Most training or overuse injuries can be prevented by following a proper training program. Be sure to warm up and stretch those muscles before you use them in a workout. And don’t forget to stretch them again once you are finished. Most of the injuries which require treatment on the event are related to knees, feet, ankles, tendons and muscle groups. To a lesser degree we see sore necks and backs and some hand numbness. All of these are totally avoidable.
The single most important thing you can do to prevent most of these injuries is to have your bike professionally fit to you. An improper seat height alone can create havoc on knees, legs and Achilles. These types of injuries don’t just happen during one day of riding. It is the repetitive nature of cycling on an improperly fit bike that creates the injury. So one day you could be fine and the next day your knee is sore. This doesn’t happen during just one day of riding. Your body is resilient and will try to heal itself until pushed beyond its own limits.
Do not push yourself past your own ability or endurance level. For example, you find someone you like riding with, your average speed is 10 miles per hour (mph), theirs is 15. Riding with someone who is slightly faster or more skilled than you are can be just the thing to help push you gently to that next level of performance. However, trying to keep up with a much faster cyclist will only serve to frustrate your cycling psyche and put your body at risk for overuse or over-performance injury. Your knees will be the first part of your body to let you know this wasn’t a good idea. The injuries that could occur will most likely stop you from continuing your training while you heal. That’s valuable time lost that you won’t get back.
Again it is important to remember that SMART Ride is a RIDE not a race and there is no prize for he or she who rides in first. Avoid those injuries…slow down and enjoy the scenery.