Too much mountain biking?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Too much mountain biking?

    I started riding mountain bikes again this year. With other exercise regimes l have read that you should not do it every day, that you need to give your body a rest, time to recover.
    Now, due to me being self employed l am able to go out on the bike pretty much every day.
    Do l need to take a break every few days and have a day off? I don't want to do myself an injury! I am fifty years old and while not overweight or particularly unfit, am aware of my age.
    What l will say is so far l have had no ill effects, and my wife says l have never looked better.

  2. #2
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    You answered your own question. You have experienced no ill effects. A visit to your doctor is also a good idea. See what he/she thinks after a full exam.

    I used to ride every day but I would mix it up. Faster flat riding on some days and technical climbing on others.

  3. #3
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    I'm a couple of years behind but have noticed that riding hard more than two days in a row I'll start feeling run down. I can still ride but my legs feel weak and my heart seems to peg the redline much easier. Rest when your body tells you to you'll be fresher the next time out.

  4. #4
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    Listen to you're body, it should tell you when to take a break. I ride 4 or 5 times a week and periodically I take a few days off to re-energize.

  5. #5
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    To my knowledge, no training plan ever recommends seven days a week. But many get to six. Don't increase your volume too rapidly. If you're not sore and you have a lot of energy, you're good to go.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PdlPwr View Post
    I'm a couple of years behind but have noticed that riding hard more than two days in a row I'll start feeling run down. I can still ride but my legs feel weak and my heart seems to peg the redline much easier. Rest when your body tells you to you'll be fresher the next time out.
    I've noticed the same thing. At 50 years old I'm glad that I CAN ride every day, but it does seem to leave the following day's ride a bit slower and more difficult. A couple of days off though, and I can definitely ride my best.

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  7. #7
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    Consistency is key. If you are riding everyday for exercise and one day feels different than another then pay attention to what variables contributed to it. I.e. nutrition, hydration, stayed up late the night before etc...

    Like others have mentioned, listen to your body. I've never had the opportunity to workout everyday but I've always been told it's best to take a day or two off to let your muscles recover and rebuild.
    Let's make like a Bike and get the Huck outta here...

  8. #8
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    I think there's a difference between training every day and riding every day.

    I often ride every day when I can, because I know that eventually life or work will intervene and make me take a day off. My longest streak is 2 weeks, but a week or so is more typical.

    That doesn't mean that I go hard every day. Sometimes the best I can do is a 40 minute ride over my lunch break. Distance, elevation and pace vary with a number of circumstances. And yeah, some days my legs feel a bit tired at the start. But the cumulative effect is noticeable. There is no substitute for saddle time.

  9. #9
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    I once had a bike and no car.

    I rode every single day for ~4 years. Some faster, some slower depending on how I felt. I don't think it is possible to ride too much. It IS possible to over-train.

    Take it easy when you need to. Go hard when you feel like it. But easy riding is probably easier on you then easy walking.

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    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  10. #10
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    Ride every day, train when you need to!
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for the advice, l will carry on going out when l feel good to go.
    Looking at the weather outside today, l think this will be a rest day.
    I have taken advice from another thread l started, and try not to go into my "red zone" where l get so knackered/out of breath that l have to stop and catch up.
    So if l feel this is happening l change down a couple of gears and keep going but at a slower pace.

  12. #12
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    I ride 4-5 times a week and that seems to work for me. I know when I am getting tired and usually take the next day off.

  13. #13
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    Age 55 here. Before a race or whenever I have time to ride every day, I usually do hard rides and easy rides on alternate days. Two hard rides in consecutive days doesn't work for me. On your easy days, you can concentrate on downhill technique and being in the right gear on flats and climbs -- focus on maximum utilization of the little energy you expend.

    The day after a race when I really wear myself out, going on a leisurely recovery ride the next day actually helps me recover more quickly.

