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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When I was younger, I could push things hard and be sore but never suffer any long term sorness or damage. Now that I am older, I am finding that if I push to hard there are long term consequences.

I am 44 and I have a lot of drive and am realling liking riding a bike again. I am a little hesitant some nights to go out riding... you know... I want to just relax and take a night off. But... when I get out there and start riding, I just love it and it feels good.

How hard should I be pushing myself at 44. Our area is hilly, so to go to the downtown Greenville area, it is downhill, so it is not too hard. But... on the way back it is all uphill pretty much, nothing to bad for this ride as there are other bikes rides around the lake that are very hilly on the way back especially. If I use the lower gears of course, my feet are going fast and it is not too hard on my legs or knees. But... if I leave it in 3/or 4 on these hills, there is some pressure and you can feel the work involved, but you definately are going faster to get where your going so t speak.

Anyway... My wife and I have been riding again for almost 2 weeks now and I am wondering how hard we should be pushing ourself, or whether we should just take it easy and it will come. I have always been a no pain no gain type of person, but at my age now, I don't want to hurt myself but I do want to make some gains and have this help my health.
 

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By all means do what I did my first year, six million dollar man goes out riding
like a maniac before the muscle groups are recruited, causing a strew of minor
injuries. Now this year, I am having to work around the problems which fortunately
is working, Point is I wasted time in my training. You will be riding for years and it
will take years to develop as a cyclist. You should consider getting a trainer and
training year-round. I would raise the intensity levels very gradually, gauging your
recovery objectively day by day for minor injuries.
 

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what's the rush. i think 6-months of regular riding easy/moderate is a must before you even consider going hard. joints, ligaments, tendons take longer to condition than muscle. core muscles you don't even think about like lower back and secondary muscles like forearms need to be considered. you can really mess yourself up by pushing too hard too soon. even 1 really hard ride could cause injury. get 50-75hrs under your belt then think about some structured training.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cool, thanks. I will just have to take it easy somewhat and let the muscles get use to working again. I know that you really do use a lot of different muscles that you didn't even know get effected. I feel it in my inner thigh, around my knees, calves and shins, not to mention the arms/hands/chest and the butt.. I havn't noticed anything with my back yet.
 

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I am 60 and have been road-riding regularly since 1978 (still have my first road bike, a Schwinn Super Le Tour). I quit doing hard "training" rides many years ago. Not only did they hurt and wear me down, but they were boring and not much fun.
These days I ride almost every day. Sometimes I just ride down the street and qawk at tourists (I live in Charleston, SC and we have lots of tourists). Sometimes I take off and ride 40 miles or 100 miles or whatever. I have a couple buddies that ride with me in the country a couple times a week. We go as fast or as slow as slow as we feel like. I ride just to be riding for the joy of it, and also to maintain a decent fitness level so that I can do what I really like - multi-day bike trips. I have ridden all over the country and plan a cross-country trip in 2009. I also enjoy cross-state rides like BRAG, RAGBRAI, and Bike Virginia. I now ride about 7000 miles a year. But I NEVER do any "heavy-duty" training. I love riding in the mountains because they are cooler and are pretty, but I never "train" for them.

Bottom line is that I don't push hard and I don't "train" per se. I simply just ride a lot at my own comfortable pace. Now, my "comfortable" pace in the pancake-flat area around Charleston is usually 18-21 mph. For you, or someone who doesn't ride as much as I do, it may be slower or it may be faster. But the key is to to ride at your own "comfortable" pace. There is no need to wear yourself down or to push real hard unless you plan to race or something. Even if you ride just for the exercize, take it easy and make it an aerobic exercize. Put in as much saddle time as you can. That is my advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Brone! That makes a lot of sense.

So are my thoughts correct here. I am not training for anything right now, just getting exercise and enjoying being out riding. It is better and probably more exercise to ride further and longer than shorter and quicker? Should I do hard rides every now and then for a harder arobic exercise and help expand my lungs, or just longer relaxing rides. We have a lot of hills, nothing too major, but the hills still give you some work. I guess I should not push it on the hills though making myself breath hard.
 

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rjwilson37 said:
Thanks Brone! That makes a lot of sense.

So are my thoughts correct here. I am not training for anything right now, just getting exercise and enjoying being out riding. It is better and probably more exercise to ride further and longer than shorter and quicker? Should I do hard rides every now and then for a harder arobic exercise and help expand my lungs, or just longer relaxing rides. We have a lot of hills, nothing too major, but the hills still give you some work. I guess I should not push it on the hills though making myself breath hard.

