If you want to ride faster, further and better then maybe don’t ride as much. I know it has never made any sense to me either but over the last few years I do know it works. When the season starts and spring is in the air we all want to get out and ride as much as we can. Harder, further and faster, but once we start to get a good base laid back down all of the sudden a lot of times we seem to start going backwards. Improving your cycling skills is in some ways just like improving after you had surgery. It’s all about recovery time.
The amount of time you spend recovering between rides is every bit as important as the amount of time you spend on a ride. If you get out there every day and pound the streets as hard as you can, in no time at all you can discover what is called over training syndrome. It’s kind of like getting burnt out but worse. It’s one thing to say we don’t like getting up at 5 am to go ride in the morning, which is what I said in the last post, nobody likes getting up at 5 am. But it’s a whole different thing when you absolutely hate getting up and going out, and when the pain from the last workout doesn’t go away, and no matter what you try and how hard you try it you just keep getting slower. We have all been there. Every time you ride you work muscles and every time you work muscles they need time to recover. Believe me I was up to 125 miles a week, just a few weeks ago. I was so focused on cycling that I had put all the other parts of working out on the back burner. Then I noticed my times were going down, and on the days I was doing “easy” rides I was still ending up feeling pretty lousy at the end. That’s when I realized it’s time to step away and rethink things a little bit. Why are easy hills becoming hard hills and all flats are going up hill? It’s time to lighten up. So it’s time to get back to the fundamentals.
Instead of riding 5 days a week, now it’s ride good and hard for 3 days a week. Do 75 miles a week but they are all good miles. On 2 of the off days it’s time to return to cross training. For me that means going back to the weights, and doing a good core workout. For some it can be running or swimming. But the bottom line is letting your body get some time to recover between rides. Everyone needs time to recover and rebuild. During each week I also take two days to do nothing that is workout related. I would much rather be riding and some times on the off days I still take the bike out but on those times it really is for easy rides. Already I have noticed an improvement on my times and how I feel every day. Getting back to basics has made me feel better both in my performance and my attitude. So as I said, sometimes less really is more…Play nice and be careful…..Randy