    As long as you are having fun, ride. Sometimes when I ride every day I don't enjoy it as much, so I will take a day or two off. It's good to run and especially walk too. I can skip three days and not lose much if any conditioning. A week isn't too bad. More than that I lose a lot. Now that I am in shape (for an old office worker), it takes less time to get back my conditioning.

    I am discovering that L-Citrulline greatly helps prevent sore muscles the day after a ride. I take two 850mg capsules per day, every day. The purpose it's typically sold for, it helps with that too, but not as much as it helps sore muscles :-)

  14. #14
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    Re: Too much mountain biking?

    Quote Originally Posted by lotusdriver View Post
    Thanks for the advice, l will carry on going out when l feel good to go.
    Looking at the weather outside today, l think this will be a rest day.
    I have taken advice from another thread l started, and try not to go into my "red zone" where l get so knackered/out of breath that l have to stop and catch up.
    So if l feel this is happening l change down a couple of gears and keep going but at a slower pace.
    Don't fear the red zone. You just need to understand it. As long as you choose places that make sense to work a little harder, you can recover on the bike. You're already sitting - how much more of a rest do you need?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    You could add some hikes and weight training just
    to mix it up some.

  16. #16
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    I do some walking, l am not sure a half hour walk every night would be classed as a "hike" but it is very hilly round here and there are two hills on my route.
    Anything is better than nothing though! I have been doing this for about five years and it did mean that when l started mountain biking again this year, l had a level of fitness.

  17. #17
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    The answer is in your question itself, yes, absolutely you need to give rest at-least for sometimes.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Don't fear the red zone. You just need to understand it. As long as you choose places that make sense to work a little harder, you can recover on the bike. You're already sitting - how much more of a rest do you need?
    +1

    At some point, momentary or periodic red zone exertions become standard practice, like beating a traffic light (at the crest of a hill) or picking up the draft of a passing bus. You begin to recover very quickly from those efforts so in your mind and to your body they are not much like work because they are comparatively short and recovery is almost instant. I haven't felt like that in a long time, though.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  19. #19
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    I've been doing 4-5 days a week of weights for a decade and 6 months ago switched to 3 days weights 2-3 days cycling. Lately the weather has been so good that I end up with 3 days weights and 3-4 days cycling (always one day off completely--some days are weights and cycling) alternating between road and mountain bikes. Lately the 5th or 6th days in a row are really hard and I feel weak. I'm going to try eating more...

  20. #20
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    The more I ride the stronger I feel. I rode every single day of September and every day of October so far with no ill effects.

    Of course not every day was an epic ride. My standard ride is around ten miles and takes anywhere from a little less than an hour to and hour-and-a-half depending on the bike, how I feel, and the weather. My longest routine ride is around sixteen miles so you see I'm not exactly tearing it up.

    I also work nights and am sometimes pretty tired during the day. I usually take days off but I declared September to be Mountain Bike Month and on the one or two days I didn't want to ride I kind of forced myself.

  21. #21
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    I think one could ride every day..varying bits of length and intensity - I am 43 and not in as good as shape as I would like - went on a week vacation last month - rode every day in Fruita,Crested Butte, and Moab without any problems. Just listen to your body - it will let you know when it has had enough.
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  22. #22
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    You can ride every day but not at the same pace,you keep riding in the same zone your body gets tired,at least once a week make one of the rides very easy,don't raise heart rate at all,if you work of a heart moniter this is called a recovery ride,that's another debate though.so one real easy cruise a week no matter how good you feel.

  23. #23
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    Re: Too much mountain biking?

    Recovery time is very important.

    A couple of weeks I burt out from riding so much, I took 5 days off to recover and man I felt awesome when I hopped back on the bike!!

    There's articles out there about implementing recovery time etc, good stuff.

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  24. #24
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    Too much mountain biking?

    At 45 I'm near you. I have found a few things this year that I think are worth sharing.

    After 25 years biking is still awesome .

