|My single-speed enjoying the beautiful Biscayne Bay|
After two visits to the chiropractor, and a long discussion with a physical therapist on the impotence of hydration and stretching, I took on week two cycling to work : )
So it turns out, jumping from twenty miles a week to one hundred miles was not a good idea. My muscles were not only over worked, but under stretched and under hydrated. Lesson? Drink tons of water, stretch before and after each ride, and add miles to your week carefully.
Livestrong.com has a super specific breakdown of how to measure your body's water needs. Personally, I started with a commitment to drink at least one cycling bottle of water a day. If after my workout, my urine wasn't clear, then the next time I would drink more water. Simple. Currently, I am cycling about 14 miles/day and averaging 2-3 cycling bottles of water.
Similarly, stretching is also super important. Two weeks ago, I over worked my back because I only stretched my legs. Now, I know that cycling works out the entire body, especially the back. Here are a few full body cycling stretches, with images and descriptions, from About.com. Since learning about the importance of these stretches, I have made sure to stretch lightly after warming up, then fully at the end of each trip: once when I get to work and then again when I get home.
The last major change to week two, was the number if miles I committed to. Although one hundred miles a week is a short distance for a veteran rider, I am a novice: one hundred miles a week is something I need to build up to. So this last week, I committed to cycle to work every other day and gave myself extra time for each trip. Not only did it allow me to stop and take in the beauty of my ride, but even to snap a few pictures in the proces : )
At the end of week two cycling to work, I am happy to say that I feel much healthier. Properly hydrating, stretching, and pushing my body has left me feeling stronger and more confident as a cyclist. It is interesting to see my body develop along side my mind as I push myself as a cyclist.