From vacations to illnesses, to injuries. There will undoubtedly be something that dethroned you from your cycling. The question is just how do you go about returning to cycling after an injury
Cycling During Recovery or After
How to Return to Cycling While Recovering from Injuries
Loss of Fitness Level During Injury Down Time
The loss of your fitness level is fairly quick. In as little as about one week you will begin to see a decline in your top end speed. And once your regular training has stopped, your anaerobic threshold and Vo2-maximum rate of oxygen consumption–begins to drop off fairly rapidly. And as if that’s not enough, in as little as two–three weeks, your endurance capacity begins
to suffer the same fate. You are not alone as some pro cyclists have shown up to a 20% drop in overall performance capacity.
Keep Your Body Moving
You are injured but not indefinitely. Depending on the type of injury, you can do subtle things to promote body movement to get the blood flowing. Walking, swimming or even Yoga are examples of simple body only activities that can be used to help restore you back to good health. You may even find that this works as cross training.
Eating for Recovery
Though you may not be riding, your body is using up to 10% more calories as it performs the task of repairing that injury.
Allowing for Recovery Time
Generally speaking, if your injury keeps you off the bike for several weeks then your time back in the saddle will take an equal amount of time to regain your performance and fitness level.
Returning after an injury
Trying to do too much before it’s reasonable will likely lead to aggravating or even re-injure yourself. Gauge yourself and check for subtle pain. If you feel any, you might be pushing yourself a bit too soon. But in the absence of any pain, you can begin to test higher efforts lightly and with steady progress.
The wasting away of muscle tissue is all too real. The longer you are unable to use them the more rapidly they will deteriorate. Just like an instrument your ability to play will deteriorate without practice. Your muscles need constant attention to support their size, strength, and ability.
Consult Your Doctor
In the beginning, during and right before returning to your cycling, consult with your doctor or physical therapist first–depending on the nature of your injury–because it is best to be cleared with approval.
First ride after returning from an injury
Starting out with short distances and an even pace is a wise move. This way you can get a feel about how your body and the area of the injury are responding. Allow distance and intensity to build gradually over time. Keep your goals in the distance and enjoy getting acclimated to riding regularly again. There is no need to rush things. Push yourself too soon and you could be setting yourself up for an injury relapse.