Twelve weeks post my patella surgery, I embarked on a cycling journey. I started with a 5-mile loop that had its fair share of hills, although I had to dismount and walk one of them. The next day, I pushed myself further, covering 6 miles, but had to walk up another challenging hill. It took an additional two weeks before I felt comfortable standing while tackling inclines, which marked significant progress from where I had started.
I continued cycling several times a week, focusing on rebuilding and strengthening my quad, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, as these muscle groups had suffered significant atrophy during the six weeks of non-weight-bearing post-surgery. I was thrilled that my post-op cycling journey was finally underway.
However, a few weeks later, an unfortunate incident occurred. While descending a flight of steps, my left knee unexpectedly popped. I couldn’t help but wonder if I had pushed myself too hard, too soon. Relative to what I used to do before surgery, my longest ride had been 15 miles, with most falling in the 5-10 mile range. So, I didn’t think I had overexerted myself.
In response to this setback, I wisely decided to take two weeks off from cycling. I reverted back to my “Couch to” training plans, recognizing that my muscles were still in the process of recovery and development. This experience offered valuable insights into common mistakes that people often make when restarting a training plan after an extended break. Here are some key lessons to keep in mind:
- Overestimating Fitness: I have never had this much time off and low strength and endurance so did not realize my fitness declined very significantly, despite a gradually start, I probably did too much intensity too soon without proper endurance, Zone 2, intensity
- Neglecting Bike Maintenance: I was riding my mountain bike on the road and my shifter broke, I was a mile from home so walked up the hill and coasted down. Ensure your bike is in proper working condition by checking brakes, tires, gears, and overall functionality before heading out.
- Skipping a Proper Warm-Up: My warm up is now my main set. Prepare your muscles for exercise and prevent injuries by spending a few minutes on dynamic stretches and easy pedaling before starting your ride.
- Ignoring Flexibility and Mobility: As part of Physical Therapy, my main workouts are regular stretching and mobility exercises to prevent muscle tightness.
- Neglecting Strength Training: As part of Physical Therapy, my main workouts are strength training to so the allowed me to start back on the bike and my upper body is stronger than ever.
- Lack of Proper Nutrition: My nutrition changed and I dont eat the amount of carbs I do when I am in training mode. I need to readjust and remember to fuel with a balanced diet that supports my new training routine for energy not just recovery.
- Skipping Rest and Recovery: My friend told me he is overtrained and under recovered. My response was “I am undertrained and over recovered” Adequate rest between rides is essential to prevent burnout and overtraining.
- Ignoring Bike Fit: Ensure your bike is adjusted to your body’s measurements and needs to prevent discomfort and potential injuries.
- Neglecting Hydration: With my lack of training brought under hydration. Stay properly hydrated before, during, and after your ride to maintain performance and recovery.
- Setting Unrealistic Goals: Begin with achievable goals and gradually progress rather than aiming for overly ambitious targets. I NEED TO FIGURE THIS PART OUT
- Comparing to Pre-Break Performance: This is so difficult for me not to think about where I was, and how long it will be before I am there again. Focus on your current abilities and celebrate small victories without comparing yourself to your pre-break performance.
- Ignoring Pain or Discomfort: I learned my lesson. I went to urgent care immediately after my left knee popped. Address any pain, discomfort, or unusual symptoms promptly to prevent them from worsening.
- Not Listening to Your Body: This was a huge lesson learned while lying on the couch for 6 weeks. Pay attention to how your body feels and modify or skip a workout if you’re fatigued or not feeling well.
- Skipping a Proper Cool-Down: Allocate time for a cool-down after a ride to aid recovery and reduce the risk of muscle soreness.
- Not Seeking Professional Guidance: This was tough, I have my Physical Therapists to discuss what I can and should not do, and since they are not performance coaches or understand my ability pre surgery they could not advise much. I don’t have a coach to guild me safely and effectively so have to rely on coaching myself 🙂
Remember that consistency, patience, and gradual progression are crucial when resuming training after a hiatus. Listen to your body, enjoy the journey, and prioritize your health and well-being.
Join Our Awesome Newsletter!
When you sign up for our free newsletter, you’ll receive a weekly publication jam-packed with Health, Fitness and Performance Advice PLUS you'll receive a special 33% discount code to our Training Plans on Training Peaks and other exclusive sponsor deals! What are you waiting for!? Add your email below and click Subscribe.