This final entry is going to be the shortest, but not because there isn’t lots of information already out there on it, but more because there is. I encourage you to look up info on these 5 recommendations and make your own informed opinion. I will just tell you what I do.
Hydrate: After a hard ride or during a recovery day or cycle, I make sure I top off. I check my urine color, I use my Withings Scale which tells me my percentage of water, or I just use plain common sense to drink lots of water. I do use Powerade from time to time, but I like plain old water. An electrolyte drink seems necessary for me only after a super-hot day when I know I have sweated a lot. You know the kind...when you have salty residue all over you? Otherwise, I just stay with H2O. I do like an Eternal or Smart Water from Dash’s or a fill up from Ashker’s Kangen water tank at Delaware Park when I can get there for one.
Nutrition: As your body is in the healing process, make sure you eat quality foods. I tend to eat lots of fruits and veggies on rest weeks and avoid sugar loaded junk foods. Post ride, I like a good old glass of chocolate milk or a protein shake within 30 minutes of the ride ending. Some swear by Scratch Labs products or other more expensive things, but I find chocolate milk gives me the protein and carbs I need to replenish my system.
Rolling: A good old foam roller is your friend. I always try to roll out on a rest day and sometimes after a hard ride. It hurts, especially on the IT band, but it helps in the long run. Rollers are cheap and come in a wide variety, one which will be best for you. I have even seen them at Five Below, so there is no excuse not to try one.
Compression: I have some compression calf sleeves from my running days. If I go hard, like a metric century kind of day, I will out these on after a shower. Studies show that compression helps, and even if you cannot afford a fancy Normatec machine, you can help yourself out with simple sleeves available everywhere. The use of compression helps get the blood back to your core for recovery.
Pain Relief: This is a no for me. Some studies have shown that overuse of NSAIDs impedes compensation and muscle growth post exercise. So. when the ibuprofen stops the inflammation, the body does not compensate. When the body senses the inflammation after exercise, it rebuilds the muscles stronger.
Listen to the recent Fast Talk podcast for more on recovery, especially compression and how the body reacts to inflammation. It is fascinating stuff, https://www.velonews.com/tag/fast-talk-podcast