Enthusiastic recreational riders and competitive athletes can make mid season training errors. Namely, taking on too much physical activity, 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. It’s easy to do during the summer months as the season beckons us to participate in outdoor activities. Yet, there are ways to enjoy ourselves and still stay strong all year long.
Pay attention to your equipment. Yes, it’s true. The right bike parts can make a difference in injury prevention. A good bike fit can make all the difference as well. Periodically, review your setup. Fit impacts comfort but also technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries. Your body’s position on the bike affects how you ride. It affects how much power you can efficiently deliver to the pedals. It affects how comfortable you are on the bike. Bottom line, be mindful of your bike components and bike parts.
Strength train the whole year through. Year round strength training matters. “One of the main goals with sport-specific strength training is to target your prime movers as well as the assistance muscles that support your prime movers. With proper strength training, each time you press on the pedal, your primary group of muscles (those that take on the majority of the load) will be stronger and have a stronger group of assisting muscles to help produce power. Since you are only as strong as your weakest link, the stronger system you build as a whole, the more potential you have for cycling specific gains.”
Add yoga to your fitness routine. Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of a successful training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins. According to the post, Yoga for Cyclist, cyclists need to focus on leg strength, which many poses in yoga target, but they also need to focus on flexibility and lower back strength.
Rest and recover. Plan a day of rest once a week into your training schedule. No running, biking, swimming or strength training. Your body needs a day to recover. It will not hurt your performance, but will actually help it and is critical in muscle recovery.
Ultimately, training is all about stressing your body with hard workouts, and then letting your body adapt to that load. The summer months invite us all to push the limits but with a little mindfulness, you can balance pushing the limits while staying healthy and strong.