Fit Recovery

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Daily Archives: November 12, 2012

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Rest Or Active Recovery? Fitness Vs. Performance

I had a tough weekend.  My mileage wasn’t anything special, only 34 miles between a run, an active recovery ride and two mountain bike trail rides yesterday…  The trick was that they were intense efforts with the exception of the recovery ride with Mrs. BgddyJim after my run on Saturday.  Since I was introduced to active recovery – late in the season last season, I’ve tried to use it wisely even if I do have a tendency to overdo it from time to time.  I started to do some research on the topic and as I was reading I realized something…  I’m a bit of a different animal – I don’t worry about performance as much as I do about maintaining the ability to ride as often as possible.  In other words, I’m not fast enough to really compete in an Olympic Triathlon even though I’m in more than adequate shape to complete one.  When I go out mountain biking, I’m not trying to pass as many people as I can, I’m not training for a race, I’m just out for a good time with the fellas burning off a bunch of calories and trying to get as much air as possible between my tires and the ground – and I want to be prepared to do it again tomorrow (even if I won’t be).

There is a difference.  If I’m competing, even on a 10k run, seconds matter.  If I’m just going out with the guys to ride around the trails real fast, seconds don’t matter a bit.  In short, because I like to be active in one form or another every day, it’s more about getting me prepared for the next day than the next race and I don’t have to worry about being in peak condition on the day of a race.

I began thinking about the difference because I actually like active recovery.  It makes me feel worlds better and three times faster than just taking a day off.  Unfortunately there’s a study out there that shows sitting on the couch for a day off is actually slightly better – at least if you’re a female Scandinavian Elite Soccer Player.  I agree more with this line of thought“I was asked once on a forum whether active recovery was better than passive recovery which is what led to this article.  I told the person basically this which sums up this piece “Done properly, active recovery is better than passive recovery under most circumstances.  But if you can’t do active recovery right, passive recovery is better.

My spin on this is that I just want to get out and ride one of my bikes on a daily basis – as long as I’m good for my club ride every other Tuesday it’s all good.  I’ve found, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a few things over the past year:

1.  I’m only good for 12-14 days in a row before I need a real day off.

2.  Speaking only for cycling, active recovery rides (one or two each week) work – except for rule #1

3.  Concerning running, there is nothing better (IMHO) for recovery than a nice, easy bike ride after the run.  I should have been sore for two days easy after my run on Saturday, but I was loose as a goose and ready to rock come Sunday morning – because I did the active recovery correctly.  I went s-l-o-w, with an 80-90 cadence and pedaled easy the whole time.  I just enjoyed a nice half an hour riding with my wife.  I was indeed sore Saturday night and felt a little gimpy, but I woke up Sunday morning refreshed bouncy – without relying on Aleve or Tylenol.

4.  With passive rest I never ever feel better the next day…  It takes two before all of the pain stiffness will subside.

5.  Concerning running again, an active recovery ride works much better for me the sooner I ride after running.  Even a good hard ride works better than just driving home and taking a nap, but an easy spin will have me right as rain by the next day.

So, after mountain biking yesterday and running hard on Saturday, I am feeling quite wiped out today.  I am as tired as I’ve been all season, but come 11 am, I guarantee you I’ll be on my trainer for an easy half hour to get everything loosened up again.  Though I won’t be preparing for anything tomorrow – I’ll feel a lot better for having done it.

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New Recipe – Hot Ham & Pineapple Sammich

My brother-in-law used to work at a certain sub shop – so he knew how they make one of their most famous subs…and he passed the secret on to us – now I’m going to share it with you.

Here’s the list of ingredients, but don’t go by their description of how to cook it (it’s all wrong).

Put your cut up ham and some butter in a large frying pan.  Fry up the ham, allowing it to brown up a bit.  Then add your pineapple and a goodly bit of the juice (we use fresh pineapple rather than the canned stuff).  Allow that to simmer and the pineapple juice to cook down (this step is the key to an awesome sub).  Then top it with your favorite cheese (we use colby-jack) and allow that to melt…  Then scoop onto a sub bun.

I like to dash the bun with a little bit of mayo and some Big John’s Steak-n-Onion red sauce.  There’s nothing better after a day on the bike than a couple of these bad boys.

If you don’t have a local Big John’s and can’t find the sauce, I found this recipe (though I can’t vouch for its veracity).

christostriathlon1

By Ian Murray

Before you put one more ounce of effort into creating propulsion in your swim with hard kicking, a dramatic catch or a stronger pull, invest yourself entirely in reducing drag. You’ll get more speed with less effort.

The greatest technique challenge that new swimmers have to overcome is body drag. Body drag occurs when the top parts of the body (head, lead arm, shoulders) are positioned high in the water, and the hips and feet are progressively deeper. In this “swimming uphill” position, there is drag at the chest, stomach, hips, thighs, knees, shins and feet. Water is so thick that elite swimmers shave their entire bodies to reduce the drag generated by tiny hairs, so imagine the resistance created by the whole body plowing through the water.

To solve this critical issue, it helps to understand that the body functions in the water like a seesaw…

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The Definition Of A Fit Recovery Weekend

Today’s plans didn’t go quite as as expected. My buddy Tim and I were supposed to do a 14 mile mountain bike loop at Island Lake, down in Brighton.

Instead, our buddy Pete went with us and instead of 14 miles at Island Lake, we decided to do a technical 10 miles in Novi followed by the 14 in Brighton – the two tracks are only 10 miles apart. We did Novi first and it was tough! We rode out a$$es off and only managed 8.3 mph.

We then packed up the truck and headed over to Island Lake where we absolutely tore it up. We were averaging about 13 mph, with one mile at 15 before Tim bonked between miles 10&11 and we slowed it down considerably.

I started riding much more difficult tracks over the last couple of months and it really paid big on the 14 mile, easier loop today.

A hard 10k yesterday followed by a 24 mile hammer-fest on the trails today – all in 60 degree, sunny weather. What a treat. Alas, in Michigan – and especially in November, a nice stretch like this doesn’t last very long. The temperature has already started to drop and we’ll be back to gloomy and cold tomorrow.

If that wasn’t awesome enough, the misses and I had a double date night weekend – a cuddled up movie on Friday night and a concert last night (my ears are still ringing – note to self, ear plugs next time, you’re too old for that sh!t). I can tell you right now – I’ll be sleeping well tonight, I’m wiped out, and that’s how I like it.