7 Most Common Training Mistakes

Making and implementing a good training plan is great, and making sure that you have well balanced, specific training for you and your goals is key to getting the most out of your body. Improving your training plan and trying to implement those changes is good, but sometimes fixing problems in your routine will allow for more progress than slight improvements in what you already do well. If you are doing something that is hurting your training or not doing something that you really need to be doing, then if you fix those errors, that can make more of a positive impact on your results than tweaking your favorite workout.

Here are 7 of the most common training mistakes that I have made over the years or have seen other athletes make. If you are doing any of these in some form or another, I would definitely recommend looking at what you’re doing, and look for ways to adjust as you move forward. I am sure that your results will get better if you fix any of these common mistakes. If you can make your training just 2% better, compounded over time this can result in big gains over time.

  • Training too hard, too often. One of the most common problems with athlete’s training is that they train too hard too often, and try to make every training session a workout. Another common problem is that people do their intervals too hard. In both cases, it seems to be driven by a mentality that more is better… People try to shoot for the highest power they can manage for their endurance rides or the highest power that they can do during their intervals. Higher numbers aren’t always better. Usually what you want is more of the specific stress that you’re trying to create, which may mean power power at times, but sometimes it means more time at the desired intensity and not doing the most power possible.  And, you want to keep your overall training stress in balance, keeping your training within the bounds of what your body can reasonably and effectively adapt to in a reasonable time period.
    • Training hard every day because you feel halfway decent will only ensure that you’re always kind-of-training, and always kind-of-recovering, and never doing either one very well. You will never be working out as hard as you can or recovering as fully as you can. If you just took all of the harder efforts you’re doing and just dump them all into just 2 or 3 workouts, and then do easy sessions on the other days, then your training will automatically get better. You’ll have more substantial and specific training stress and more effective recovery. Even better, dump all of one type of intensity into just 1 or 2 days, and keep each day focused on just 1 or 2 things. A common mistake that people make is that they do a few random efforts on every ride or almost every ride. They’ll do a few town-line sprints, hammer over a couple of short hills at their VO2 max, and do one or two longer climbing efforts at a low threshold pace that finishes with an above threshold kick at the end. Every day they’re doing enough that they’re getting tired, but they are never creating a large, specific stress that will significantly boost one or two of the body’s systems that will make them better.
    • More power isn’t always better, and often isn’t. Rather, it’s usually good to efficiently get in the desired intensity. If you have the capacity to do more and to recover from it, then you can and often should do more volume at the desired intensity, but not increase the intensity. Sometimes you do want to go out and do the workout as hard as you can, usually as you are trying to build for peak fitness in the middle of the season, but not every week throughout the year.
    • People often do more than they should by running on the assumption that more is better. More is often better, as long as it’s within certain bounds. More riding is better, as long as you can do it and still get stronger and feel fresh week after week. More hard workouts are good for building peak fitness, but only if you can recover well. Almost always it’s a matter of making sure that your training is effective and that your recovery is at least equal to your training stress.
  • Training too easy. There are two common ways that I see this happen. On the one hand, people don’t do their hard workouts either hard enough or they don’t do enough hard work within those workouts (e.g. they do 3 intervals instead of 4 or 5).
    • How hard and long you should go will always be subjective and specific to you, your goals, and your training history. And not all of your workouts should put you on the verge of tears. Most of them shouldn’t, but you definitely want to make sure that if you’re doing a hard workout that you have an idea in mind of what you’re trying to accomplish and that you try to create a substantial stress that will move your fitness in the desired direction once you recover from that workout. Pick one or two things to focus on and try to make those things very challenging for your workouts, then recover.
    • When you’re ready to do a hard workout, you should go out and do a hard workout. Often this problem of not going hard enough in workouts is because there isn’t enough recovery between workouts, so this ties in again with the first mistake of going too hard often. Ironically, many athletes can’t train hard enough, because they’re trying too hard, training hard every other session, and never recovering well enough to do properly hard workouts.
    • On the other hand, training too easily is a common feature of many athletes’ winter training. After all, you’re supposed to go easy during the winter, right? Any smart periodized training program will start with a lot of long slow distance in the winter and then ramp up later with higher and higher intensities in the spring and summer months, right? No, this is definitely not the case, and for many athletes, doing a lot of “LSD” (long slow distance) will be a waste of time and will allow their fitness to slide backwards during the winter if that’s most or all that they do.
  • Wasting time in training. All of the time, when I look at people’s rides on Strava or Training Peaks or I go riding with people, I see that many people miss out on huge amounts of training benefit by not making the most of their training time by not staying on task. This usually comes in two forms: excessive stopping and excessive noodling.
    • I see a lot of rides where people are out riding for 2 hours or 3 hours or 5 hours, but then I look at their total time out and it’s something like 3 hours, 4.5 hours, or 7 hours, and you can see that a full 1/4 of their total training time is lost. Where did all that time go? Some things are unavoidable… stopping for water, bathroom breaks, and of course, stopping at lights will always take up some of our training time, but when people stop for 10 minutes to get water, 20 minutes to get coffee, and often when people don’t know how to effectively ride as a group, they get spread out and have to wait up on climbs and descents. It’s really fun to go riding with a group of friends and it can help pass the time much more quickly when you’re training, but you also want to make sure that you don’t allow the fact that you’re riding with a group to add 30 or 40% more time to your ride.
