Megan Jastrab: Post-training Recovery Routine

 

Recovery is a crucial concept and skill that cyclists can learn to help progress their careers. Recovery is sometimes placed at the same level of importance as training on the bike. While training on the bike is clearly written by a coach, recovery after a training session is left in the hands of the athlete. Some days, a recovery ride or full rest day is on the schedule, but what about the recovery that can happen right after a training session to prepare for the next session? After races, you see soigneurs waiting for the riders at the race’s finish. The soigneurs are a crucial component of any cycling team’s success because they ensure the riders have everything they need to recover to the best of their ability before the next race. They provide post-race protein shakes, warm clothing for the riders before returning to the bus, post-race meals, massages, etc. The things I mentioned above all aid in the recovery process and are great to help you become ready for the next race day. 

 

 

When I am not racing and only focused on training, my recovery routine after a training session is straightforward and basic. I thought it would be nice to share what it looks like for me, though. Recovery after training varies a bit depending on the session for the day, but I will go through a routine that I aim to complete to help prepare for the next session and get the most out of the session I just finished.

The first thing is nutritional needs after a ride. I normally eat a reasonable amount of food on the bike so I am not starving when I return from my rides (eating enough during the ride might be the most important thing to help with recovery for the next session). If the ride is more than a short or easy ride, I usually have a recovery/protein shake directly after returning. I will either mix the protein powder with water or milk (usually, it depends on whether I have milk in the fridge). If it is in the summer, I typically make a protein smoothie bowl and sit outside in the sun after my ride for a few minutes. I add protein powder, frozen mango, cocoa powder, and almond milk to the smoothie bowl. Some days, I’ll add spinach and some lemon juice, depending on what I have in the fridge again. I like to add granola, honey, and a banana for toppings. You can freeze and blend the banana, but I like it more as a topping. 

 

 

Once I have had a bit of “quick” nutrition, I head directly to the shower and change. I want to get out of my kit as soon as possible to start the recovery process in a relaxed state. Afterward, I try to stretch for around 10 minutes because the muscles are still warm, which makes it easier. It is important to work on flexibility as a cyclist for injury prevention and to avoid becoming stiff.

Next, I make a proper meal with a reasonable amount of carbohydrates. Restocking your body with carbohydrates shortly after training is crucial for proper recovery (especially for female cyclists!). After eating, I normally use something like NormaTecs for 20- 30 minutes, upload my ride, enter my post-ride comment for my coach, and try to sneak a short power nap, depending on the time of day. I will sometimes foam roll for a bit, depending on how my body feels.

From there, I usually go about my day and complete whatever else I have on the schedule. I make sure I am hydrating, not spending a ton of time on my feet, have a good dinner planned, make sure my bike is prepped for the next day so training doesn’t get delayed and, lastly, go to sleep at a reasonable hour to get enough rest. 

I know it is a luxury for a professional cyclist not to have to worry about work and spend energy on things other than riding and recovery, but a small 30-minute “recovery” routine after training can help increase fitness and prevent injuries.

I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about what it looks like for me after my training rides and that you can get a bit of inspiration for things to do after your next ride. Stay safe and enjoy riding! 

Thanks for reading, 

Megan

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