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Cycling for the unfit - help!

(12 Posts)
FaithLoveandHope Mon 01-Jun-15 22:23:38

Hi All,

I'm trying to get back into cycling and its not going too well. Even the 10 minute commute to work is knackering me out. How do I ease into it without feeling like my lungs are going to explode? Feel like an idiot being so out of breath after such a short time.

prettybird Mon 01-Jun-15 22:30:54

How good is your bike? What type is it and is it heavy? What's the gearing like?

You might be using more energy than you need if, for example, it has knobbly tyres.

It will get better. Maybe don't push yourself too much just yet until you've got more used to it - but as a general technique point, it's better to keep in an easier gear and "spin" more than to try to grind round a tough gear.

FaithLoveandHope Mon 01-Jun-15 22:59:33

prettybird it's a mountain bike which probably doesn't help but I can't afford to buy another one. I'm finding even in the lowest gear I'm getting super out of breath! Can't believe how shockingly unfit I am tbh. I used to run all the time but since sustaining a long term injury which I'm seeing a specialist about I haven't done much exercise - Physio told me to stop running until I can get the issue resolved. I was hoping cycling would be a good, low-impact way to ease myself back in.

Do you think I'm better off doing a cycle every other day rather than every day? Is 10 mins each way really enough to build up my fitness or do I need to push myself further?

prettybird Tue 02-Jun-15 08:28:08

Could you afford to get new tyres? Slicks as opposed to knobblies. That would use less effort.

Yes, it would be good if you could go further - but give it some time, the 10 minutes each way will add up. I read somewhere that sessions of at least 20 minutes start really seeing improvements. Also, (apparently) doing the whole distance at the same speed is not the most effective way of getting fitter - doing it as interval training (alternating, say, a few minutes slightly wink faster with a few minutes much slower).

On a practical note, have you oiled your chain? Does your bike need a service?

Dh is having to cycle rather than his preference run, due to a knee problem. It's not quite the same as running as you can't "lose" yourself while cycling, due to the need to maintain concentration, but it still adds up.

BlueChampagne Tue 02-Jun-15 12:25:22

Just coming on to add encouragement to prettybird's good advice. Keep at it, and even alternate days is better than giving up. It's all the more frustrating if you are used to being fit, but if you've been a runner, I'm sure you've got the mental toughness to keep at it.

CMOTDibbler Tue 02-Jun-15 19:41:13

Just keep on, and it will get easier and you'll be able to go further.

Last Jan my dh could barely manage 3 miles on a bike. He's done 2000 miles since the start of 2015!

BlueChampagne Wed 03-Jun-15 12:54:23

Wow CMOTDibbler - go your DH!

swashbucklecheer Wed 03-Jun-15 12:59:05

The lowest gear is only good for hills! On the flat you need to be up the gears a bit to pedal at a more comfortable rate and make sure you are still getting somewhere

bearleftmonkeyright Wed 03-Jun-15 13:05:07

How many gears do you have on your bike? Stick to the smallest chain ring on the front and when going up hills make sure you move up to the highest cog on your back wheel. Those are the gears you should be in for hills. When you are on flat move down and try and push it until the gear starts to roll and you will have some momentum. Keep going, it took me a good few months to get going on a bike. I am in my fourth year of "returning to cycling" after the kids and can do 30 miles on a Sunday morning run now. Good luck.

PhoebeMcPeePee Thu 04-Jun-15 21:39:37

In a moment of madness last September I signed up for a 100km bike ride despite barely ever riding beyond the local shops very very rarely. I started going out for 30-40mins twice a week plus did a general cardio class for my lack of base fitness. I routinely had to walk up hills & was bloody knackered at the end but very gradually I increased the distances & times, pushed myself up more hills and last week completed my 100km in under 4.5hours grin

I would say like running the first 10/15 minutes are the hardest as you're still warming up so definitely extend your commute or add at least one longer ride a week. Enjoy grin

FaithLoveandHope Thu 04-Jun-15 22:49:48

Thank you so much all. It's really encouraging to read your comments smile

Phoebe that's fantastic, well done!! And CMOT's DP too, well done to him!

pretty chain has been oiled and I think it's all fine, DP's pretty good at sorting things like that out for me.

BlueChampagne Fri 05-Jun-15 22:37:14

Keep it up. Keep the Faith

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