This training article was written by Cycling-Inform for L’Étape Australia by Tour de France.
Many cyclists put in hours of high-quality training required to complete L’Étape Australia only to short circuit themselves by doing things post workout which undermine their efforts. Here are seven of the worst things to do after your training rides.
1. Sitting around in your damp cycling gear
There is a trend these days to stop off at a coffee shop after a group ride. While the social side of cycling is important remember that sitting around in your cold or sweaty cycling gear can make you prone to catching a chill or increase the chances of skin infections. Keep your coffee stops short and make sure that you have a light jacket to wear over your kit on the ride home to keep yourself warm. And, if it’s been raining during your ride consider skipping the coffee stop and heading straight home.
2. Doing too much of nothing after a long weekend ride
While a mid-day nap after a long weekend ride can aid recovery, sitting around for the rest of the day can be detrimental to your recovery. I recommend light activity and a half hour walk after the longer weekend rides to help your body naturally flush toxins and aid recovery through blood flow.
3. Doing too much strenuous activity
The opposite to doing too little is doing too much. When you go out on your longer weekend rides that you’ll be doing to build your training volume for L’Étape Australia try to avoid scheduling in post ride activities that are strenuous, like major renovations or gardening around the house.
4. Not rehydrating
The Australian summer can be brutal and with it comes the chance of getting excessively dehydrated. Make sure that you keep your fluids up during your ride. Once you have finished, make it a point to rehydrate to replace lost fluids. Keep track of fluid loss by weighing yourself pre and post ride and check if there is a difference. You’ll want to replace 1.5 times any weight lost within four hours after your ride with an electrolyte drink that ideally doesn’t contain too much sugar.
5. Eating too much
During your ride you’ll want to manage your food intake to ensure you don’t come back famished. The reason for this is that there is a tendency to then overcompensate with your eating for the rest of the day, resulting in exceeding your daily calorie intake. Also, there is sometimes a tendency to reward yourself with food after longer rides because you “earned it”. Avoid the temptation to gorge yourself with big meals post ride and you’ll strip off any excess weight in no time.
6. Drinking alcohol
While beer is a common post ride drink often justified by its “carb-loading” qualities it’s not a great rehydration drink. Alcohol doesn’t help your recovery nor replace your lost fluids; it only hinders it and extends the time it takes your body to rehydrate.
7. Consuming too much protein.
Contrary to popular belief cyclist don’t need huge amounts of protein to maintain or build muscle mass. Work on consuming 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, ideally sourced from real food rather than a protein shake and spread throughout the day. If you are 50+ the recommended ratio is a little higher at 1.7-2.0 g/kg/day.
Now you have the keys to make the most of your training, you are ready to commit and ride L’Étape Australia by Tour de France.