Obviously, if you are not a pro cyclist and have a full time job, it can be difficult to follow a training plan when it's a hard week but it can be equally tricky when it's a recovery week. Why? Because group rides are fun (and eventually fast)!
Following J. Friel's model and after my three weeks of build, it was time for a week of recovery. This is how I planned mine
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 1h30min / Low intensity
Wednesday - 2h / Low intensity
Thursday - 1h30min / High intensity
Friday - Recovery
Saturday - 2h / High intensity
Sunday - 3h / Low intensity
I have been taking Mondays completely off the bike for over a year now (no commuting or riding to the coffee shop either) and I find it critical, in any phase. No riding on Monday.
On Tuesday, I started the easy ride with a non-racing friend. On his wheel, I still felt my legs heavy and had the sensation my heart was going to explode everytime we went up the smallest hill. It proved I really needed this recovery week.
It all settled after half an hour and we chose to extend the ride a bit as it was a beautiful morning, going as easy as possible - 2 h.
There was no riding on Wednesday, other things took priority (possible?) and I only had time for a session on the rollers before work. Now, and you can laugh if you will, it only lasted nine minutes... Yes, I got a flat while riding on the rollers! It wasn't a puncture, an old patch leaked and I wasn't going to change tubes and get back on the rollers... That just doesn't happen.
Thursday was the day to ramp it up, also for the first time in a few weeks I checked my rest heart rate before the ride. It was forty-seven, way down from the low fifties I have been getting all this year. Things might be changing, happy times!
Unfortunately, the lifting at work and the cold weather this week didn't do much good for my neck and back. The usual hot shower and neck stretches didn't help this time and I was out for the rest of the day. I guess this is part of it.
Friday, I managed to get out in the middle of the morning for a recovery ride. The ride wasn't incident-free but it was nice enough to spin the legs and get me to the coast and back - 1h 37min.
Raced on Saturday looking for some high intensity. The absence of most of the local elite riders in the A grade criterium made the race a bit slow but it gave me the chance to be creative and active, which put me in a few breaks and almost in second place at the end. A lot of fun.
I added a few more kilometers by heading to the bottom of Mt Nebo with a team mate but turned around when I spotted Sandra coming down with a friend. No more intensity for these legs. Back to town for a team breakfast and a nice ride home with Sandra to finish the day. That's almost pro like - 3h.
For Sunday, I had two options: team ride to Mt Mee or team ride with the Zupps bunch. Hard to decide but I didn't want to overdo it and thought it would be better to avoid hills.
Again, it is always hard to keep it at low intensity when doing the Zupps ride ... I did put a couple of hard efforts (had to test the legs!) but managed to pull out when things were really getting hot. Rode the rest of the loop with Sandra and a few riders in a relaxing pace, chatting and enjoying the morning sun.
Then, home for breakfast and a relaxing Sunday - 3 h.
At home, in colour... team colours!
This was my recovery week post, not quite black on white, with solo and bunch rides, I just hope it illustrates what I do in pursuit of getting in the best shape for competitive cycling at masters level, and encourages more people to get on their bikes and have fun at the same time.
Week Twenty Five: Recovery Time: 11 h Dist.: 320 km