I am guilty. Zwifting at all hours of the morning and night. I’m no different than my 12 year old playing Fortnite. Gone are the days of me riding alone in a dark pain cave staring at a wall with my workout in front of me on a white board, and being left to my thoughts (which is truly a scary place). Although there are often days I miss the WiFi free zone and sound of my turbo trainer or rollers.
Having been ‘left crossed’ by a minivan a year ago the trainer has its appeal besides just the training benefits. Generally, the cycling studio is a safer environment than the road until I get caught in the moment and try to hold 3.5 watts/kilo for 2 hours. This becomes particularly dangerous if you are constantly signing up for races or a Tour de Something and not recovering properly. I get it, boys and girls. We are all competitive and it’s easy to push ourselves. We may not set out to ‘race’ in a ride, but when Joe Schmo or Betty Bike blows by us we sometimes can’t control ourselves. So we go HARD!
I am not saying that you shouldn’t go hard. But make sure you pair it up with a recovery ride. As a coach, I love data. And the internet is a great source for ALL of YOUR data. I don’t have a Facebook or Instagram account to stalk the latest person I meet on the street, but I do have access to riders who are part of the Bethel Cycle Works Club or those whom I have ‘followed’ or ‘follow’ me on Zwift or Strava. There is a trend that I see. It’s going hard again too soon with not enough recovery.
As I said, GUILTY! I’ve gone too hard again too soon and not been properly recovered. What’s worse is that I know better! Now that I know you will all be watching my data, I better follow what I preach. Try to work recovery rides into your Zwifting schedule once or twice a week following super hard training days and/or races. To do them right they should feel ridiculously easy. When you train hard, you do damage – that’s part of the plan. Your workout breaks down your muscle, empties your fuel stores, and taxes your metabolism. When you recover, your body repairs the damage so you can come back stronger.
Recovery rides are a critical part of your cycling regime. I promise if you follow these simple rules, you will come back all the stronger and you won’t increase your risk of injury and chances of burnout.
1. Work recovery rides into your training schedule once or twice a week. Ideally the day after a hard workout
2. Pick a flat course
3. Nothing over 90 minutes! 45-60 minutes is more than plenty
4. Keep heart rate to around 60-65% of your maximum
5. Keep Functional Threshold Power around 50%
6. Ride should be conversational the entire time
7. Sprinkle in 5 high cadence sprints/10 seconds each in an EASY gear.
8. Enjoy Recovery
If you are interested in individualized training, schedule it with us over at High Road Training.