Injury prevention has been the holy grail for elite athletes and professional sports teams for the last few years. If an athlete is injured they either cannot compete at all or at least up to their optimum level. With advances in technology and sports science, data surrounding injury prevention has multiplied in recent years. Top level sports teams employ sport scientists, physios,
sports massage therapists and strength and conditioning coaches, using GPS technology to track training and playing intensity. The data is analysed and if there is a drop off in any reading, then the individual is assessed for any potential underlying injury or risk factor for injury. Unless you are an elite athlete, you are very unlikely to be monitored this closely, but these methods of data collection has filtered down into the everyday athlete to give us a better knowledge of when injuries may occur.
For cycling, most injuries are non traumatic and occur due to over training, or not training enough and going out for a 15km bike ride. The best way to avoid injury is to leave yourself sufficient time to train for the distance you have decided to do. Start slowly, at a comfortable pace and only go a short distance to begin with. This will mean you are not overloading the body and it will be able to cope with the demand of the activity. Build up your distance slowly week on week to get up to the distance that you are expecting to cycle. This will ensure that your body has time to adapt and become stronger and fitter, so it will be able to cope with longer distances.
Rest time between training sessions is equally as important as the training itself. This is because the body needs time to recover, heal and adapt to the demands placed upon it. If you do not give yourself enough rest time in between sessions, then the body will not have fully recovered from the previous session and therefore may be at risk of injury as the body is starting from a tired, depleted state and will not be able to cope with further demand.
In general you should probably give yourself up to 3 months to build up to a significant distance in with cycling training. If you are not a regular cyclist, then it might be worth cycling twice a week over a short distance to begin with, making sure you have 3 days rest in between rides. Build the distance up of one of the rides over a few weeks so you are doing a short ride and one long ride a week. If you want to you can add a third ride in per week, that is also quite short but encompasses hills, or a short ride that you do at a slightly faster pace.
So in short, start your Bikeathon experience early by getting out and about now to prepare your body for the longer distances. Don’t overdo it and give yourself plenty of rest time for your body to recover. And finally, enjoy it. It is a great day bringing families and community together.