On the specifics of recovery- a critical part of training that's often overlooked. Don't skimp on your recovery!
Recovery is just so, so critical and I talk a lot about recovery methods.
So what are they?
My entire recovery philosophy was borne out of necessity. I spent the first 10 years or so of my career racing the “staple” type of bike events in the west, the weekend stage race.
Towns are so far apart, promoters needed to offer 3 stages to attract riders. Hence, Crit, Time Trial, Road Race. 3 stages, 2 days. That means you better learn how to recover or you are in for a very long weekend.
As the years passed we(myself and my teammates)tried and experimented with just about everything except maybe voodoo in an effort to be ready for the next stage. Nothing like sitting on a hotel bed at 8PM on a Saturday night after two stages, feeling wrecked and knowing that at 6AM you have to get up and go hammer 80 or 100 miles in the wind and hills. THAT will make you figure out how to recover as much as humanly and legally possible.
This was the 90's. No powermeters, no books, no mentors, no coaches. If necessity is truly the mother of invention, desperation is REALLY the mother of invention. These Recovery methods were borne from a very hot fire indeed.
So here you go:
First, understand there are various degrees of recovery. If I do a big ride on Saturday and don't have another hard ride set until Tuesday, my recovery is going to be relaxed. If I race Saturday and then have to get up at 6AM and race 80 miles on Sunday, well you can bet my recovery is in full-bore emergency status.
Something like this:
Day 1, the racing is over by 3PM and I am fatigued.
1. Within 30 minutes after the event ends, get a good recovery drink down. Whatever your flavor, brand, or sponsor drink is, something that is a good combo of carbs and protein.
My personal go to is chocolate milk. Absolutely critical you get it down in this 30 minute post event window. I have it on good info that this one step missed(depending partially on how blitzed you are from your effort)could affect your recovery by up to 50% for the next day! Heck, even if it was half of that, is it worth taking a chance? Get it done.
2. Cover your legs. Warm muscles means better circulation. Better circulation means quicker recovery. At least leg warmers. At best get some type of compression socks, recovery tights or TEDS.(if I am flying, driving or walking for any extended periods, I am ALWAYS wearing some kind of compression)
3. Get off your feet. Minimize walking and standing post race.
4. Within a couple of hours get a good balanced carb/protein meal down.
5. Back home/motel room. Take compression stuff off. Lay down and put your legs up on the wall. Wait until your toes tingle then put them down for a good flush.
6. Until they say riders ready the next day, stay off your feet as much as possible.
7. Use the 'stick' for self massage. Better yet, use one of the new massage percussion guns.(I have one, SWEAR by it) Work your legs all around, find the trigger points.The trick to good massage is paying attention to how the muscle really feels during massage. Done right, your legs will tell you when enough is enough.
8. Put compression back on. I like to leave them on for a couple hours, then off. The push-pull circulation theory.
8. Hit the sack. I don't sleep with compression on.
This is stuff that works for me, it worked for my teammates. Nothing will make you feel like you did not ride the day before, but I believe it makes you as good as you can be for day 2.
Also, the excuse that I was too tired to do my recovery? Well, day 2 just got a lot harder than it needed to be.