    • Then, aside from stopping, it’s very common for people to lose a ton of training benefit from their riding by not keeping their power/effort up on descents and flats. People naturally push the climbs, often more than they realize and more than they should. Most people ease up on the flats, and barely pedal the downhills. If you live someplace hilly like the Bay Area, probably 30-40% of your riding time is spent climbing, maybe only half or less is done on flats and false-flats, and then maybe 15-20% is spent on descents. If you’re going down a fast, twisty descent, then you need to safely maneuver your way down the hill. Every descent is an opportunity to practice getting a better feel for your bike handling, even if you aren’t trying to rail the descent, you can still pay attention to reading the lines, to how you feel when you’re cornering, and how your bike is the most stable and responsive so that when you do want to rail a descent you are better prepared to do it, because you’ve been practicing. But aside from that, whenever you’re on a shallow descent that doesn’t have any sharp turns, or you’re on mostly flat ground, there’s no reason that you can’t keep the same power up that you did on the climbs. But, so often I see people pushing 30-50% more power on the climbs than they do on the flats and 30-50% less power on descents than they do on the flats.
  • Not training consistently enough… In the long run, no matter how much you train in a given week, if do your training on a consistent schedule of 4 or 5 days per week, then I’m sure that over time your fitness will be much better than if your training is very irregular with weeks where you train 6 days, others where you train 3 days, and others where you don’t train at all. If all you did to make your schedule more regular was to ride the trainer for 30 minutes on some of those days that you might otherwise take totally off, then I think that your long term development will be better by a significant margin. This is something that I’ve seen a number of times when my schedule has been very demanding and it’s hard to find time to train. Sometimes I wish I had the time to do a “real ride” on the road, but all I can do is get 30 or 40 minutes in on the trainer. In some cases, all I can do is 20 minutes before I shower and work, but doing that versus doing nothing at all makes a big difference. If you can signal to your body every day or nearly every day that it needs to be able to deliver and process oxygen to propel your body forward, then your body will develop that ability much better. Your body will always be looking to make itself more efficient and more fit for running or cycling or whatever it is.
  • Not recovering well, especially when it comes to recovery meals. A lot of people miss out on some of the benefits that their training can give them by not eating well right after training. Many people don’t eat as well as they could throughout the day to maximize recovery and minimize big swings in hormone and energy levels. Many people also don’t prioritize sleep enough by getting enough or by making sure that they have good sleep quality. At the end of the day, our bodies get fitter and stronger when they’re exposed to substantial stress and then they get a chance to recover. I have another article specifically on recovery that you could check out here.
  • Training randomly, without focus, or repetitively doing the same routine over and over without change. Good training will have a variety of intensities, but they will generally be balanced and progressive throughout the season or over the course of a few months as you build up a specific type of fitness. Doing random workouts that aren’t balanced or aren’t specific to your goals aren’t going to get you the results that you could if your training was a little more deliberate. Likewise, if your training is always exactly the same, then you will not progress much. You need to keep evolving, and in order to do that, your workouts need to evolve.
  • Not training specifically enough, or at all. Many people don’t train with enough specificity. It’s important to include a variety of training intensities in your training plan and focusing on just one thing is rarely a good idea.
    • Depending on what kind of events you’re doing or what your fitness goals are, most athletes will do well to have their training focused on a specific mix of workout types. Usually you want to have an idea of what the demands will be for your goal event(s) and then build your body up to meet those demands. I’ll often categorize events by how much endurance, threshold fitness, aerobic capacity/VO2 max, and anaerobic fitness they’ll require to do well.
    • Likewise, if you have certain attributes as an athlete, it’s good to take those into account and make your training specific to your body and training history as much as you can. Before jumping to any conclusions about your abilities and how you should train, it is good not to specialize early on in your development as an athlete. Many people start their athletic careers in a given sport and see their fitness developing in a certain way, and then extrapolate from that some sort of conclusion like “I’m a good sprinter but I can’t climb” or “I have great endurance, but I don’t have any high-end.” But in so many cases, the way that you train when you start training or the activities you’ve participated in before getting into a new sport have a big impact on how your fitness will be early on. If you’re just riding for the fun of it, or you are training for endurance events like bike tours or something where complete fitness won’t matter to you personally, then it’s fine to just focus on endurance and aerobic fitness, for example. But, if you’re a bike racer, runner, or triathlete then you really want to develop as a complete athlete as much as possible for at least the first few years before you specialize in any specific area.
    • And, along with this, most athletes will see that their fitness change over time, as well as the training required to get better. Even though you may continue to do similar training from year to year, it’s good to look for ways to make small adjustments to your training to get more out of it year after year. Early on, doing 4×3 minutes might be a great workout, but later you may do 4×5 minutes or 7×3 minutes. But, you always have to make sure the workouts are geared towards your training goals, and not just do them because other people do them or because it was relevant to your old training goals in past years.
Advertisements

