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Thread: Overuse?

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    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Overuse?

    I used to run for exercise, and at one point ran every day, rain or shine, heat or cold. Eventually, I ended up with back issues, from overuse/not enough rest.

    I would ride my bike every day if I could - and I'm not really able to tune into an "easy" spin. So here's my question:

    Do I need recovery days?

    I realize I ain't riding huge mileage, am not super fast, and am still improving with both speed and endurance. But are recovery days beneficial? I just wonder if I ride hard enough and long enough to need them physically.

    Being 50+, trying to get better, etc, and curious....and I don't want any overuse injuries, because I want to be able to be on my bike as much as I can.
    2011 BMC SR02; 2010 Fuji Cross Comp; n+1 on hold today, due to college tuition and a wedding. Some day, some where, over the rainbow, I will get that 29er....

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    Senior Member Paul01's Avatar
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    The short answer is yes.

    The long answer is definitely yes.

    The questions that only you can answer is how frequently and how many days off.

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Some can ride every day-Ride hard and ride long. I can't. Weekend was where I did my milage- hills and had fun. 30 to 50 miles- 2 to 3,000ft of climbing and at a speed that kept me easy but working. Then twice a week- Tuesday and Thursday- I would do a 20 miler. One up hills and I would put effort into the hills. Recover on the flats. The other would be on a flattish route but I would push myself a bit harder than the weekend rides.

    I needed those recovery days but when I first started the "Extra" 20 milers it was hard. How hard do I push on the flat route- how hard do I tackle the hills. The hills were easy- keep the heart rate up but do the hill. The flat route was about the same. Work hard but just leave enough to say I could go harder if required. But these are only 20 miles. I did work harder than on the longer rides but not to the extreme. It did take a couple of months but I found Time on the rides coming down- Hills were getting easier and WHEN I did a longer ride- say an organised 65 miler or more- I could pace myself to finish without tiring before the end- and not feel it the next day.

    Not certain on the milage you are doing at present but just getting out and riding helps. If less than 20 miles- then increase gradually. Pace will settle in- legs will improve and lungs will work better. But rest days work aswell- work those into your training programme.

    I am now retired so have no regular routine. Still get in 3 or 4 rides a week with rest days and milage is up to 100 to 150 a week. But one hard ride and I will rest an extra day-Except for a recovery ride but that is a different matter.
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    Free Velo Vol! Dudelsack's Avatar
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    How much do you ride? Do you have a Strava account?

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    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    This time of year, I ride about 120 miles per week. I will get to more like 150-175, some weeks more, when the weather dries out. Combination of commuting, lunch rides, and long weekend rides.
    No strava account - no gps, I am lower tech than that.
    2011 BMC SR02; 2010 Fuji Cross Comp; n+1 on hold today, due to college tuition and a wedding. Some day, some where, over the rainbow, I will get that 29er....

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    I make a point of getting regular rest days with hardly anything physical happening at all. When I get tired, things I do start blowing up in my face, costly mistakes and that sort of stuff.

    When I get a little extra rest, I usually find I needed it more than I realized. Just lately with a health problem, I had the nicest improvement on a 3 day break. On the second and third days, I fell asleep at least 3 times each day, during the day. It's easy to get a bit stressed out at work without realizing it.

    Rest is a priority for me.
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    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    This can be a tricky thing to figure. I know I have had my go arounds in this area. The best thing I can say try to listen to what your body is telling you and go by that. I used to do three longish (70-80 miles) rides three times a week, now its two times a week and I feel better. But then I am old and everyone has a different set of circumstances to deal with. Good luck.
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    This isn't directly analogous, but I'm also an ex-runner, now a cyclist, and I used to have trouble making myself take days off.
    Last summer and fall I spent three months in a hospital and inpatient rehab for a rare condition, including eight weeks essentially flat on my back. At one point I didn't have the strength to work the TV remote. The inactivity made me so weak I couldn't walk or even turn on my side in bed. It's taken six months of therapy to get back to a relatively normal life, walking and driving and (soon) riding short distances.
    But here's the relevant part: during the therapy, which was by far the hardest work I've ever done, I saw progress much faster than in normal exercise. For a long time, I literally got measurably stronger every day--but if I didn't take a day off or at least cut way back about every fourth day, I stopped progressing. Rest a day, and things picked up again.
    Does that apply to normal exercise for normal people? I can't prove it, but I can't think why it wouldn't to at least some degree.

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    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    If I try to ride every day, I get progressively slower each day, so I always take a rest day between rides.
    In order to ride at peak performance, I need *two* rest days before a ride.
    I ride ~5000 miles/year.

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    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    I ride 3 days, 1 day off. For me it works. I need rest days YMMV of course.

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    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    I take rest days in between the hard/intense rides as well as the long distance rides. Since living in town my riding habits have been to grab the bike and just go for a short jaunt around town especially when my grandson wants to ride to the park.

    No way I could ride hard and progress. Mid-season stride may include one or two 20's, a 30 and the weekend will have a 60+mi ride. Hills and fast rides are included. I need the break.
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    If I can't force myself to get up at 4:45am then its a rest day. Happens maybe once every 2 weeks or so. I also commute to almost all my jobs on my bike. I did notice yesterday that after 15 days solid on the bike and 80km between commuting and training that day my remaining energy was ... less than stellar. I can't help but feel guilty if I don't ride 40km or more every day. I'm not interested in winning races or increasing my cruising speed drastically so it seems to work. I have noticed that on days after I've rested I can go faster and further with less perceived effort. I'd say that rest does play a part but I like to go for 10 days or so between rest days.

