For me, the training has always felt almost second nature. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard work. It makes sense, though. The harder I work, the faster I will get. The sensations I feel in training will often transfer to the race. It feels pretty simple to focus up, and put everything I have into a workout. Since I was nine years old, I feel like this has been my mentality. Working hard was easy.
If you only focus on the hard work though, you’re leaving speed on the table. You can wring yourself dry and turn yourself inside out every workout and still have improvements left unachieved. I’ve learned overtime, that the work you put in to prepare and recovery from your training is just as important as the training itself.
Here are a few tools that have helped me with my pre and post ride routine:
Nowadays there are all kinds of percussion massage devices ranging from small in size to larger and more powerful. This has allowed me to make a Theragun a go-to tool in my routine because I can take it with me anywhere I go.
While most people like to use the Theragun after workouts, I actually love using it before. I like using the percussion massage before my workouts because I feel like the increase in blood flow and relaxation of the muscles actually makes it easier for me to warm up. If I ever start to experience small aches and pains during hard training blocks, one of the best things I can do is warm up a little longer to allow the muscles to relax. The Theragun percussion massage has taken away some of those early moments in rides when it feels like my muscles are pulling on my tendons and bones.
If you prefer to use Theragun after your rides, then check out the study on their website. Theragun boasts a study that indicated that using a Theragun before bed can help improve sleep performance.
When though they are a little harder to travel with, I’ve taken my Normatec Boots with me all over the World. Normatec boots have been shown to increase circulation which can in turn increase recovery.
For me, the additional benefit of the Normatec boots that is often overlooked in that they force me to rest. After a ride or in the evenings I’m often tempted to walk around the house completing this job or that job or even pace back and forth as I finish up work calls for the day. Normatec boots are the perfect way to force myself to sit down and to signal to my brain that it’s time to recover. I think slipping on the Normatec boots is the perfect way to activate my parasympathetic nervous system.
While the Theragun and Normatec boots can cause a pretty penny, a foam roller is a pretty inexpensive recovery modality. Once again, helping to increase blood flow and circulation, the foam roller can be used both before or after workouts and I do both.
Since I’m not a big fan of static stretching before workouts, a foam roller is a go-to if I’m experiencing some tightness that I need resolves stat before a workout. The foam roller has been the tool that I have used the most to maintain my mobility over the years. As someone who has always been flexible or even classified as hyper-mobile there have been times when I’ve neglected stretching because touching my toes has never been much of a challenge.
Busting out the foam roller is always a good barometer though, because it immediately points out the areas that need some extra TLC. Keep in mind when using a foam roller that you don’t just want to roll back and forth. You only want to move an inch or two at a time and pause when you feel a tense area.
Remember that improvement comes from all angles. If you’re willing to push yourself to the max out on your bike, you should be willing to find the time to recover as well. If you’re interested in explore any of the above recovery modalities, you can check them out on The Feed’s website.
Hannah Otto (Finchamp)