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Top 10 Training Tips for Peak Performance at Cycling or Walking Events

If you're getting ready for a cycling or walking event this summer or fall, here are helpful tips. We're following these recommendations ourselves as we prep for events coming up.

  1. Get your bike ready early. Don't wait until a month before the ride as local bike shops will be busy with other riders doing the same thing. If you are going to make major changes to your bike set-up, do it soon – don't wait until days before the ride. And if you've never adjusted your bike, make sure your seat and handlebars are the right height for your body!
  2. Is your bike seat too high or too low? Improper seat height can lead to knee, back, and nerve problems. If your hips are swaying or if only your toes touch the pedals, it's too high. If your toes flex up when you pedal, it's too low. You're at the right height if your knees don't lock completely and your foot is parallel to the ground.
  3. Start your training gradually throughout your week. Don't leave all your training to the weekend and then overtrain to play catch up. The goal is to build endurance and strength thereby reducing the risk of injury to your tendons and muscles.
  4. Look into different pedal types, the right pedal can reduce the risk of a knee or ankle injury because it ensures you have your feet in the right position as you use your legs to power the bike.
  5. Numbness or tingling in your hands or shoulders may mean you need a bike adjustment. See your local cycle shop for assistance with bike fitting. If pain persists when not you're not riding, be sure to see your primary care provider or a sports medicine specialist – it could be the sign of a deeper problem involving muscles, tendons or bones.
  6. Short and long distance cyclists often experience groin pain. Proper seat fitting, padded shorts, and frequent standing while riding may relieve your symptoms. However, if symptoms persist when you're not riding, see your primary care provider or a sports medicine specialist for a consultation.
  7. Whether you are a short or long distance walker, listen to your body. Joint pain in the ankle, hip, or knee may mean you need better fitting shoes, custom-made orthotics, or a gait adjustment. If pain in your joints persists, its time to see your doctor for an evaluation.
  8. Walk/cycle at the level your body will allow and use pain as your measure. If it hurts, don't do it. Remember, this is not a race, it's a contribution of your time and goodwill.
  9. Eating right, being hydrated, and getting adequate sleep are essential training tools. And, don't forget about flexibility. Stretching before and after training is important. It reduces the risk of injury and allows you to perform better. No matter what the length of the ride/walk you are doing, all of these training tools will ensure you enjoy the event, and still be able to walk afterward!
  10. If you're walking and have previous ankle or foot injuries, be conscious of the shoes you wear. Part of the route might involve walking in wooded areas as well as on the sidewalk so good solid athletic shoes help keep your foot stable to prevent further injury.

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