Tuesday, October 7, 2008


It’s already early October, and if you are reading this you have more than likely been to a couple Cyclocross races and weeknight practices. It’s also probable that you may begin to notice the sting in your legs lasting a little bit longer after each workout. As you reach peak fitness the risk/reward ratio of each workout becomes skewed. To put it simply, the more fit you become the more likely you are to encounter some setback with each intense workout, these can include burnout, exhaustion, injury, ect. Fear not, with increased attention to recovery these problems can be avoided.

It goes without saying that recovery is a crucial part to any training program. Cyclocross is no exception, however, that are some unique demands from a typical road or mountain bike training program. Recovery can be approached from two directions; training structure and schedule, and strategies which can be implemented during your time off the bike.

Training Structure and Schedule: Typical cyclocross training programs have a higher frequency of intensity than most road and mountain bike racers have experienced. Due to the nature of these high intensity efforts it is imperative for the athlete to begin these efforts fresh. Cyclocross races are no different. The idea of “training through” races or workouts in not beneficial to the athlete in the same way that it can be for other events.

To put it simply; since your hard days need to be harder, your easy days need to be easier and more frequent. When looking at the big picture the same logic should be followed, as training cycles become more intense, they should also include rest periods more frequently. Rest days should be frequent and include “recovery spins” to help promote faster healing of damaged muscle tissues.

Off the bike Strategies for Recovery: The most effective forms of recovery off the bike are Sleep, Massage (if available), Stretching, and Proper Nutrition. These should be daily habits, not just employed on big training days. Other stratigies include ice baths, compression socks and tights, leg elevation, napping, listening to relaxing music, or just sitting around and watching TV for several hours.

By implementing proper recovery; both short and long term, Cyclocross racers can help insure a long, fun, and fruitful season.

If you are going to be a bear, be a grizzly.

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