Tips on how to recover from the Argus cycle race
Whether you are a ‘weekend warrior’ or a dedicated cyclist, you are going to be tired, stiff and sore after cycling the Argus. Proper recovery will help you to get back in that saddle with a smile again.
What you eat and drink after a race is important for your recovery process, says Peter Jordan, Principal Officer for Fedhealth. “It’s best to eat within 30 minutes of finishing your ride as it helps you store three times as much glycogen as those waiting two hours before they eat.” He adds that eating a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein after exercise also results in higher glycogen stores than just eating carbohydrates.
Sports recovery foods and drinks are handy, but expensive, and you can get similar benefits with a snack or meal made up of whole grains, fruit, and dairy, like one medium banana and a glass of low-fat milk, or low-fat yoghurt with 1/2 cup of fresh berries. “Drinking chocolate milk is another easy recovery drink as it has the right combination of carbohydrates to protein,” suggests Jordan.
Making sure you drink enough water after your ride to replace any water lost through sweat is essential. “You can check the colour of your urine in the hours after exercise. Your urine should be relatively clear in colour, so if you have dark, concentrated urine, you may be dehydrated and need to consume more water,” he says.
Once the consumables are sorted out it is time for stretching and resting those tired muscles. A gentle stretch after a tough workout is a simple and fast way to help your muscles recover. Other methods you can try include:
- Active recovery exercise or movement
Easy, gentle movement improves circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body. In theory, this helps the muscles repair and refuel faster. Try walking the dog, swimming or light jogging.
- Have a massage.
Massage feels good and improves circulation while allowing you to fully relax. If you can afford it, have a sports massage once a week or every two weeks. Make sure you drink lots of water afterwards as your body will need to flush the toxins released from the massage.
- Take an ice bath.
Some athletes swear by ice baths, ice massage or contrast water therapy (alternating hot and cold showers) to recover faster, reduce muscle soreness and prevent injury. The theory behind this method is that repeatedly constricting and dilating blood vessels help remove waste products in the tissues. Do it by jumping in a cold swimming pool or river and back in a hot bath. If you have a spa with hot and cold tubs available, you can take a plunge in each for the same time.
- Get lots of sleep.
While you sleep, amazing things take place in your body. During sleep, your body produces Growth Hormone (GH), which is largely responsible for tissue growth and repair.
“Time is one of the best ways to recover (or heal) from just about any illness or injury and this also works after a hard ride. Your body has an amazing capacity to take care of itself if you allow it some time,” says Jordan.