The importance of recovery

“You can only train as hard as you can rest,” says Wattbike Sports Scientist Eddie Fletcher, who emphasises that the quality of your recovery should match the quality of your training. It’s a bold statement and one that is misunderstood or ignored by many cyclists.
The classic mistake – made by many amateur cyclists – is to attempt to replicate the training of a professional rider. They’ll read about a training session in a magazine or on a website and then train at an intensity that is too high and for too long. By training regularly on an indoor trainer, such as a Wattbike, that measures power and heart rate training, you’ll never fall into this trap as you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between your heart rate and power output, and you’ll undertake every session at just the right intensity based on your fitness. 

And when it comes to your rest and recovery these zones play an important part too. Look for trends, a period of improvement or deterioration, when comparing specific power outputs against corresponding heart rate values. If there is an increasing heart rate for a specific power output or a decrease in power for the same heart rate then it is possible you are either ill or over-training. Usually, there are some obvious signs, such as feeling unwell or fatigued. The key here is to back off your training for a few days until you feel well again.

Training while you’re ill is not recommended. Sometimes deterioration in performance is a precursor to illness so stop training as you will recover quicker with rest. When you restart, ease back into training with some sessions in your Recovery to Zone 1 and Zone 2 heart-rate and power-training zones.

Under-recovery is also a common error made by amateur cyclists. Continual ‘hard’ training leads to illness, injury and over-training. A good training programme, like the Wattbike 10-week Training Plan or the Wattbike Tune-Up Training Plan for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 balances duration, intensity and recovery to maximise physiological adaptation and ride performance.

Active recovery describes low-intensity exercise following a period of intense training or a sportive. If cycling for recovery, it is the recovery element that is paramount so stay in your recovery heart-rate zone and if training on a Wattbike use the session as an opportunity to focus on improving your pedalling technique too.

To find out more about rest and recovery, visit
Wattbike – the official Indoor Bike of Prudential RideLondon.