When I started training for my first race, I became fast friends with my foam roller. At the time, I didn’t know any better, so I rolled, jammed lacrosse balls into tight knots and hoped for the best. I chalked it up to the toughness required of the sport. Despite my dutiful rolling, the same aches and pains returned. When something is tight, it’s our natural instinct to rub it until it feels better. But what if there’s a better way?
For many cyclists in pain or who feel that something is off, stopping at their local bike shop for a bike fit is often the first line of defense. But what’s going on if you’re still in pain following the fit or even after several fits?
I see this more often than not with clients and I think it’s important to explore a few considerations that a traditional bike fit doesn’t address that can contribute to pain or decreased performance.
Clients often share that they started cycling because they either got injured running or their doctor suggested a lower impact sport to relieve foot or knee pain. Unfortunately, these problems don’t just go away once you’re clipped into a bike pedal. If you’re experiencing pain on the bike, especially knee, calf, hip or hamstring pain, there’s a good chance your foot is involved.
In the last post I challenged you to begin breathing through your nose. How did it go? If you have some structural issues or if mouth breathing is your go-to breath, breathing through the nose can be downright difficult.
Does it really matter how you’re delivering oxygen to your body?
If you’re like most people, it’s easy to get amped up or feel butterflies in your stomach. The breath is the magic switch to turn down your stress level.
Some people are training like crazy, yet still struggling to PR a Strava segment they’ve done 200 times. For others, it’s finding the time and balance in their life, feeling the signs of aging or experiencing low back or neck pain after an hour in the saddle.
These challenges all have one thing in common: the underlying problem isn’t being addressed.
We foam roll muscle knots, pop anti-inflammatories to recover and ice inflamed tendons. We have the best intentions for improving our health and performance, but many common recovery tools and injury treatments are designed to treat symptoms, without actually treating the source of the problem.
As cyclists, we wear our suffering as a badge of honor. In bad weather, we retreat to our basements, aka “pain caves” for weekly winter sufferfests and emerge in the spring ready to dig even deeper.
In a sport where we’re encouraged to leave it all on the road, how do we know where to draw the line between training for mental and physical strength and setting ourselves up for injury?