Enthusiastic recreational riders and competitive athletes can make early season training errors. Namely, taking on too much physical activity too quickly. Going too fast, exercising for too long or simply doing too much of one type of physical activity can strain your muscles and lead to an overuse injury. Understanding how to pace yourself while getting fit is crucial. What are suggestions for avoiding injury during early season training?
In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit. Whether you’re just starting to ride or you’ve been cycling for a long time, consider the benefits of a professional bike fit. Fit impacts comfort but also technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries.
What to look for? Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced. Saddle injuries are the result of poor seat position, height, angle or design. While your saddle may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving. Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible. Also, neck, shoulder, and bike pain can result of an improper fitting bike. Handlebars, stems, and bike position all contribute to a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety.
Also, keep in mind to pace yourself. Be mindful of your current activity level and build upon your program gradually. During the winter months, it is tempting to opt for longer or high intensity rides when the weather is good. However, compressing your physical activity for the week into a few days can lead to an overuse injury. Instead, keep to your ride schedule and spread out the workouts over a longer time frame.
Training is all about stressing your body with hard workouts, and then letting your body adapt to that load. If you do not allow your body to recover and adapt to the training load you’ve imposed on it, you simply will not be able to train and stress your body as hard the next workout. While many riders understand that recovery between workouts is key to building fitness, recovery is also a commonly overlooked injury prevention tool. Recovery, defined as stretching, hydrating, and resting, are traditional tools used by athletes. Some opt for compression gear, as in socks or tights, which are designed to improve recovery and aid in overall sports performance.
Plan for a successful cycling season by training right early season. A good bike fit, steady riding, and active recovery paves the way for a healthy, injury free 2013.