Ever since I've started cycling I've discovered that I take very long to recover from hard cycling efforts. Complete recovery for a 60 mile race usually takes me about three days. I'm 17 years old, I weigh about 125lbs and train approximately 200 miles a week. I've considered scaling down on the frequency of my hard training rides with ample recovery inbetween. Would you advise this to improve my recovery, then gradually increase the frequency of my hard rides.
Dave Palese replies:
Kevin, Your reported recovery time from a 60 mile road race is not out of the ordinary.
I'd be curious to know what you are using to judge if you are recovered.
If you mean that your resting heart rate has not dropped down to it's "rested" level, this can take several days, especially during competition periods that contain numerous hard training/racing sessions.
If you are using how your legs feel to judge your recovery status, and three days after the race your legs are feeling a bit heavy, you might try active recovery after the event. First try to take a longer cool down. Spin easy for 20-40 minutes after your race ends. Include short, 2-3 minute blocks of higher cadence spinning (90-100rpm). Be sure to start the dehydration process as soon as you cross the line. Proper post race nutrition will also help get the recovery process going.
Then for the next 1-2 days, spin easy for 40-60 minutes to loosen up and promote blood flow to the muscles. When your legs feel pretty normal, you can resume your training to bridge to your next event. During competition periods, don't force it. If you aren't feeling the mojo, keep the workout easy. No sense leaving your legs on the road in the middle week only to be wishin' you had brought them to the race on Sunday.
You can also expect that if you follow thoughtful training programs in the years to come, your recovery from hard events will improve with time.