Training for recovery.

I need to train for recovery this year. I don’t mean recovery after a ride but rather after a big effort, such as a hill climb, during a mountain bike ride. It will be a big help as I negotiate my planned ride with 6 ascents totalling around 4,500 feet. I wanted a ride today which would train me to recover better so figured that first I’d have to push myself hard. I decided to use the well drained circuit on Healey Nab where I’d ride the first lap very hard then continue to ride at a more relaxed pace and see how I recovered.

I arrived at the circuit already half way up the climb and set off straight away. I soon realised that this would mean 2 climbs with a downhill between them. I found it hard to do something which is fairly unnatural, to hurt myself for perhaps 4 minutes with the sole aim of tiring my muscles and pushing my breathing and heart rate up. I did the best I could, enjoyed the downhill then treated the second climb like a sprint to the finish.

I was breathing hard but didn’t feel too beaten up by it. I noticed on my next climb to the top of the circuit that my breathing stayed rapid despite my lesser effort. There were still some short but steep sections where I needed a big proportion of my power and my muscles felt fatigued. I kept riding but only felt reasonably recovered after a few diversions and the long downhill. I was more tired than usual on the way home despite a fairly short ride.

Later in the afternoon I chanced upon an article on Facebook by an MTB personal trainer who’s page I follow. It was on the subject of interval training, or doing repeated hard efforts with recovery periods between. It all sounded quite complex and mentioned 5 or 6 different types of interval durations and their uses in training. I was left a little confused as to which duration I would need to improve my mid ride recovery so asked the question in the comments section. As someone who want to earn money as a trainer he posted an aswer but didn’t bite so I’m still left wondering what would be a good interval training regime.

My best bet will probably be to do a Fartlek ride once a week. This is where you vary your pace deliberately on different sections of the ride and it’s well regarded as a way to help recovery of the type I’m talking about. Of course if anyone has any advice it will be very welcome.

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