Analyze Your Training and Performance to Improve Future Training

During the off season or periodically throughout your training, it’s good to look at your fitness and your performances over time. Tracking your performance over time can help inform your training decisions in the future and help you to become a better athlete. If you know how your training has allowed you to improve your fitness in certain areas, then you can look to keep using strategies that work for you. Or if there are certain areas of your fitness that have not developed, and if those aspects of your fitness matter to you, then you can look for ways to change your training so that you can get more out of your body. Of course, we always have to strike a balance, because we all have a finite ability to recover from training. But with the right priorities and an understanding of what training works for us, we can make better training choices.

Analyzing your training or your fitness at any given point in time or over time can be daunting, or even confusing, because there are potentially a lot of different things that you could take into account. Don’t overthink it. Usually a few basic things can give you a lot of insight. Usually, I would recommend starting with the following:

  • Become familiar with your peak power curve and how much power you can produce for any given length of time
  • See what your power profile is like, or in other words, see how your power stacks up against other riders for various durations of time
  • Look at how your power has changed over time from year to year
  • Look at the training that led up to any times that you set peak power
  • If you don’t have a power meter, then look at your PRs on some key climbs near you that you ride hard on a regular basis
  • Look at how your power or your climbing times stack up towards the end of your rides to how your power or climbing times are when you are fresh
  • Look for strategies that worked for you in reaching peak fitness or leading into successful racing experiences and try to continue to use those in the future
  • Look for times when you didn’t have good fitness or didn’t perform well at races, try to identify if your lack of performance was unavoidable because you got sick, busy at work, or otherwise disrupted by something out of your control, or if you had some control over the contributing factors. If you have any choice or control over things, look for how you could make better training choices in the future.

Always try to learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Always be learning and trying to streamline the process, so that you can get more out of your body and out of your schedule.

Recover Better, Perform Better

As athletes, most of us spend a lot of time thinking about our workouts and planning our training. This is important, because the training you do determines the fitness you have. Aside from the workouts, any good training plan also schedules in an appropriate amount of time for recovery. Workouts create stress and with recovery, your body adapts and gets better over time. Ultimately we need the right of stresses in the right amounts paired with sufficient recovery in order to get fitter and to perform our best given our constraints.

Workouts can be complicated. How long? How intense? How many intervals? How long are the intervals? How long is the recovery? Should I use power, HR, or perceived effort? We have to decide what day to do each workout… Sprints on Tuesday or Thursday? Threshold climbing on Wednesday or Saturday? Etc. etc.

But at least recovery is easier to plan. If you have enough time, then you recover well, right? If you give yourself a few days between hard workouts, then you should be good, right? Gifted athletes recover faster and more effectively than other “normal” people, right? No, not really.

