Does the body remember



easygoer

New Member
Jun 26, 2003
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Hi,

I am 51 years old and stopped serious riding about 12 years ago.
I used to ride on average 60-80 miles 3 times a week. I am wondering if the body remembers this or do I have to begin traing from the begining again?

At the moment I have begun riding a half hour a day with a HR of 120. Its about all I can do comfortably. Average speed is 19kmh.
 

J-MAT

New Member
Mar 26, 2003
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Easygoer:

The only part of the body that can remember anything is your brain. You will for sure have to start over.

It will be easier because you have experience and know what it took to get to your previous level of fitness. Your half hour rides at 120 bpm are proof fitness does not stay with you.

It's no big deal though, you can easily get back to your previous level, even surpassing it if you want. It will just take some time. Be patient, don't overdo it too much, and watch your knees. Progressively add more miles and more intensity. As you get older, the cartilage in the joints wears out. Always take care of your knees!!!

Good luck!!!
 

unfitbutslim

New Member
Jul 6, 2003
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Hey, easygoer, I'm in exactly the same boat! I have tried to ride many times during the last six years or so and have always failed. I always tried too hard and tried to ride like I once had. The hills around here are the biggest problem for me and always bring sore knees. This time its going to be different! I had to start out with 15 min. rides three times a week to get going. I rode four times last week at 10 + miles per session. The legs are feeling a bit better.

I'd stick to three times a week till your ready for more. That means no back to back workouts. More time for recovery.Take it easy on the hills and build up slowly. Find some flat rodes even if you need to drive there and spin. You'll be able to spin longer and grease them joints. I'm shooting for 500 base miles and then I can start training more seriously. Good luck and let me know how your doing, Rick.
 

VeloFlash

New Member
Feb 26, 2003
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Most certainly. It is known as 'muscle memory' and I have seen it at work in various sports.

Sportspersons who have not practised their sport for years decide to make a comeback and rocket past persons commencing that particular physical discipline.

I have seen former competitive swimmers who have not been in the water for years and after only a few sessions just reeling off the mindless laps.

Edit: Here is a discussion on 'muscle memory' relating to music and makes reference to cyclists' neurological patterning

http://www2b.abc.net.au/science/k2/stn/newposts/388/topic388082.shtm
 

Geonz

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Jul 5, 2003
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Yup, it's faster to come back than to start over.
And then there's the recent studies about the innate variation in how long it takes a given individual to Get In Shape. Seems there's a lot more variation in the species than most people thought, and it just takes some of us less (or more) time than others to get from huffing and puffing to fit and fleet. So if you've been able to "come back" quiclkly before, you'll probably be able to do it again.
 

easygoer

New Member
Jun 26, 2003
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Well I am already feeling a little better on my rides. Still short trips but averaging 22kmh for a 45 min ride I think my experience and training are not all in vain.
 

fatbadger

New Member
Jun 5, 2003
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well you will definately be better off starting again now rather than if you had nether cycled b4
 

easygoer

New Member
Jun 26, 2003
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Originally posted by unfitbutslim
Hey, easygoer, I'm in exactly the same boat! I have tried to ride many times during the last six years or so and have always failed. I always tried too hard and tried to ride like I once had. The hills around here are the biggest problem for me and always bring sore knees. This time its going to be different! I had to start out with 15 min. rides three times a week to get going. I rode four times last week at 10 + miles per session. The legs are feeling a bit better.

I'd stick to three times a week till your ready for more. That means no back to back workouts. More time for recovery.Take it easy on the hills and build up slowly. Find some flat rodes even if you need to drive there and spin. You'll be able to spin longer and grease them joints. I'm shooting for 500 base miles and then I can start training more seriously. Good luck and let me know how your doing, Rick.

Hi unfitbutslim, I'm taking your advice cos I have been getting lower back probs plus a general feeling of being rundown for the last few days.

Tough knowing what I could do once, it takes awhile to realize the fact.

Thank's for your advice
 

serottarider

New Member
Jul 11, 2003
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You say that your knees hurt. I often find that my new clients arrive with poor positioning on the bike. Commonly, the saddle is set too low which will tend to stress the knees, particularly if the rider is habitually using low cadence and big gears. Back pain is also often a result of poor positioning or over-big gearing, particularly when climbing.

I'm a bike fit fanatic. I'm absolutely convinced that getting --and keeping-- the bike fit correct is the first crucial step in the improvement process. As you become fitter your position on the bike is likely to change, so be prepared for adjustments in the future!

As Andy Pruitt says, position on the bike is a compromise between the human body, which is somewhat adaptable, and the bicycle, which is somewhat adjustable.

As we age (I'm 56) our joints and muscles become less resilient and less flexible and that adaptability decreases, making the adjustability piece even more important than before.

I recommend taking the bike to a licensed cycling coach, or to a good local bike shop, to get your positioning set up correctly.

Build a good base of mileage before getting into more stressful training like intervals. Enjoy the rides, and stay aerobic with a heart rate between 60% and 75% of your maximum on the flats, climbing seated at up to 85% of your maximum at a cadence of 65 rpm or more at first. A heart rate monitor is a really good investment.

Don't worry too much about speed when getting back into cycling after a long layoff. Use time on the bike to record your training.
Work on maintaining a good cadence (80 - 90 rpm) and occasionally spin up to 110 - 120 for a few minutes, using a very easy gear.

Good luck!
 

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