    I'll also take a rest day if I know the next day is going to be hard. Tomorrow I plan on pushing out to 65 miles for the first time this season so this morning I skipped the 30km predawn ride and just settled on the 30km commute by itself.

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    It really is necessary to take days off and more as we get older. It's can be a hard lesson for many of us to learn but rest and recovery an essential part of training and key to maximizing progress and minimizing injury.
    Last edited by GeezerPete; 05-04-12 at 04:52 AM. Reason: typo

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    Senior Member teachme's Avatar
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    Learn to listen to your body, and lighten up on your personal goals. Cycling is way less stressful on the old bod than running so you can cycle with less chance of injury. Ride everyday if you have time, but LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! If you feel a muscle twinge in the back or calf or anywhere on your body, stop immediately and call a friend or someone to sag you in. Don't try to "play hurt" as if you were a twenty year old again. At this point a few days of rest would be warranted. At our age we have to respect our bodies more than we did when we were younger.

    That being said... It would be better to implement regular rest days into your schedule. Your muscles need time to rest. Stretching exercises would be good to work in on rest days.
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    The amount of rest needed varies greatly by individuals so don't compare yourself to anyone else as an individual. Next, you improve by alternating hard days with easy ones - tear muscle fiber down and then allow for recovery and repair to become stronger. If you don't allow for rest, you prolong getter stronger. Finally if you don't allow for rest/recovery you subject yourself to injury and mental staleness including potentially a form of depression.

    If you want to exercise and just did a hard day on the bike or just don't feel like riding, do something else. It's getting warmer and pools will be open. Try swimming as an alternative, or walking, running, lifting weights, etc.
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    Senior Member jmccain's Avatar
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    I'm in the habit of checking my resting heart rate first thing in the morning and that indicates to me when I need a rest day (elevated, and really sore legs notify me, too).

    I almost never schedule a rest day, but my life always puts them in. I've missed a month of riding so far this year (professional conference away, Mardi Gras, and a couple of post-surgical weeks). They probably don't hurt, but:

    I'm trying to learn to accept them...

  17. #17
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Did a 25 miler on Tuesday- rest Wednesday due to rain but today did my Training ride.Only 32 miles but after about 10 miles takes in the "High and Over". Name says it all and this is my 4th attempt on mt getting fit regime. First time and I had to take a rest. Next two occasions and I had to stop for a rest at the top before I fell down. Heart rate was way up top and lungs were not working. today and it was not easy. Still did it in lowest gear but at one poine shifted up a couple. not for long as this one has a nasty kink up at the end. got to the top- legs OK-I could still breath and HR was high but not over the top so rode over the top to my break at 16 miles. did it in 1 hour 10 minutes so quite happy. return trip is easier without any hills- just a few up and downs but did the 16 miles in 1 hour 2 minutes.

    Considering the low base I started at a month ago- I am happy. Still got to find some more for the hills and some speed on the flats but getting better. For the last month I have been doing 100 to 140 miles a week spread out on 3 or 4 rides with at least one day off between rides. Next week and it is up the anti and try two hard hills and extra milage on at least one ride a week.

    But the way my legs feel tonight- I do not want to ride tomorrow. The milage may not be high right now on each ride but the effort going into each one is increasing ride by ride. Providing the weather improves- might even go for a "Ride my Age Ride" soon.
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    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmccain View Post
    I'm in the habit of checking my resting heart rate first thing in the morning and that indicates to me when I need a rest day (elevated, and really sore legs notify me, too).
    +1
    If the compulsion to ride is too great and you find it hard to decrease the intensity, take a day or two each week when you stay in the small chainring, or better yet, N+1 with a bike that has only 1 easy gear. Get your athletic fix AND smell the roses.
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    Thanks for asking the question. I have been pondering the same question and thinking about posting, but knew my post would not have been as clear as yours. I try to ride every other day, of course life interferes some times. I started increasing my mileage in March, after a very long term medical issue, now resolved. I am now riding more most days than in almost any week over the past many years. I am trying not to do to much to soon as I learned my lessons many times over when younger and a runner. I alternate between a couple of routes that take over an hour and variations on those that take about two hours. I hope in a couple of months to bump my long rides up to say 3 hours. Who knows what will happen after that...

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    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    At the absolute minimum, follow the ol' Biblical standard...take one day off out of seven.
    Deut 6:5

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    You don't need recovery days for the volume you're doing. Unless you want to get faster. Then you'll need to mix up your workouts with hard days and easy days. The reason you don't go for easy spins now is because you aren't doing hard days. There's very low risk of an overuse injury at under 200 mile/wk.

  22. #22
    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    You don't need recovery days for the volume you're doing. Unless you want to get faster. Then you'll need to mix up your workouts with hard days and easy days. The reason you don't go for easy spins now is because you aren't doing hard days. There's very low risk of an overuse injury at under 200 mile/wk.
    This is kind of what I was thinking, that my volume isn't too high to be dangerous. My caution comes from running and feeling great and just running every day and then ending up with a seized back or cranky knee. So I will keep pedaling away with abandon, till I end up popping over 200 regularly, OR it just hurts or ain't fun that day (though the fun part is what had me worried about overuse).
    2011 BMC SR02; 2010 Fuji Cross Comp; n+1 on hold today, due to college tuition and a wedding. Some day, some where, over the rainbow, I will get that 29er....

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    Running is much tougher on your body. You can get knee problems on the bike as well at under 200 miles/wk if your fit isn't right or there are some mechanical issues. You just need to pay attention to your body and back off, get a proper fit etc if you have issues.

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