The Physical Perils And Pitfalls Of Training For A Long Distance Bike Ride.
When actually, conclusively deciding that I was actually going to go ahead with the #1000in7 challenge there was a distinct danger of breaking myself before I had even had chance to get in the shape that would give me a fighting chance of completing it. I have an extraordinarily high aptitude for doing things in an arse about face manor and going too hard too fast when training. And, true to form on week one I thought I was in trouble!
Ideally, any normal person builds up in a slow progressive manor, allowing the body to adapt correctly. allow muscles to build, efficiency increase and recovery be maximised. But no, I know better than the experts...........
|John must have been a cyclist|
I dialed it back to a level that my body could continuously recover from in the early stages and slowly built up distance/time/intensity with the end game being a finely tuned cycling machine - see Richie Porte. Or at the very least a Peter Sagen. Easy! But even then this sort of training comes with its own specific pitfalls:
The repetitive nature of the training takes its toll on areas of high stress. But they are not necessarily the areas you would expect. Obviously areas such as the knees (especially my inner patella) and thighs take the brunt of the beating when you are smashing out those miles but there are other areas that you may not have considered (or forgotten about) if you have never ventured into long range cycling before.
Remember when you first started cycling? No? me neither (All I remember is that it was Matts fault). But I remember the incessant bum bruising/chaffing that all cyclists become, in time, immune to. But, reader be warned, this immunity is only effective within your "training range". Any sizeable increase in distance on top of that will inevitably end up in a panic induced chamois cream mess in your shorts as you hopelessly try and resurrect your once painless, chaff free buttocks! To this point in my cycling life I famously have never felt the need to "Cream up", not even during 100 mile Sportives or our road trip to Paris. Will #1000in7 be the breaking of me? Watch this (slightly dark and clammy) space. An issue that inspired my latest #1000in7 graphic.
Wrists. Yes legs do 99% of the work when cycling, but you need to direct all that power in a direction else you could end up in the nearest bush (Matt!). To make this possible you have to be holding your handlebars. Your hands, wrists and arms take a beating on long journeys. The unsung heroes of the endurance cyclist. Vibrations travelling through them with each stone, pebble, drain cover and heaven forbid........ Cobble. My wrists are something I have struggled with for the majority of the training for #1000in7, even holding them at certain angles for extended periods of time cause pain and a slight swelling around the joint. (Insert weak wrist joke here - to your level of humour). I figured that it was something that would either a) go away as the wrists got stronger/used to the pummeling, or b) I would have to severely strap up the wrists when it came to #1000in7 for real. (6 weeks into training for #1000in7 and I'm still getting wrist problems - looks like option b) for me.....
|Elastic Sleeve + Thick Cable Strap = Best Solution I have found|
Back. I’m lucky that my core strength is naturally pretty good and I haven’t ever had any real problems with back pain in cycling – even when lugging 20kgs on my back all the way to Paris. But that doesn’t stop me worrying. I use a “Foam roller” for post workout massage and without a doubt it significantly helps any, aches, pains or dreaded DOMS. Sadly this doesn’t come without its own pitfalls. In my case it was my wife….. Unavoidably in my case sometimes I find myself in front of the TV warming down and usually that is in the company of my fantastic wife. I say fantastic, but that isn’t taking into account when she posts things like this on social media:
Whilst not technically a problem with the foam roller itself, it is definitely worth noting who’s around you when you are actually doing the deed.
When it comes to lower back pain, I am also a great believer in kinesiology tape. I have mentioned this before, but it’s like a black magic that seems to cure/ease most muscular issues (With me at least). At times I have resembled a funky mummy (Egyptian, not parental) with all the tape I have on me. You won’t find a better tape than Rocktape although pricey is still the best out there, but if you are on a budget give Rea tape a look up on Amazon, solid performance for the price.
Hopefully this will have been of some use to one of the three people that read my blog and I will add to this as I go with more nonsense. If it’s no use, sorry, I’ll just continue with my cathartic ramblings to the i-world in the hope of finding some sort of mental nirvana!
Peace out, James!