A Guy (snicker) on the OBB ride today mentioned he saw my name in the Q&A section - i sent this question in a few months ago, and they responded by email, but i didn't expect it to be posted on their website, so for your information:
Commuting & recovery ridesKnowing full-well the benefits of recovery rides, I'm curious to know if there's any evidence that several shorter rides can be as beneficial as one longer ride?
My daily life has me commuting short distances (about 15-20 minutes) several times most days, and I'm wondering if it's possible these can serve as recovery rides, assuming I keep the pace nice and easy. If I log 45-90 minutes in a day with these short rides, would they equal (or come close) to 45-90 minutes of recovery riding, or should I get out and do a 'regular' recovery ride on top of this (on the days I ought to do a RR, of course)?
Thanks for any input,
Victoria, BC Canada
Scott Saifer replies:
Great question. The purposes of a recovery ride include dilating blood vessels so that blood can flow into muscles to provide nutrients and carry away wastes, and also to stretch the muscles through their normal range of motion. Both of those are well accomplished by a 20-minute ride.
A 20-minute ride does not do much to enhance competitive fitness since you are essentially training to warm up repeatedly rather than training the energy systems that are used when you are already warmed up. For instance, by 20 minutes into a ride, your body is just beginning to mobilise fat for use as a fuel so a series of 20 minute rides won't train fat metabolism like a longer ride. For recovery though, little doses of riding will work.