    Bike as much as you see fit, more works for you, less works for others. To each his own.

    Spend time in the red zone. Too many people don't and are surprised when they finally have to. Red zone hurts, and you have to get used to that hurt.

    For my recovery days I go out on my touring bike. No one ever expects you to be fast on a touring bike so slow and easy is the rule.

    Recovery is the way to getting faster. I do need more recovery, just a fact of life. I do better with some rest.

    Bill

  25. #25
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    Thanks for the information, last night l went out on what could be called a "recovery" ride, eleven miles on road at slower speeds.
    I actually really enjoyed it, as l am fitter now it was really easy compared to last time l did the same route.

    I know eleven miles does not sound much, but round here there are no flat roads, everything is either up or down. The ride starts with a three mile steady climb, for instance.

  26. #26
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    Great. 11 mile rides can be challenging, no doubt. Taking it easy on a recovery day even less miles is fine, as long as you have some fun and get on the bike. Most of the trails from where I was back in Arizona went straight up and down, so the mileage was misleading compared to the vertical. Seems like you got a handle on it, yes, you can ride every day, but don't over train and make sure to "mix it up" and take easy days.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  27. #27
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    I play rugby Tuesday, Thursday and games on Saturday. I try and fit biking in Wednesday and Sundays and have done for about a year. I always felt fine, what I didn't realize is that the tingle in the bottom of my back that has now turned into pain when I run and is now full grown sciatica in both legs would develop. Doc took a look at my back. the muscle right of my spine is much bigger than the left and the doc reckons that's whatís putting the pressure on the sciatic nerve. She thinks it could be caused by the long distance biking Iíve been doing where the predominant side of my body has pedaled harder than the left ergo developing the muscles further as well as being arched over..

    The thing that sucks is that when Iím biking it doesn't hurt at all. the burning pain comes when Iíve been running for around 10 minutes. As a result Iíve been ordered out of the saddle which Iím really p1ssed about. I do have a tight lower back though and I can see where she is coming from.

    What I'm getting at is listen to your body. if you get consistent tingles or aches. rest till they are gone. My condition can happen in anyone and can go away in time under right conditions. just don't let it get to that stage.

    4 weeks of PT start tomorrow. hope to be back soon!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by PdlPwr View Post
    I'm a couple of years behind but have noticed that riding hard more than two days in a row I'll start feeling run down. I can still ride but my legs feel weak and my heart seems to peg the redline much easier. Rest when your body tells you to you'll be fresher the next time out.
    Same and I'm 24, lol. I usually need a recovery day or two. Now I have an 8 month old so I have A LOT more recovery days.

  29. #29
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    I'm 39. Agreed.....I'm so tempted to exercise everyday cause I'm so active. But realize that after 2 days of back to back suffering I need to rest - like do nothing the 3rd day and fully recover and replenish. Then the 4th day do an easy recovery ride. Day 5, and onwards, go Full-bore again. I also try my best to be VERY conscious of my "levels" and know how to appreciate my time in the "red line". This has been really instrumental in "getting back" my previous levels of endurance from 2 years ago. I think when you look forward to the edge of that redline phase....then know how to weave back and forth from it at will, that's biking nirvana to me

  30. #30
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    I'm 39 and try to ride every day. Now it coul dbe anything from a 5 mile dash down the road, a 50 miler(road) or an half day bash in the woods. Now if you do 50 miler rides every day, it may be a bit much, for everyone no matter what age. A day off hear and there won't hurt anything.

  31. #31
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    My first year racing I road as close to 100 miles per day as I could (unemployment was tough cause I filled my work day with riding). I would vary the workout somewhat (riding several 20s, two 50s, one century, etc) but not the intensity so much. I got slower and slower all summer long. Now I ride most days (perhaps an average of 5 days per week) but I vary the ride intensity more and take days off after long or hard rides to let my body recover. There are lots of ways to tell when you're overdoing it. We seemed to use morning resting heart rate back then. Now I would just look for signs of fatigue. Training Part II ? Peloton

  32. #32
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    5 weeks ago i started riding a 6.8 mile lap around the lake by my house every morning M-F. I dont go hard, just spin out some extra miles on the week.

