Recovering from an accident or rehabilitation for a medical condition can take its time. Motivated athletes are always keen to jump back on the bike quite quickly…..although this is sometimes detrimental to both the healing process and development of a baseline fitness to advance with more certainty. Achieving previous peak performance relies on progressive training and muscle memory. Depending on the amount of de-training experienced and prior training status, the practicalities of each session and rate of progression should be carefully considered to avoid exacerbation of an injury or illness.
Part-time athletes should always factor life-style and work into a strength and endurance programme. If an athlete has not followed normal daily activity for sometime then gradual building of intensity and resistance training sessions for rehabilitation is necessary to create a solid framework and foundations which can sustain the demands of greater volumes of training. Limitations may still exist in terms of weight bearing exercises and degree of movement that can be performed. Prescription of effective sessions are used to work around any restrictions of an individual yet make the most of the session, with a view to longer term cycling specific improvements through each of the tailored phases of a personalised programme.
Over-training syndrome is not easily diagnosed. The condition can manifest itself over a period of months and years, particularly in highly committed racing cyclists who put too much pressure on themselves to perform well over a prolonged period. Even more recreational type cyclists can miss the mark with their training schedule, and experience large declines and erratic performance over time. The ability to recover from what would be classed as a normal training stimulus is seen in changes of heart rate, power, lactate and hormonal markers such as ACTH, DHEA and cortisol for adrenal insufficiency. Suppressed power and lactate values may also be seen at higher heart rates and perceived exertion as demonstrated by Lamberts sub-maximal cycle test.
Many athletes who have not previously performed resistance training in the off-season are unknowingly placing themselves at a performance disadvantage. Rigourous endurance training without appropriate neuromuscular stimulation and recovery is ultimately a catabolic process, meaning that wasting (atrophy) of crucial muscle groups may be advanced.