Think back to your last hard training session and all of that sweat and effort. You want those sessions to really count, right? What you do immediately after such rides matters a lot. If you can avoid the following five bad habits, you will get the most out of your training sessions.
Staying in wet clothing
If you train in cold weather, then staying in sweaty wet gear after you finish can make your core temperature drop quickly. Change into something dry and minimize the risk of getting sick. Wet clothing can be harsh on your skin even in warmer weather, so get in the habit of changing quickly after each ride. If you finish your ride at your car, make sure to have a towel and a change of clothes ready.
Not drinking enough
Another key thing that you should always keep in mind is to hydrate when you finish a ride. This applies even if you drink on the bike. Every training session dehydrates your body to some degree even if your hydration is spot-on. So, when you get back from your ride, make sure to keep drinking. You don’t need to go crazy after a short ride in a temperate climate, but drink the appropriate amount.
This might be the most common bad habit. A lot of cyclists think that every training session is a good reason to eat a huge amount of food. That’s rarely the case. You certainly don’t need any special recovery food or double portions for short or light training sessions. And even really hard sessions don’t necessitate overeating. If you have a hard session in two consecutive days or even two in one day, then aim for 30-90 g of carbohydrates and 10-30 g of protein in a recovery drink. You can continue with your regular diet after that. It’s important not to associate overeating or junk food with hard training sessions. Not only is it not necessary from a caloric point of view it can even be a problem for maintaining healthy weight.
This might not be the most common, but it’s certainly the strongest bad habit of those cyclists that love to finish a training session with a beer. Beer will not do you that much harm if you drink it occasionally to celebrate a race or during a casual summer cycling trip. If you drink alcohol after a purposeful training session, however, you’re making it harder for yourself to rehydrate and there are no benefits to recovery. Stick with water or recovery drinks if you want to maximize the training effect.
Sitting a lot
It’s natural to want some rest after a hard ride, but if you spend the rest of the day on the couch watching TV or in a car driving, you’re sure to feel really stiff and lethargic. Try to avoid the opposite too. Don’t plan another hard activity on the same day that would hinder sport-specific recovery. The best thing to do is some light activity throughout the rest of the day. Walking, doing light chores around the house, or some light cross training are good options.