Yes, there are a lot more variables that determine what our training is like than our recovery, so it’s appropriate that we spend more time thinking about it. But, if we don’t spend at least some time to plan and enhance our recovery, then we won’t be getting the most out of our training. Because recovery is so important and determines our progress as athletes, many people emphasize it in their discussions of training and prioritize it in their schedule. But, by just scheduling off and easy days into a training plan or by having stringent guidelines to determine how easy those easy days should be, I would argue that a lot of people miss the point. Saying that you should take a certain number of days to recover from a hard workout, or that you should ride around at some low power or HR number for a specified amount of time on your rest days isn’t addressing the whole issue. Not by a long shot. It’s almost like saying “you should do a VO2 max workout,” without saying what it should be. 4x4m? 8x4m? 3 sets of 8×30/30?

Is that kind of planning going to help you recover better and make you fitter? Maybe up to a point, but we should be asking: What is the best strategy for effective recovery? And, what’s the best strategy for recovering from specific types of workouts? And for specific athletes? Just taking easy days isn’t enough.

Over the last 20 years as an  endurance athlete, I’ve tried a number of different approaches to good recovery. My strategies have evolved, I’ve experimented with different approaches, and I’ve come across a lot of different pieces of information that have helped inform my views on recovery and my strategies for enhancing recovery and improving performance. I tried to see if I could boil it down to a set of principles, so that I could concisely describe the core of what goes into effective recovery….

What I want to put here is a somewhat comprehensive, but very concise guide to good recovery. No doubt there are things that will work better for some people than others, or there may be other things that you could pay attention to than these, but most of what I think about when considering recovery comes down to the following things:

Time: Yes, time is a key aspect of all kinds of recovery, perhaps the most important one. Your body needs time to break down damaged proteins, build up new ones, reset your hormones, rebuild glycogen, rehydrate, establish normal electrolyte levels, and so on. As your body returns to a homeostatic state or establishes a new one, the processes involved take time, so you have to allow that to happen. But, of course, you can make this happen more quickly or slowly and you can help determine how fully this occurs.

Quality: Aside from the time component, you also need to pay attention to the quality of your recovery, which is where we have room to explore and improve. A day of recovery will always take the same amount of time, but what we do with our bodies will determine what happens during that time….

Sleep: You need sleep, and if you’re training hard or under a lot of stress, then you need plenty of it. Most people don’t get enough, and there are studies with athletes showing that getting even 10-plus hours per night can be performance enhancing. So, at the very least, try to get as much as you reasonably can. Make it a priority to get enough sleep.

Enhance your recovery with some of the following…

Get quality sleep.

  • Sleep at the same time every day, it helps keep your circadian rhythms functioning well and enhances the hormonal changes that occur throughout the day as a result (primarily melatonin, growth hormone, and cortisol).
  • Avoid bright or blue lights in the last 1-2h before bed. Bright or blue lights reduce the melatonin in your body and disrupt sleep. Turn down your lights, avoid bright lights facing you in the bathroom. Install an app like f.lux on your computer to filter out blue light. Install an app like twilight on your phone or tablet to do the same. Blue light in LCD screens disrupts sleep. Using devices that keep our brains very active also does, so consider shutting things down in the last 30-60m before sleeping. You don’t necessarily have to avoid all devices, but just avoid emails or random browsing late at night. Read some fiction or something that isn’t going to stimulate your brain into action or heavy analysis.
  • Keep your sleeping area cool. Warm environments aren’t ideal for sleep.
  • Keep light and sound pollution to a minimum. Consider getting dark curtains to keep the street lights out and dampen any outside noises. Put up some extra sound dampening materials if noise is an issue (extra curtains, upholstered furniture, acoustic foam, anything).
  • Don’t drink too much before bed. Waking up to go to the bathroom isn’t a major problem, but doing it multiple times every night is better to be avoided if possible.
  • Consider a small snack of fat and protein an hour before bed. The protein can help drive protein synthesis as your body rests and while growth hormone levels are at their highest throughout the day (i.e. in the few hours after you fall asleep). The fat can help some people normalize blood sugar levels. For example, a scoop of almond butter, a couple of eggs, or a small protein shake.
  • Avoid taking in much carbohydrate in the last 1-2h before bed, especially quickly digested carbs. Carbohydrates drive insulin production, which blunts growth hormone production. Ideally, 2-3h before bed is your last normal meal. A small snack of protein and fat can be okay, but even with protein, large amounts drive up insulin production, so keep it modest. For example, some options could be some nuts, a couple of eggs, or a small scoop of protein powder, frozen berries, and some almond milk.
  • Keep a routine so that you do mostly the same thing every night. This can condition your body to be trained to sleep when you do the same activities daily.
  • After you wake up, reinforce your daily circadian rhythms by exposing yourself to a lot of bright light. Get outside or make sure that you’re in a very well-lit environment. Even get a light therapy device. This can help reinforce your sleeping and waking schedule, but also help with depression and SAD (seasonal-affective disorder). I find it very useful in the winter when the days are shorter and the weather is often overcast and it doesn’t get very light until the late morning or mid-day.
  • Wake up at the same time every day, including the weekends. This is another core feature of good sleep hygiene, and one that’s often overlooked. Some people wake up early some days to get to work or get in their training, but then other days they sleep in, maybe on the weekends. In principle, this isn’t a bad thing, but ideally your sleep quality and recovery will be better if you can plan to get enough sleep and always at about the same time every day. The more you do this, the less you’ll need an alarm to help you wake up.
  • If you need an alarm, then consider getting a light alarm. I’ve found that they work well, and again, they help reinforce your daily hormonal rhythms. Or, there are good activity trackers that can wake you up within a desired window of time when you are not in deep sleep. Generally, waking up from deep sleep leaves you feeling groggy at first. Of course, trackers like this can also track your HR throughout the day and while you sleep, among other things. Personally, I’ve never consistently tracked my resting HR, but having a device like this has made it easy for me to both track my true resting and average HR while I sleep as well as help me wake up consistently and feel less groggy… And, just like having a GPS computer to track your activities, having a sleep tracker can tell you more accurately how much sleep you’re actually getting. Many people overestimate how much sleep and how much training time they’re actually getting, so accurate tracking is always helpful.
  • Of course, everyone is different, but I’ve found all of the above strategies to be very helpful for improving my sleep quality and recovery as a result.

