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Ride and Recover
Sometimes the hardest part about being an athlete isn’t the training. It’s the not training.
ByJen See
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“When you get to the elite level, nobody has trouble pushing themselves. We’re all Type-A neurotics,” says LUNA Chix mountain bike pro Georgia Gould. Instead, the more difficult challenge is recognizing when you need an extra day of rest or easy riding—and sticking to that plan. “Learning that balance, and how to listen to your body—I think that’s really hard,” Gould says.

Her tips for smart recovery will help you refresh your body and mind—so you’ll be ready to rock your next hard ride.

Ditch the Chamois Gould’s favorite recovery-day ritual is to ride her town bike to breakfast with her husband. “I feel like I had a little break, but I still got something in. It’s win-win,” she explains. Sometimes, a recovery day means staying off the bike altogether. If it’s 40 degrees and raining, for example, some other form of light exercise might be better. “Go for a walk. Do some yoga. You don’t have to get in your chamois,” Gould says. 

Get a Coach to Hold You Back Many cyclists—pro and amateur—hire coaches to rev up their training, but sometimes a coach’s most important job is to keep an athlete from pushing too hard. Gould says her coach, Ben Ollett of Whole Athlete, puts things in perspective after a difficult race. “I’ll think, I had a bad result, I’m feeling tired, but maybe I just need to train more,” she says. “And that’s where it’s important to have a good support team and a coach who knows you well—someone who can say ‘Okay, Crazy, take it easy! You’re not a sissy.’” 

Go Hard or Go Home? Ignoring your training schedule is never easy, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do, Gould says. “You start the ride, and your heart rate’s not going up. Your body’s like, ‘Not today, sorry.’” When her body rebels, Gould calls her coach to tell him she bailed on the ride. “He’ll say, ‘Good, I’m glad you didn’t waste the day,’” she says.

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Don't strain your body. Be careful not to cross your limit. Just stop when you feel you've had enough. that's it.
A wasted day is a big deal. You don't always feel like doing the work, but you have to push through. It's what you have to do if you want to get to the top. comm
Use some sort of recovery boots after successive hard days of training. It will allow you to go harder longer, and especially good on the day off.
yea you can go pretty strong for a couple of days but in addition to most of us don't have a personal trainer, masseuse, and the rest SO take it easy obsessive one! know thyself (a proverb) and consult a good physician if possible.
After a series of good effort days, I do a light day (one hour EASY) followed by an off day, and may alternate that for another day or two depending oh how I feel. The mental rest is good too. I do the same thing a few days before and after a century.