I love to ride hills. Most of the time I just put it in granny and slug it out at a steady cadence. However, when I feel good I sometimes will stand up and attack the hill and see how fast I can get up the thing. But I think the key is how you feel. I often ride hard and fast because that is what feels right. Most of the time I just ride hard enough to break a little sweat but otherwise don't pay much attention whatsoever to the effort.

Now, I tend - maybe subconsciously - to ride harder on shorter rides. When I do my long bike trips, I never pay attention to the effort and I stop a lot to look at stuff and talk to people. You would be surprised at how easy it is to ride 100 miles or more when you are not paying attention to the effort, but are instead concentrating on the scenery and surroundings. Overall, my experience is that I enjoy cycling better when I just do a lot of riding at a relaxing (not always a leisurely or slow) pace. I have been riding enough that my relaxing pace is probably much faster and harder than some people's pace would be. But I look at the sport as an individual sport. Even when I do multi-day trips with a group of friends, I normally ride at my own pace, which often means riding alone or riding with just one or two others who are about the same pace.

The point I was trying to make in my original post, perhaps not very well, is that bike riding is more enjoyable when it is easy and comfortable to do. If you push yourself all the time, it can cease to be fun unless your goal is to see what your limits are - which is fun to some people. Everyone is different. Some people get a kick out of riding 100 miles in a circle as fast as they can every Saturday. As for me, I get a kick out of riding from point A to point B in 100 miles without caring how long it takes, then riding to point C the next day or back to point A. Everybody has to decide for themselves what they like best about biking. But the older I get, the more I realize that what other people consider "fun" in biking is not neccessarily fun for me. I seldom do group "training" rides, for example because they are both tiring and boring. Plus the fact that group dynamics often cause other problems I don't care to engage in - such as running red lights and hogging the road. But for people trying to get in shape, group training rides can be helpful to an extent.
On your own, it may be more difficult to push yourself like you want to (as I said, I no longer push myself).

Of course all of this is just one guy's opinions based on years of experience.
 

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Brone is giving some excellent ideas.

I also just started to cycle (since 2 years).

I moved to Greenwood SC about one year ago and joined a few folks that ride several times during the week for 20 - 35 miles per ride on the road and about 12-16 miles on MTB.

I have to agree that riding the bike just 'for fun' with a group is the best way to get some good exersise in and find new friends.
 

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rjwilson37 said:
Cool, thanks. I will just have to take it easy somewhat and let the muscles get use to working again. I know that you really do use a lot of different muscles that you didn't even know get effected. I feel it in my inner thigh, around my knees, calves and shins, not to mention the arms/hands/chest and the butt.. I haven't noticed anything with my back yet.
I love riding fast. I love to get the blood pumping. I love to get "into the zone" where the road just melts away beneath me. Where I don't even think about how fast I'm going, I'm just going as fast as possible. Man - that's fun. :D

But if you want to go fast, there are also some things you can do to prevent that kind of long term or chronic injury. You may have already done these things - I got a professional bike fitting, and that really helped. It was $150 and was completely worth it. It involved a lot of things, but included adjusting the cleats on my shoes, using a laser thingy to track where my knee was going while I was riding, and a follow up visit or 2. Actually, I could never quite get my old bike to fit me right (it was to big, and gave me a certain amount of back pain) so I bought a new bike. The bike fitting totally helped in getting the right frame size when I did, and helped out for adjusting the bike for test rides.

Now when I ride my bike, I still get sore. BUT it's never the "oooh, ouch, chronic" sore, it's the "wow, I really pushed that big thigh/calf muscle" sore. :D

I agree with what it sounds like you're doing - taking it relatively easy for a while as you ease into biking and get the muscles in shape for it. But I'd recommend a professional bike fitting, and hopefully in another month or 2 you can go out and feel like you're really pushing it without causing any sort of chronic pain at all. :)
 

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Capt. Z said:
Brone is giving some excellent ideas.

I also just started to cycle (since 2 years).

I moved to Greenwood SC about one year ago and joined a few folks that ride several times during the week for 20 - 35 miles per ride on the road and about 12-16 miles on MTB.

I have to agree that riding the bike just 'for fun' with a group is the best way to get some good exersise in and find new friends.
I agree. The main group I ride with rides primarilly "just for fun" and excersise. There are people in the group that want to ride fast and hard, and they are welcome to do so. We call them the "Jackrabbits". We also have a group of slower riders that bring up the rear, and a group that rides somewhere in between. All are welcome. We also follow a no-drop policy. The "Jackrabbits" stop at convenient locations along the route (usually stop signs, or places where we change directions) and wait for everyone else to catch up. That usually only takes 2 or 3 minutes. When everyone is back together, we start off again. We are all just out to enjoy cycling.

Jay B.
 
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