Stress reduction:

  • Stress is defined in physiology as something that causes the release of cortisol. This can be anything from strenuous exercise to loss of sleep to mental/emotional stress. They all have the same impact on your cortisol levels (they go up). Constantly elevated cortisol levels will have a detrimental impact on recovery, whether you’re stressed from training or from mental/emotional stress. Cortisol generally has a unduly bad reputation because it is synonymous with stress, but it keeps us alive and is as crucial to our performance as it can be detrimental if we do too much to drive it up. When we train it helps us to perform, but when we recover, we don’t want it to keep going up or stay elevated, so being stressed out about work, school, or family life isn’t great. I think we all know this from a mental health standpoint, so without any consideration for athletic performance, we should try to limit our stresses, but keep in mind that it has a big impact on our recovery and long term athletic progress, too.
  • Limit your physical activity away from training. Generally, it’s good to move around, and you can keep doing that throughout the day, every day. But, do try to avoid extended periods of additional activity if you’re tired from training and trying to recover. For example, a 20m walk with your dog will be great, but a 2 hour hike isn’t going to help you recover.
  • Limit long periods of no movement. Except for when you’re sleeping, try not to stay seated or standing for hours on end if you can help it. If you work at a desk, then get up and move around every so often. If you’re on your feet a lot, then try to take a break here and there to sit down and give your legs a break. I’ve had years of experience working in a retail environment where I would be standing for 30-40 hours per week after most of my training rides. You can still perform at a high level like that, but it’s just another challenge that you have to deal with and work around. The same thing goes for people sitting at a computer for hours every day.
  • Try to limit or manage mental and emotional stress. Constant stress is a killer and should be avoided. Try to limit the things that cause you stress. Try to learn methods of dealing with it. Try to get support from family or friends. Get counseling or emotional coaching with a professional. Everything from people who want to cope with panic attacks to people who have stressful jobs running multi-billion dollar companies benefit from emotional coaching or counseling in a variety of forms. Look into options that may suit you.
  • Meditate or practice some form of mindfulness activity. Anything that can help you clear your mind, establish intense focus, increase your mental well-being, increase your tolerance to stress, and encourage focus in a day when it is always being disrupted is a good thing. Guided meditation can be great and there are a lot of free resources to help with this. Yoga can be great for the mental and physical benefits it provides. Even something like a nature walk to clear the mind or a session of creative practices like drawing or painting can be good. Any activity that clears the mind, encourages focus, and helps establish a state of flow can benefit you even when you’re not doing it… If you don’t already have a practice like this, I’d suggest guided meditation. Over the years it’s been proven to improve mental and physical health, and should help with recovery. It’s even been shown to increase pain tolerance, which is no doubt a major perk for endurance athletes.