    I am prone to repetitive motion injuries, and was worried about negative side effects. I was concerned that i would be training my body to do 6.8 miles, and would die out on a "real" ride at the 7 mile mark.

    At the 3 week mark my lower back was getting sore and i was having some pain in the lower back while sitting at work. I thought "oh crap, here we go". That weekend i rode very tentatively and worried my back was gona go out at any moment. Oddly, it didnt hurt at all during the ride and i actually felt better after the ride than i had all week.

    Though i knew and could feel i was really pushing the limits of what my body could handle, i upped the millage last week by throwing in some evening laps around the lake. Again, by mid week the lower back was getting sore. Last weekend we rode a few moderate millage rides, a 17 on sat and a 21 on sun.

    Here is the weird part (or maybe not weird, but definitely not what i expected)... I was crazy strong at the end of the 17 mile sat ride. Rather than die out at 7 miles like i feared, at 7 miles i was just feeling warmed up. The next morning when we rode again, i felt as fresh as if we had not ridden at all the day before. 21 miles ridden strong till the end. This Monday at work we lost an employee, and i wound up out on route for two days. Usually running route makes me sore as hell if i have not done it in a while, yet after two days i still felt great!

    So, in my experience thus far, riding near every day had been a good thing. Looking forward to this weekend's rides, my riding partners are now having a tough time keeping up for some strange reason...

  33. #33
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    Too much mountain biking?

    If your body hurts or is in pain, that's natures way of telling you to stop or not push much longer. Simple as.


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  34. #34
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    Geez, I only wish I had enough saddle time to think I had too much MTB saddle time!

  35. #35
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    Since it's been revived.....

    Once you switch it up and don't ride hard every day and every once in a while take a day or two off and can afford the food if you have a high metabolism, then go for it - wish I could afford to

    BigRing, do you stretch properly after your rides? If you don't then you should start, that is probably all you need to do to stop the aching back when not riding, as riding tends to shorten everything up because of the position, so stretching is VERY necessary/ It's one of my weaknesses as I wasn't very flexible before I started MTBing and had tight ligaments and tendons, but once I remember I feel absolutely excellent after, if I don't, then a few hours later I start to feel it in the lower back and hips.
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  36. #36
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    Stretching, some strength exercises that help balance out your body, and doing other stuff like walking, running, swimming will do a lot to keep you healthy and riding the bike for years. 6 days a week without doing anything else to maintain your body may result in problems.

    Even on the bike you should have easier and harder days, weeks, and months. We aren't machines.....

    With training you can build up to a lot of volume per week, but it takes time and discipline to take it easy. Latest I read was that only about 20% of your training should be intense! the rest should be easier low heart rate stuff.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post

    BigRing, do you stretch properly after your rides? If you don't then you should start, that is probably all you need to do to stop the aching back when not riding, as riding tends to shorten everything up because of the position, so stretching is VERY necessary/ It's one of my weaknesses as I wasn't very flexible before I started MTBing and had tight ligaments and tendons, but once I remember I feel absolutely excellent after, if I don't, then a few hours later I start to feel it in the lower back and hips.
    Before and after. Deep tissue massage aprox once a month. I also go to the gym 2-3 times a week and surf on the weekends.

    The back pain was worrisome for sure, but i think it was my body complaining about the overall increase to what i was asking of it. The lake laps are super chill, i have made it a point to stay out of big ring. The twinges have dissipated, body has adapted.

    Ricko; i have always been a weekend warrior MTB rider, i dont have time during the week either. My lake laps are time i MADE by getting my ass up at 5am and riding for a quick 35 min in the dark before getting ready for work.

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