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Cycling training tips
How Slow Can You Go?
Avoid the one big mistake cyclists make when it's time for recovery.
ByChris Carmichael
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Time off from cycling can be a good thing. One critical training principle is that of overload and recovery. For a system to grow stronger, it must be stressed and then allowed time to rebuild. This is the reason for recovery periods between hard efforts during interval workouts. From there, the principle expands to include rest days during hard training weeks, a recovery week within a month of training and, finally, a several-week-long hiatus after a season.


But what about recovery on a grander scale? The concept of a grand recovery period has implications for all athletes. Amateur racers and recreational cyclists frequently participate in events for several years and then turn to other pursuits and interests. Maybe you were a Cat 3 or an avid century rider five years ago, but your bike has been collecting dust or you've resigned yourself to just a weekend spin to stay moderately fit. It's not too late for a comeback.


Regardless of where you are in the process, there's one aspect of training that trips up cyclists more than any other: recovery rides. The concept is ridiculously simple: Take a very easy spin on your bike. To be honest, there's little scientific evidence that recovery rides are any more beneficial—physiologically—than sitting on your couch. The same can be said for massage, but athletes and coaches swear by both as ways to enhance between-workout recovery. Both help athletes feel fresher and looser for their next hard training session. And there's a clear psychological benefit to that.


Though it sounds simple, many athletes ruin their training by going too hard. To be effective, your easy ride must do no harm. Only by spinning at a very low intensity will you reap the psychological benefits.


Ease Off the Gas Pedal
So how do you properly execute a recovery ride? Start out easy. Once you're at a nice, relaxed pace, take your speed down another notch. You can't go too easy, but it's easy to go too hard. Think of it as taking the bike for a walk: You shouldn't be working any harder than you would during a stroll to the coffee shop. Your power output should be 30 to 50 percent of your maximum sustainable power output, and your heart rate should not go above 70 percent of your maximum sustainable heart rate. Keep your cadence at about 90 rpm—at low speeds and in low gears, this will seem brisk—and ride for 30 to 60 minutes. A power-meter graph from a recovery ride should show a low and relatively consistent power output, a relatively high cadence and little else.

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Another thing: Do not ride with others when you want to just spin easy. The competitive spirit comes out when others are involved. Especially if there happens to be a little climb in the way Haha!
What do you do when not cycling?
Hmm, it all sounds great, but I find, I start out slow, as specified, but as I warm up... I just have to go hard. I guess its the old male competitive crap... but I find it nearly impossible to go slow for long. So the only way I can get around the recovery stage, is by taking a day off... which usually turns into cross training in something else, like jogging..which starts out slow, and ends up with me racing again... I wonder if I haven,t got some kind of But I rarely have injuries, and am very in tune with my body for any new aches or pains.... so I guess in the end..i,m just one of those anomalies... kind of a go till you drop type animal ! but its fun....just too fun to go fast and hard... so why go slow...? P.S. Take a week off? are you serious ? I would rather die. It could never happen..i,d have to be in hospital, with a broke back.
I can absolutely attest to this. I find that by going 3 weeks on, one week off, I achieve significant gains the start of my new cycle.