Therapy

  • It can be very good to get some massage work done. This can be something that someone else does for you, but you can also massage your legs while you lie in bed after your post-workout shower. Or, even better, if you have a foam roller or a stick, then you can really get a lot out of 10 minutes of rolling out your legs after a hard workout. Increasing bloodflow and reducing muscle adhesions can improve your recovery substantially. I would definitely recommend this over static stretching any time.
  • Compression socks can be good if you’re doing a lot of just sitting, just standing, or a lot of walking around after a hard workout. Personally, I wear compression socks any time that I’m traveling by plane or car more than an hour or two. I have always worn compression socks while working on my feet at the bike shop. The benefit of compression is going to vary from person to person, but in general it’s a good thing.

Nutrition:

  • Get enough good nutrition overall… That is, make sure that you get enough vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from plants that will provide you the necessary resources for your body to be healthy. To do this, eat a lot of unprocessed, plant based foods. Except for vitamin B12 there isn’t anything that you can’t get from plants. Vegetables are the best. Nuts are great. Fruits and grains are good. Eggs, dairy, meat, poultry, and fish can be good for you to varying degrees. Mostly just try to choose real foods over processed foods. Focus on plants.
  • Get enough protein. Get some at every meal. You don’t need to go crazy and you don’t need to eat a ton of animal protein. That’s a ridiculous idea that many people hold onto for no evident reason. If you’re trying to build muscle, have a strong immune system, or you’re stressing your body heavily with a lot of endurance training, then try to get at least around 15g of protein at every meal, or about 1g per 10 lbs/4 kg of body weight. Try to get at least 20-30g of protein after any really hard workout, whether it was intense or very long. Each meal should have some protein, including your post-workout recovery meal. Often smoothies with some added protein can be a convenient way to make sure that this happens.
  • Get enough carbs at the right times, but not too much all of the time. Yes, carbs are fuel for intense exercise. They take less oxygen to burn than most fatty acids for the amount of ATP you get out of them. In the short term, taking in more carbs is almost always associated with increases in performance, just because it’s a very efficient fuel. It’s good to get enough during your harder, longer workouts. It’s good to get some in the first few hours after your harder workouts. Carbs will replenish lost glycogen and allow you to work out hard sooner. Carbs can blunt the negative impact of heavy endurance training on your immune system. Insulin spikes associated with carb intake after a hard workout will help drive protein synthesis. 3-4h after your hard workouts or later, a lot of carbs without a mix of fat and protein will drive fat storage and can eventually lead to insulin resistance, even for active individuals. So, take in an appropriate amount of carbohydrate that’s commensurate with your high intensity exercise.
  • Get enough fluids. Staying hydrated is always helpful for all of the functions in your body. Overhydrating and dilluting your body’s electrolyte concentrations is not helpful, so don’t overdo it. ‘But in general, make sure that you drink plenty, especially rehydrating after any solid training session. Dehydration slows everything down.
  • Be sure to get enough salt, too. When you sweat you lose salt. Salt is essential for your nervous system, and is helpful at retaining water. Healthy hydration should take water and electrolyte intake into account. Don’t worry about taking in too much salt. Most people are unduly concerned about this, and taking in too little salt quickly becomes more harmful than taking in more than you need. In general, salt to taste, drink plenty, and don’t worry about it.
  • Reduce carbohydrate intake before training. A small snack a few hours before training can be fine. Include a mix of macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat), but generally, don’t have a huge influx of carbohydrate 1-2h before training. A large flow of glucose into your blood will drive up insulin production and shut down fat burning. You will not be able to burn fuel as efficiently at the start of your ride and will delay fat-burning. This isn’t necessarily good or bad, per se, but the higher blood glucose and subsequent rise in blood insulin can cause mild hypoglycemia going into a training session, which isn’t great. And, regardless of blood sugar levels, after consuming carbs, growth hormone and testosterone production during training will be reduced. Both of those hormones are very conducive to positive changes in fitness and metabolism. (The same thing goes for carbs before bedtime; they reduce growth hormone production as you sleep.)

There’s a lot that goes into your workouts, there’s a lot less that goes into your recovery, but really, please do yourself a favor and consider whether or not you may do well to make a few tweaks to your recovery routine. Sometimes just adding a little protein after a workout, not taking a ton of anti-oxidants right after a workout, or rolling out your legs can make a small difference that becomes very substantial after compounding over time. Just don’t ever assume that time is the only thing that makes for good recovery.