If cycling is a part of you, like it is for me, then it's easy to become compulsive. We LOVE the way we feel when we ride! We want more. We want to enjoy ourselves more, ride further, ride faster, ride longer. But what if I told you that as fun and exciting as being fit really is, well, rest and recovery are that much more important?
The riders in the Tour de France are human, just like the rest of us. If they have a bad night's rest, it can affect their entire Tour. If they don't eat enough, their bodies won't recover. If they don't drink the right kind of carbohydrates and proteins after a ride, their muscles won't repair themselves.
We can get really scientific about it all, but the important thing, is this:
Our bodies work better after rest and recovery. When you play hard, you have to rest harder. You need good food, good drinks, and rest. Take a day off now and then, and whether cycling or not, start practicing the following:
- If you like Chocolate milk, bring some in a cooler and consume it right after a ride. Almond milk and oat milk are also great substitutes.
- Have a real meal maybe an hour after a ride is over. Your body will thank you later.
- NAPPING is a great way to heal and recover.
- Sleep in cooler temperatures. Cold rooms are great. Cold showers after a hard ride are great. Ice vests are great.
- Use the time after a ride as an opportunity to catch up on your hydration. I am STILL drinking my fluids, 2 to 3 hours after a ride.
- Weigh yourself before and after a ride. That can tell you how much you're losing, and how hard you need to recover.
- REWARD YOURSELF. Rest and Recovery will make you a BETTER CYCLIST!