There were 3 weekends in September/October 2012 when I cycled a fair bit. First, 330 miles to Amsterdam, http://www.amsterdam300.com
Second, 130 miles Access Sport Ride Around London, http://www.accesssport.org.uk/ride-around-london
Thirdly, 430 miles during the 3 Peaks Cycle Challenge through Wales, England and Scotland.
Although these three weekends were some of my favourite cycling trips and highlights of 2012, I injured myself and learnt a fair few lessons.
- Your mind is often stronger than your body and able to push yourself through barriers that can (and in my case did) cause injury to your body
- Without sufficient rest, recovery and massage (foam roller and sports massage if you can afford it) you are likely to injure yourself sustained with endurance exercise
- When advised to ‘rest’ this means more than a week off. 2 weeks after the 3 Peaks Cycle I cycled 80 miles and a week later completed the Hellrunner – an 11 mile off-road run. Both of these only aggravated my injury further and meant it was 3 months in total by the time I could ease myself back into training again
- If you are going to cycle hundreds of miles get your bike fitted professionally. It can make the world of difference to injury prevention
Injury Therapy diagnosed me with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome in my right knee, caused by prolonged repetitive compression of the PF joint. It’s the most frequently diagnosed injury in sports medicine, so if you are a runner or cyclist you may have suffered from this too. I was also suffering from ITB syndrome in my left knee, very common in runners and cyclists due to tight IT bands.
- Ice on the joint regularly
- Recovery exercises prescribed by physio
- Swimming (no impact)
Week commencing 14th January was the first time I’ve been able to confidently perform impact exercise without aggravating any injury. It’s been amazing!
I began 2 weeks ago with 3 mile jogs once well warmed up and iced my knee joint directly afterwards. I’ve been building up gradually over the last two weeks and am now able to ease myself back into a more committing weekly training schedule including swimming, running, cycling, British Military Fitness sessions and indoor rock climbing.
In the past I have taken my good health for granted and sometimes opted to stay indoors in the warmth rather than train, I vowed not to do that again after not being able to exercise so this weekend when the snow fell I’ve been out making the most of it!
2013 - Big plans = small steps
I have exciting, challenging plans for 2013 – my first Ironman being one of these – but I know I will only get there by taking small steps and constantly building up.
- Incrementally build up your training to strengthen tendons and muscle fibres
- Rest – it is only during rest that you become a better athlete as you allow your body the time to repair and get stronger
- Include regular foam roller and stretching sessions
- Eat well and give your body the nutrition it needs to repair