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Ask Levi: How Can I Speed Recovery?

If you have sore legs but need them fresh for a race…

My legs have been really sore lately. For example, today during my team ride, my legs felt terrible. I was getting passed by 6 year olds. I didn’t feel tired at all and I wasn’t bonking, but my legs just wouldn’t work since they were so sore. There not injured just really sore. I have a race this weekend, and need the best legs possible. Any tips on quad/calve recovery?? I heard ice bath??????

Thanks,
Recovering Reggie

Hi Reggie,

This is a very easy question to answer, although you might not like what I have to say…

There is one simple thing you can do to speed your recovery – rest.

That’s the real key to recovery for sore muscles. They need rest so they can repair themselves after the strenuous training you have done preparing for the races.

This is the hardest concept to grasp for all recreational cyclists and new racers looking to improve fast. People train too much and rest too little!

But once you can convince yourself to try training less and resting more, you’ll realize it works!

Now, as far as ice baths, heat, massage, etc. go, they are all interesting ideas and they may make you feel good, but there’s no scientific evidence they do anything to speed recovery.

Such activities certainly have a place during a recovery period, of course, but don’t expect a miracle cure at the last minute. Even with fish oil and Omega-3 supplements which I have found to be awesome, it still takes time to reap the rewards.

What you need to focus on is living a low-stress lifestyle and eating a healthy diet, and making rest/recovery activities a part of each day.

Without that healthy lifestyle, recovery will be hampered. But no matter how healthy you are, there’s no substitute for rest.

Now, if rest alone isn’t good enough, I highly suggest reading this article which addresses specific recovery problems.

More articles you will probably enjoy:
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3 Comments
  1. HEY LEVI I RECENTLY START TO GO BACK TO ONE OF THE SPORT THAT I REALLY ENJOY RODE BIKE WHICH I STOP DOING IT FOR APPROXIMATELY 2 YEARS AND JUST RECENTLY START AGAIN AND IN THE FIRST TWO WEEKS I EXPERIENCE AN EXTREME MUSCLE SORENESS ON BOTH BACK LEGS IT WAS REALLY PAINFUL, SHOULD I GIVE A REST I M STILL DOING 30MIN A DAY AND FEEL SOME HOW THE PAIN IS ALMOST GONE BUT SHOULD I GIVE ENOUGH REST TO START AGAIN ? HOW MANY DAYS ?.. THANKS LEVI

  2. @melen

    Sounds like you have sore hamstrings. As long as you don’t have a sharp pain and tightness like a pulled or torn muscle, you should be alright to do 30 minutes of easy riding. That could even make your legs feel better faster.

    But to be safe, if you feel like taking a day off, it wouldn’t hurt to do so. After taking two years off cycling, you don’t want to be forced off the bike again due to injury!

  3. Rest. It does a body good!

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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