A Training and Injury Update
I’m still relatively new to both training and racing – it was only last June that I impulsively entered the inaugural London round of the Red Hook Crit series and signed up for a month’s intensive training in preparation. Before that, I’d tried training for about two weeks, disliked it and given up but with an ambitious goal to work towards and a coach who really listened to my needs, last year I suddenly found myself liking training.
I fully committed to it last summer, strictly adhering to the rest days, never skipping a session and always giving my full effort to a workout. The results were great even though I’d only been doing it for a few months but once the crit racing season drew to an end I found myself craving a little more flexibility and a lot more time on my mountain bike or riding trails. Last autumn, I decided to forget about structured training for a couple of months and just have fun riding my bikes.
My plan was to get cracking again on January 1st and I found myself looking forward to that date and wanting to get stuck into working hard, so in my mind the break was a good thing no matter the consequences for my fitness. I decided not to work with a coach/trainer, mainly for financial reasons but also because I felt I had learned quite a lot through studying and testing out training plans in 2015.
From the start of January 2016, my week generally looked like this:
Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: Morning – Gym.
Evening – Turbo Training intervals
Wednesday: Recovery Ride / Mountain Biking
Thursday: (fast) 80km group ride
Saturday: Mountain Biking
Sunday: Road or MTB
And it continued to look like that until disaster struck and I broke my stupid thumb of all things, at a mountain bike race in Wales.
The injury came at a really rubbish time and messed with my head. I felt like the winter training was starting to pay off and things were looking good for the summer and it was right at the start of a ten-week block where I had a race every weekend; road, mountain bike or fixed gear crit. The injury also coincided with me undergoing treatment for something else, so not only couldn’t I ride, I also had to inject myself in the bum twice a day. The result was I became extremely moody and put on 3kg.
So where am I now? Well officially, I was allowed to ride again last week, but of course I was impatient and got back on the bike a little earlier (the week before? Or was it two weeks before….?). Unsure whether to ease or throw myself into things, I went for the latter and entered a local closed circuit road race. It’s always difficult to know what to do post injury and many would advise that you take it easy at first and build yourself back up slowly. I decided against that for more than one reason – firstly, because I want to fast-track my recovery as I don’t have much time to get fit before Red Hook Crit London, but also because I’ve been in need of the structure, focus and endorphins I get from training hard. I was really pleased to take 3rd and it gave me a big mental boost, so I’d say it just goes to show, advice is helpful but at the end of the day,
you just need to do what works for you
I had a bit of a set back last week and was in hospital on Wednesday morning but I was straight back out on the bike as soon as I was able. Again, I’m not sure everyone would recommend my approach, but riding hard and fast makes me feel better. Laying around in bed generally does the opposite.
Back at the gym, I’ve found I can still lift the same weights and work through my standard routine. I’ve done a couple of longer rides and do feel like I’m a bit slow and fatigue rather early. I coped alright with the local club’s insanely fast chain gang though, so not all is lost!
On the whole, I’d say my main issue is recovering effectively – I seem to be struggling to recover as well/quickly as I’d like, particularly because I tend to ride my mountain bike on what is meant to be a rest day. I’m going to try and stick to my one rest day a week, but it’s not easy. The problem is, there aren’t enough days in the week to train AND recover AND have some fun, mess about rides and hit some jumps.
When I’m not riding, I take my recovery seriously – I’m sooooooo lazy if I’m not on a bike! I’ve also been having recovery shakes, foam rolling my legs and stretching. Sadly, I can’t afford massages so that’s about the best I can do, but I find it frustrating when I can’t give my training all I’ve got because my legs still hurt from the day before or because I’m really tired. It’s annoying, because really, I’d like to do even more, such as run.
Do you have any tips for recovery that you’d like to share?