Tips & Recipes
The tools of recovery
Sara shares her recovery tips
By now, the benefits of prioritizing recovery have been well documented. Getting enough sleep, disconnecting, and spending time in nature are essential components of a well-rounded approach to recovering from the hours on the bike, the intense gym sessions, and the accumulated stress of the racing season.
As she’s grown as a rider over her career, recovery is something that Sara Poidevin has grown to appreciate and even enjoy.
“When I first started racing, I felt like, ‘I should be riding more, doing more, always doing something,' whereas now I appreciate getting to lie down and recover. Now that the season is so much longer and the races are so much harder, it’s a lot easier to want to recover now,” Sara admits with a laugh.
For Sara, recovery can take a variety of forms.
“I usually go for a walk every day. I love being outside and having some quiet time, maybe listening to music. Even between stages I like to go for a walk. It doesn't have to be long but I like to have some space to myself. It’s physically and mentally refreshing to be in nature, outside of a race environment where it’s quiet and there’s no stress.”
Hyperice's Normatec boots are a vital part of Sara’s recovery routine, particularly if a race doesn’t begin until late in the afternoon. This can leave a lot of time for riders to sit around after their easy morning spin, resulting in a heavy sensation when race time rolls around. On days like these, Sara will spend a little time with the Normatec compression legs on to help her feel fresh.
“If too many hours pass in the morning,” Sara says, “I feel sluggish and my legs don't feel super great so I’ll do a lighter flush before racing and then it feels a lot nicer. It takes out the first ten minutes of riding where you kind of flush everything though, it does that for you. Then I don’t feel like I’ve been sitting around for six hours. I feel a little lighter and more refreshed.”
When a racing day is made longer due to a lengthy transfer, after the stage a rider just wants to eat dinner, unwind, and get to bed.
“At a race like La Vuelta where the stages finished so late in the day, I opted to use the Normatec because then I could just shut my brain off and watch YouTube while in bed and get a leg flush.”
Sara has a stretching and mobility routine that she’s followed for years both during the season and in the off season.
“It’s physically and mentally refreshing to be in nature, outside of a race environment where it’s quiet and there’s no stress.”
“My back and neck get super tight on the bike, as I’m sure everyone’s does. It really became a problem in the early years when I started racing more. I went to a physio who gave me a little routine. My former teammates used to make fun of me because it just looks like I’m flailing around but as long as I do that routine, all my back pain is fine so I stick with it. It’s nothing weird but it just looks funny. Now if I have a new roommate at the races, I usually warn her. ‘Just so you know, I’m going to do this little routine. Don’t be scared, this is normal,’” she laughs.
Having downtime is essential to Sara. Spending time offline, getting enough sleep, and relaxing with good friends allow both her body and mind to fully switch off.
“I nap basically every day. Usually once I get back from training and have lunch, I’m super sleepy so I have a rest and that also helps me get enough sleep hours. In the evenings after dinner, I’m really chilling out. My roommate Magdeleine and I watch a movie so we sit on the couch. Really shutting off and not having to do anything mentally or physically.”
Sara has one last tool in her recovery arsenal.
“I use the Hypervolt massage gun every day. In the morning before I ride, I do a bit of mobility and activation,” she says. “I use it on a couple of spots that tend to get tight like my calves and my lower back. It loosens you up and makes you feel not so tight. Then in the afternoon when I do a bit of stretching, I use the massage gun again, this time a bit more thoroughly. It’s really nice to do the soles of your feet after a long ride.”