Workout Wednesday - Recovery Ride

Recovery workouts, or easy workouts, are often referred to as junk miles.  Then, of course, there comes along programs that eliminate the "junk."  That sounds good in theory, but I'm not a big believer in those programs.  They have people that get good results with them, but I'm skeptical of programs like 'run less, run better.'  It's good marketing, though.  I'll give them that much.

I think those programs work for people who never had intensity in their program, but for everyone else I think you need your hard workouts and your 'junk' miles.  I'm a big believe in volume.  Just look at American long distance running.  For years our elite athletes tried programs that focused on less volume and we fell off the map.  Now, they're all going old school and running 100+ miles per week and starting to become competitive again.

With that said, I say don't make your 'junk' miles worthless.  Don't make them junk.  Keep them easy so you're recovered enough for your hard workout, but this is the perfect time to work on form.  When running easy, I focus on good form, landing on the balls of my feet and I count my cadence to make sure my turnover is high.  Swimming is all about form as well, and my easy workouts typically have more drills than the others.

Below is what I'm currently doing on the trainer for my recovery rides, which is easy but I try to make it beneficial so it's not 'junk.'  When I start doing these outdoors, I'll try to do something similar although I sometimes just go for an easy ride with friends and enjoy the weather (I don't think those would qualify as 'junk' miles either).

Recovery Ride 1:15 roughly 20 miles

Warm up (15 minutes)
7 minutes easy (80-110 watts)
6x:30 (big ring - 180ish watts/small ring 80ish watts - just to get loosened up)
5 minutes easy

10 x 1:00 one-legged drills (alternate legs - one minute each leg)

Main Set
35 minutes 140-160 watts (95+ cadence)

10 x 1:00 one-legged drills (alternate legs - one minute each leg)

Cool Down
5 minutes easy

The one-legged drills can be tough, but they won't kill your hard workout and they help smooth out your pedal stroke.  I like to keep my cadence really high during the main set to get used to spinning fast.  Training for triathlons it seems like I do a lot of time trial type of workouts (even my long rides tend to be like this) and my cadence is usually around 85 so it feels good to mix it up and train my leg muscles differently.  I think it makes you a more well-rounded cyclist.

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