Let’s Talk About the Recovery Ride

We want to hear what you have to say about the Recovery Ride.  As with each of our “Let’s Talk” posts, this one will be built up by you and your comments.

Tell us your thoughts on the Recovery Ride and what you have to suggest to other riders.  Maybe you have some questions about how to best fit a recovery ride into your cycling schedule, so post that in the comments as well so it can be addresses.

Watch this quick video to get you going, or jump on down to the comments section and give us all you’ve got on the subject of Recovery Rides.


  • Martin Poynter

    I have been getting in a recovery ride every week, usually the day after my long Saturday rides. No more than 25% of the distance of my long ride, at an easy pace using my perceived rate of effort.

  • ladyfleur

    My tips for type-A riders who have trouble with keeping a chill pace on a recovery ride:
    (1) ride with a friend or spouse who is slower and ride their pace
    (2) ride a different route than you do when you train so you don’t go into auto mode and ride hard
    (3) ride a different bike that you don’t associate with racing, like that old mountain bike
    (4) don’t wear your kit, wear baggie shorts and a t-shirt or something casual
    (5) check your ego in the garage–confident riders don’t chase down Freds that pass them.

    Here’s my idea of a perfect recovery ride. http://ladyfleur.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/bike-commute-diaries-post-ride-recovery/

  • Charles

    I am uncomfortable with the term recovery ride or run. Ideally it is to help get rid of sorness after a big event or hard ride. I get that but not for everyday training. I think it is an exscuse to go easy and not try to match some numbers like a 20 mph avg today. Also if your training is consistant you will not be so sore after a run or ride that you need a few days and easy runs to come back.That means you are not training enough and pushing too hard when you do. I like base heart rate zone 2 training over recovery and almost the same thing but one is a training aid the other is not.

    • Vitaly Gashpar

      And the fact that professional racers do them as part of their routine means they are not training hard enough? Training hard is important, but it’s also important to train smart. One can train the way you describe, and that will make a rider stronger. However, learning to intelligently recover, will allow the body to work at much higher intensities and get to that level of fitness much faster, with less risk of overtraining.

      • Charles

        Thanks for making my point. Glad we agree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenniferannehilton Jennifer Hilton

    Love the shirt ! IRIE Is the rastafarian word that has been absorbed into the Jamaican dialect of patois and it means you are feeling good, feeling happy! Love Jamaica, love that jersey! :-)

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Yes, Jennifer….I may be white on the outside, but inside there is a rasta man trapped deep inside my soul.

  • http://twitter.com/BikeInjury Chicago Bike Injury

    The recovery ride is an important part of developing into a stronger cyclist with better performance. There are varying thoughts on what works best but I’ve always found that a 45 minute ride at 65% of my regular performance is best following a couple tough rides.

  • Karen

    I liked the video, Darryl you are so cute. I haven’t yet focused on a recovery ride but I’m wanting to learn more about it and what works best. I’d appreciate any advice you have for me on this topic.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      I usually stay out of the conversations of our “let’s talk” posts so that our readers can build things up without me….but I just had to say thanks for the cute comment. Hahahahaha. Thanks Karen.

  • http://mghollis.blogspot.com/ Melinda

    I find this a very interesting topic, seeing how I’m not nearly fast enough yet to have a recovery ride. :D I’m getting there though.

  • Greg

    I sound a little like you. I plan on getting a recovery ride in every so often but then find that as the ride goes along I start going faster and pushing harder again. I’m looking for some good information on this topic from the comments posted by people.

  • Eric

    I don’t have a set schedule but will work a recovery ride in when I feel I need it. A typical recovery ride for me is 15 miles at a pace that I don’t feel is pushing it very hard. I don’t have a power meter but would say that these rides are 70% of a regular ride.

  • Vitaly Gashpar

    For a ride to be a true recovery ride, it has to be less than an hour long. Really, 40 minutes. You start going over that, and your recovery ride starts transitioning into an endurance ride and you’re not getting the benefits of recovery. I do a recovery every single week. Usually on Mondays after a weekend of racing. I go as slowly as I possibly can, trying to keep my HR in zone 1. Mine are about 40 minutes long.

    One of the reasons many struggle with recovery is because we are so used to strenuous exercise, that our brain thinks we’re wasting time if we are going easy. The best way for me to overcome this was to actually see what recovery does to my fatigue levels. If you ride with power and track your workouts in Training Peaks or Golden Cheetah, you can see how a recovery ride reduces your short-term fatigue and gets you ready for more hard training to follow. I think getting a visual will help you realize that by going slow, you’re actually making yourself faster.

    • JD

      This is a very good comment. I agree that recovery rides should be under one hour and that it can often be a struggle to stay at a slower pace.

  • Matt in Orlando

    About every three weeks is my honest answer. I “force” myself to join a C group (15 – 18 mph) or a charity group “training ride” and use it as a time to help out new cyclist and work on spinning. Working to achieve a higher cadence has paid off for when I am joining the faster groups – knowing I can hit the 120+ RPM when I need it can be a big help and that little burst of acceleration is awesome on a hill. So these recovery rides are slower in speed but I average a higher cadence. Although I have to be honest, doing the same 50 mile route in 3 1/2 hours verses the normal 2 1/4 hours – that is a lesson in patience!

  • Nick

    I typically work in a recovery ride every couple weeks. They are 70% of the power I put out on my other rides and approximately 20 miles.