Recovering on Multi-Day Rides
Recovering on Multi-Day Rides

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Recovering on Multi-Day Rides

Healthy Food for Recovery - Cycle of Life AdventuresRiding a multi-day tour means you need to take care of yourself from the outset. Please look at these tips to helping you through such activities.

Focus on Fluid Intake Throughout the Afternoon/Evening

On multi-day tours, it becomes impossible to replace all your fluids during each day’s ride, leaving you at least somewhat dehydrated at the end of each ride. Once off the bike, rehydration should be your first priority, because it can take many hours for your body to absorb fluids and bring levels in muscles, blood plasma, and intracellular fluid back to normal.

It’s helpful to weigh yourself before and after a workout or event so you can estimate how much fluid you lost and how well you stayed hydrated during the ride. Following a ride, you want to consume 150% of the fluid weight you lost within the first 4-6 hours afterward.

In other words, if you lost 2 pounds (32 ounces), you want to consume 48 ounces in those 4-6 hours. These fluids should include both plain water and drinks containing electrolytes, and should ideally not include alcohol. If you decide to drink alcohol, since the event is likely a vacation as well as a cycling event, do yourself a favor and limit consumption to one drink.

Replenish Energy Levels With Quality Nutrition

In recent years, sports nutritionists and Registered Dietitians have moved away from recommending post-workout recovery drinks after every workout or ride. The primary goal of a post-workout recovery drink are to accelerate the replenishment of muscle glycogen so you can start your next ride with full glycogen stores. However, glycogen stores will be 100% replenished within about 24 hours regardless of whether you consume a recovery drink in the first 30 minutes post-exercise.

This means that if you are training 4 days a week and there’s a rest day between hard workouts, you probably don’t need a recovery drink and can achieve full replenishment through your normal diet.

Recovery drinks become far more important during multi-day events because glycogen stores are likely depleted every day, and you will be on the bike again in less than 24 hours.

Recovery begins on the bike, meaning we encourage riders to continue eating and drinking during the final 90 minutes on the bike. Some people mistakenly stop eating and drinking as the finish approaches. They can “smell the barn”, so to speak, and figure they don’t need more food or fluids to reach the end of the day. That may be true, but the food and fluids consumed in the final hour are important for recovery and setting up a successful tomorrow.

A big thing to remember during multi-day events is that your long day in the saddle today doesn’t give license to gorge on crappy junk food between stages. Yes, you burned a lot of calories, but you want to give your body good fuel it can use for recovery and replenishment. This means focusing on whole food sources of carbohydrate, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and limited desserts.

Get More Sleep

Multi-day events induce a higher level of muscle damage than a normal training week, and there are a lot of hormonal, neurological, and physical repairs that needs to be done for the body to recover. Much of this happens while we are sleeping.

Deep sleep is crucial to an athlete’s recovery because this is when human growth hormone is released, which stimulates muscle growth and repair. For optimal recovery, most athletes need between seven and ten hours of sleep a night.

It’s also imperative that you get quality sleep as disruption to deep sleep can hinder the release of human growth hormone and subsequently hinder your recovery. To help avoid interruptions to your sleep, try to sleep in a cooler environment (set your bedroom temperature between 65 degrees and 72 degrees Fahrenheit), limit your exposure to light (especially backlit screens) before going to sleep, eliminate as much light as possible during sleep, and avoid consuming alcohol before going to sleep.

We provide a variety of beverage and meal options and encourage riders to get plenty of sleep.

Ride, drink, eat, sleep and repeat! Enjoy.

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