Well, it happened again. You hit the deck (ouch!) and got sidelined for a while, losing precious fitness. What do you do? You manage it the right way, knowing that you can still be fit and get that form back! It will simply take a little longer. Cycling is a multiyear sport, and done correctly we can be super active well into our 70’s, so you have got to take a long term approach.
First, make sure you recover from the injury fully before going back to work. This means you listen to your doctor, and follow the protocol to the letter. If he says 10 days, then time it down to the hour before getting back on. So often we feel good, go back to work and suffer another setback for some stupid reason like the fact we weren’t actually healed yet. Wait as long as your doctor says, and it will pay off.
Be intelligent about the ramp up. Don’t think you can do the same workouts you were doing before the accident. You can’t. Start slow and ramp up your body over time, and you’ll see amazingly quick progress. The body has memory, and it’ll pop back quickly if you set it up for success and support it. Now, we’re not saying you have to go back to winter base miles, but maybe cut your efforts in half for a week or so; get in higher amounts of volume with lower intensity, and things will come roaring back just fine. And if it’s too late in the season, who cares? There’s mountain biking, ‘cross, and the beloved ski season ahead… you’ll be just fine and come back stronger for taking your recovery seriously.
What if you didn’t crash, you’re just feeling that late season drag? Fatigue happens in cycling. As we peak in mid to late season, it becomes more of a sliding backwards trying to hang on to that beloved fitness game. Embrace the slide. You cannot be on peak performance all season, so do those things that you might not have done well before when you were pushing so fiercely. Hard to believe, but resting a little more right now is in order. You’ve loaded the system all this season with massive stress, and adding more now isn’t going to make you any stronger. In the mid-season, you might only have 1 day off and 1 recovery spin day, so try taking 2 recovery days now. And your rides don’t have to be the 3 and 4 hour epics they used to be. Spin for an hour or two max, and vary the tempo, but then recover well the next day. With the extra rest, you can dissipate some of the training load, and you’ll most likely feel a refreshed snap in your legs. Then unleash that snap!
Mentally being “up” for your event is a touch harder now, too. It happens… that “A” race was scheduled for June, but got pushed to August. Now what? You love the event, but the timing couldn’t be much worse. It’s these times when I go back to my winter time basement sessions and remember all those lousy intervals in front of an old Tour de France DVD. They stunk. But I did them, and I did them with a purpose in mind. I did them for just such a time as this! This is MY day, this is MY time, and I’m not going to suffer all December, January, February and March just to give up now. So keep your mind in the game, hold on to that winter focus, and get yourself to August!
This is also the time for unstructured riding with friends. Friends you can torture with sprints to the yellow signs where you have a lead, then call the sprint when they have no hope of catching you. Or sprints to your imaginary finish line. You throw your bike and give your victory salute at just the moment where they were gaining on you, but they still lose. Summer is awesome, and it’s more awesome when you can go back and forth with your peers. Sometimes you win, sometimes you have to call the finish early so you still win. Riding and racing is supposed to be fun, and friends make it all worth it.
If nothing else, be motivated by the fact that almost every race has beer at the end. Any day that involves a bike and a pint is going to be a good one.
But you still have to enter up, punkin’.
Come race your bike with us, or join us on Strava!
Team Rocky Mountain Health Plans