. Just down here are three sessions to help you improve your climbing. – Yeah. Or, how about this one down
here where we ask the pro’s what they do on recovery days. Are they doing it against Dan’s advice? – Quite possibly. – Say what, GCN is made for recovery day. Isn’t it? – Yeah. Pro’s don’t always do it right? Do they? – No. It’s funny enough, we didn’t do it right
until we were retired. Now we’re right every time. – (laughs)

100 comments on “How To Master A Recovery Ride

  1. Hey guys, any tips for people who's just recovered from a broken collarbone and wants to get back to cycling asap? Thanks!

  2. Si, you messed up a bit mate. You are supposed be in a depleted state as by Dan, but you were having cake……Enjoy

  3. Interesting. Another IL-6 wild goose chase! A survey of the scientific literature shows IL-6 to be involved in every process. While the may have a sensitive biomarker for need for physical recovery it is not specific to any underlying disease or exercise modality.

  4. hi guys. When would it be sensible to replace a session with a recovery ride. I train well, and often have fridays off the bike completely. However, I struggle to know the difference when Im tired or 'over' tired…. obviously being fatigued is part of trying to improve…. Its hard to know when to suck up the fatigue and do a planned Z2 ride or back off and just do active recovery. Cheers

  5. Have tried this but I struggle with recovery rides. I always end up pushing the pace up, just can't help myself. It definitely takes a toll after a few days. Spinning out for an hour would help reset the body.

  6. Hi GCN! I like to go for a run in the morning and an easy ride in the afternoon/evening. Would that be a recovery ride?

  7. I appreciate that Si has his own style, but I struggle with the cap under the aero helmet. I think GCN either need to take it to the wind tunnel or ask "Hot or Not?" Looks warm but not cool—discuss.

  8. I find it odd that you guys so often are wearing long sleeves and tights, but NOT gloves! My hands are always the first thing to get cold.

  9. Staying below 50% FTP is hard, but my body needs it.  I need the 'flush' that spinning gives post-abuse.

  10. With the evidence of the "benefit" of recovery rides being so thin to begin with, how doing it improperly be "junk miles of no benefit and are only negative"? If I enjoy every moment on my bike, who cares if I'm doing it "properly". I have never ridden a junk mile in my life.

  11. Way I see it, there are two main benefits to recovery rides:
    – It's a way for you to get on the bike when you need to rest
    – It's a pleasant way of doing your stretching.

    You pretty much do a very long warmup session, get some fresh air and improve your day quality significantly.

  12. I am a FAN, a subscriber and watch almost every video. Matt, Dan, Tom, and Simon are four of my favorite people who I don't actually know. However, Re: Simon's comments at 4:08, perhaps I misunderstood , but . . . . what the hell are "junk miles" which are of "no benefit whatsoever?" I'm 66 yo and average 200 miles/wk. I ride hard sometimes and easy sometimes. To me, every mile is of benefit and definitely not junk! By the way, on recovery days I sit on the couch and watch GCN!

  13. It's not the first video when GCN (and Si especially) using all their skills in British version of English language to diverge from the must to know term: Polarized Training.

  14. On the last day of being sick when you are mostly back to normal but are not quite ready to get back to riding hard until the next day should you do a short easy recovery ride or just stay home another day?

  15. hello friends! i have a problem i live in a super mega stiff climb XD how can i do a recovery ride in here ?

  16. Can you make a video, how to ride the day(s) before a race or is there already a video on your channel about it ?

  17. Watch out for "the Zwift effect" on a recovery ride. Some of my best sprint times have been on Watopia flat on recovery day when I'd see that the green jersey was within my abilities. I've gotten to the point where I won't even do routes that include a sprint segment in game just to avoid the temptation. So no Richmond, Box Hill with resistance turned off and Volcano CCW are my routes of choice :p

  18. ProTip: Done a hard weekend ride? Use your commute as a recovery ride! You can even take that coffee & cake with you for when you arrive at work 🙂

  19. How can 'increased resistance to muscle damage' be a good thing, if breaking down muscle and rebuilding it, but better, is the essence of training?

  20. Every direction from my home is downhill, that means hard uphill on the way back. Not a recovery ride after that…

  21. I got attacked by a dog from the farm you road past earlier this year (near the start of the video)had to throw my water bottle at it to get it away from me ( maybe a nice GCN red one would be a nice replacement, or be brave enough to have a look for mine next time your filming up there ) luckily he/ she only bit my overshoes, although it still took me a while to recover from that !

