Tuesday, 20 January 2009

No More Early Morning Rides for Me

I have always enjoyed early morning rides. The air is fresh, in the summer there is often a crispness to it that makes riding that bit more enjoyable. On the weekends, especially Sunday, there is very little traffic on the road. But then I read this in the february Cycling Plus magazine. Is there really a risk of heart attack or stroke the early in the day one rides? But still, it is a very useful guide to when to ride and certainly hard evidence on stopping at that café for lunch!


Early Morning: Go steady
Virtually all bodily functions are at their worst when you wake, plus you’re unlikely to have had any substantial food intake for 10 hours so energy stores will be depleted. To top things off, exercising early will leave you more prone to injury – or worse. “Research shows this is the most common time of day for suffering heart attacks and strokes while exercising” said Professor Waterhouse of Liverpool John Moores University. If you’re heading out early make it a steady ride and focus on the mental strength that goes with toughing it out when your body is at its worst.

Mid-morning: Pump iron
Though most functions that benefit endurance exercise will be improved from early morning may be a good time for strength training adaptations may be better. “There’s a strong argument for doing weight training in the morming if you’re trying to build muscle” said Dr Stephen Bird of the School of Human Movement Studies in Australia, “because testosterone, the hormone most responsible for muscle-boosting is at its highest around this time”.

Lunchtime: Give it a miss
Nearly all bodily function experience a lull in the middle of the day, particularly lung function and body temperature, which are crucial to cycling. Ideally avoid lunchtime for training but if there is no other option than make it a steady ride and save the tough stuff for a day when you can train later.A lunchtime ride may not do much for your cycling, but it could do wonders for your work. “Exercising during a working lunch break perks you up and is likely to make you more productive in the afternoon” said work-place psychologist Mike Clinton.

Mid-late afternoon: Speedwork and time-trials
Physically there are no negatives connected with this time of day – the only drawbacks are likely to be psychological. Mentally we’re at our best shortly after waking and things just get worse as the day goes on. Consequently, many people report that the hardest part of training in the mid-to-late afternoon is simply getting out of the door. But if you can summon up the mental strength, you should find you go faster at this time than any other, so it’s ideal for time-trials or speedwork, where you’re looking to get the best out of yourself.


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