Newbie Knee Pain

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by petersta, Sep 15, 2003.

  1. petersta

    petersta New Member

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    Hi there,

    I am relatively new to road riding, and one of the biggest challenges I have been adressing is trying to increase my pedalling cadence and spinning rather than hammering away on a ride.

    To that end on a group ride this weekend I decided to stay in the small chain ring all the time (it was a gentle "recovery ride" 35 miles avg speed 18.5mph). A couple of hours after riding I started getting a pain behind my right knee. It feels like a muscle pull or a strain, it doesn't feel like a problem with the joint itself.

    My question is do you think this was caused by trying to spin consistently at a higher than usual cadence, and if so is it best to rest and build up cadence speed more gently?

    Thanks for any replies.

    Peter
     
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  2. zaskar

    zaskar New Member

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    most times when knee pain is in front of knee the seat is to low,
    when it behind the knee its to high. when the lbs fit me to my bike
    they raised my seat and right after that my legs behind knees
    started hurting i rode like that for a week then lowered my seat pain went away, and it hurt more when my cadence was high.
     
  3. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Sounds like you're going way too hard, too soon. 35 miles at 18.5 would be a good recovery ride for a Lance Armstrong! I don't know your age or previous fitness, but I'd suggest about 5 days off the bike altogether, just doing some walking and light stretching for the knees. Then, start back in an easy gear, say 39/19 only, for about 10 miles. Build up slowly in miles and loads over a period of 30-60 days to avoid reinjury.

    Just my $.02....professional advice would be better.

    Dan
     
  4. i2ambler

    i2ambler New Member

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    Ive noticed that one or two of my knees will hurt if I am pushing too hard. Ive only been riding for 5 months or so. I did 35miles friday at 19.5 mph and my knee started to hurt just as I stopped.. 19.5 is the fastest avg for 35 miles Ive ever had! A recovery ride for me is 16mph for about an hour.
     
  5. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    That is a fast ride for 35 miles, particularly for a first-season rider. But, it takes at quite a while to build up strong ligaments and joints to handle heavy loads/big gears. Pain at the end of the ride means you've just gone too hard. Be careful you don't get into chronic injuries in your first year of riding....you don't want to have to quit cycling early because of bad knees!

    I hate to sound like the old fogey I am, but over four decades of riding, I've always found that too little training is better than too much....especially too much too early in the season.

    Concerning recovery rides, assume you're talking about a gear of 39/17 or lower, and HR around 60% of your max or less. Any harder than that isn't really recovery IMO, just more training.

    Dan
     
  6. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    petersta:

    Spinning requires less leg force to produce the same power as mashing at a lower cadence, but it's important to note that spinning will cause more muscle/tendon/ligament soreness than mashing.

    People are into cadence these days because of Armstrong, but it's hardly anything new. Many, many decades ago, Tour riders used fixed gear bikes in time trials, averaging about 120 rpm at 25 mph for an hour. That's legspeed!!!

    Also, spinning when going fast is the byproduct of having power, not the other way around. In other words, you don't spin to produce a lot of power, you spin (if possible) because you have lots of aerobic capacity.

    If you want to go fast and don't have lots of aerobic power, you won't be able to use a high pedal cadence. You will be forced to use heavier gears and mash the pedals, using leg strength to power the effort.

    That's why many riders have to mash when climbing or time trialing, but can spin when cruising easy. If they worked on high-cadence power efforts, they could spin when jamming instead of mashing.

    Professional riders do recovery rides slowly at 12-13-14-15 mph, using low pedal cadences. Recovery rides done right are so slow, kids on bikes might go faster than you do. Also, about an hour at the most is more than enough time for a recovery ride. If you went 15 mph for an hour, that's only 15 miles.

    When recovering, the idea is to pump oxygenated blood through your legs. The intensity/speed necessary to do this is extemely low. It's not really possible to do a recovery ride too easy, but many riders do them way too hard.

    Forget about "training" when doing recovery rides. You do recovery rides so you can do more training on another day.

    If you are really trying to recover, you need to ride very, very slow, and turn the cranks slowly, like 60-80 rpm or so. Heart rate is not at all important, except that many people need to use hrm's to ensure they don't go too hard.

    If you are going so slow that you feel like you are wasting your time completely, you are probably going slow enough. If you are not sure, ride even slower.

    You should be able to breath through your nose with your mouth closed and not feel the balls of your feet on the pedals when doing recovery rides. Be gentle.

    So should you spin??? Yes, but not on recovery rides. Be patient, legspeed will come in time. Spinning is a neuromuscular skill that anyone can learn. However, when recovering, more spinning is not going to help very much if at all. It might contribute to even more soreness.

    It could be said there is nothing wrong with high pedal cadences when recovering, but then again, there is nothing right about them either!!!

    Happy spinning & recovering!!!
     
  7. petersta

    petersta New Member

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    Great replies,

    thank you all very much. My knee has recovered and is behaving, but I take the point about recovery rides being a lot slower than I was pushing.

    I guess it's just the over eagerness of a newbie!

    Thanks again,

    Peter
     
  8. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    I read once that most people training on their own go too hard, too often. As J-Mat said, an HRM is handy to get you to slow down in training. I've used one on and off for 10 years with running and biking, and found it really forces me to slow down. I believe in training at 60-75% of max most of the time. Then, on the hard training days when you're preparing for an event, you're muscles are ready to do some quality work. Just my $.02.

    Dan
     
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