How to get back into training

We all have occasional spells off our bikes – so how should you return to riding?

Take it easy

If you are returning from a prolonged lay-off, don’t think you can jump straight back into doing what you did before. Taking on too much too soon is a surefire way to trigger an adverse reaction, should you be returning from illness or injury, and put you right off again if you are returning from the sofa. Short, easy rides are the way to get back into cycling, adding distance and intensity as your strength returns.

Slow down

If you are struggling to ease back in, consumed by the desire to race every mile, then look at ways to make your cycling less performance orientated. Discover new routes, ride with the slower group on your Sunday morning run and make friends with riders you rarely speak to. If you cycle to work, set off a bit earlier so you don’t have to race against the boss’s clock. Rediscover your love of cycling for cycling’s sake.

The 10 per cent rule

As you look to increase the amount and intensity of your training – ‘riding’ will become ‘training’ again as you progress – build things up gradually. Increase your training load by no more than 10 per cent a week. If you have an event in your diary, and your lay-off was only for a week or two, you might want to get back on track more quickly, but you should still only increase your workload in stages. Your patience will be rewarded.

Get advice

If you are returning from injury, it can be a good idea to visit a physio to have any underlying problems checked out so that you don’t aggravate anything when you get back on the bike. This is particularly true of an ‘overuse’ injury, but even if you’ve been off the bike due to a crash it could have a lasting effect on your body. A good bike fit will also help to ensure you have the bike set up to best suit your physique and style.

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