    Mendip farm dogs = dangerous beings

  22. Agreed, I feel I gain fitness gains from a good half hour spin a day after a high zone ride. Even if your not racing. One hard ride a week recovery ride and some intervals, one will see progress over time. love the coffee!

  23. Having been suffering from quite possibly the deadest legs I
    have ever had recently. I have been doing a lot of homework online to find out
    how to beat the DOMs and fatigue. Unfortunately there appears to be no agreed upon
    ideologies, regarding recovery rides, foam rollers, stretching, massaging,
    supplements etc. No one appears to agree with anyone else which I believe you
    alluded to, so as with all things in life, everything has Pros and Cons.

    Whilst I agree with some of your points i.e. increased blood flow removing waste
    products etc. An interesting point I stumbled across which seemed to ring true
    is that when you do any form of exercise you raise your metabolic rate, this
    readies the body to release energy resources in order to facilitate the
    activity. Be that breaking down food/glycogen/fat etc, even muscle in extreme
    circumstances. So during a recovery ride and for some time after, your body cannot rebuild muscles and recover from
    the previous training/vigorous activity. The piece I found stated that even
    moderate exercise suspends muscle protein synthesis, which of course is the
    last thing you want from a supposed rest. This makes sense by my reasoning,
    when does your body to the majority of its repair and rebuilding? When you are
    asleep, and when is your metabolism at its lowest? Yes, when you are asleep! So
    in short, you cannot substitute rest days for active recovery. As much as it
    hurts to not be out, especially this week with the amazing weather, I have come
    to the conclusion that you do need complete days off the bike.

     I am no biologist or sports scientist, so welcome anyone’s
    input on the matter. What I have written above is my summary of my recent
    findings based solely on others’ views/studies. Bottom line though, recovery rides
    are not a holy grail, in my opinion.

  24. Junk miles? Not heard of this before. Surely any riding is likely to have a positive impact right? Unless you're hindering recovery.

  25. FTP- functional threshold power
    HRTP- heart rate threshold power? Is that correct, or did they mean FTHR- functional threshold heart rate?

  26. Hey Ceye your bulding is quite funny, but I must comment your last comment. Your junk miles may be just to enjoy the sport, hm ? Or if you just cycle for sake of cycling is not good enough?

  27. Junk miles can also just equal time enjoying riding a bike. I tend to always go too hard whenever I go out but I am trying to spend some time just enjoying riding as well as pushing it hard from a mental health standpoint. A couple easier rides that are actually geared more around enjoying yourself as opposed to increasing FTP/VO2 Max/any other measurement can set you up to get stronger by virtue of giving you motivation to want to ride your bike more. Sometimes junk miles are the best decision.

  28. Here the weather is allways fantastic … so recovery rides and beers, "tapas" and that short of things are popular. The benefits only goes to the abdominal. Singular. Only one abdominal …

  29. 4:15 Si… I must refer you to rule #24 "All of cycling’s monuments are measured in the metric system and as such the English system is forbidden." Thus junk miles is to be referred to as junk kilometers. #SIunits #nopunintended

  30. @GCN what about the cooling down you see now, especially in the grand tours? is that recovery or something else?

  31. So a recovery ride should be leisure ride for fun. Maybe the bike computer should be left at home for these rides.

  32. Hearing the term "junk miles" makes me want to reach for the proverbial remote. True, some moments on the bike may not be beneficial in terms of improving FTP or other things, but who says the need to be? Minutes/hours spent while spinning and enjoying the scenery are definitely not "junk miles", even if doing HIIT would be way better for improving one's fitness.

  33. #torqueback would a short (around 7kms) ride up a hill be considered a "recovery ride" as long as efforts stay low? since ideal bike routes here in my country are usually made up of hills.

  34. As a triathlete 🤣, I find a recovery ride is great at zone one / two power , really helps the legs after long run day, 😊

  35. Recovery rides are difficult. I live near the coast, which is flat and ideal for recovery rides, but this unfortunately makes it very popular with triathletes. The first chubby triguy flies by me on a TT bike, pedaling as if afflicted with Parkinson's of the legs, and I shrug. Then a few minutes later, another one gives me the Armstrong "look" as he wobbles by on deepdish carbon rims and the latest superbike, and I nod and smile. But then it happens a third time and I wake up on my kitchen floor, exhausted, legs spasming, and the taste of blood in my mouth.

  36. I'd pretty much need 0% gradient the entire ride for this to be achieved. I've actually considered driving my bike to the bottom of the hill I live on so that every recovery ride doesn't end with my laboring up a slope. Seems so lame to do that, but I probably should.

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