Back on the bike

Today I made my return to cycling following appendix surgery. I opted for the turbo trainer, the logic being that if I felt any pain I could stop straight away. I had been advised by the surgeon to give it 2 weeks before returning to ‘normal duties’ and this felt about right for making a return to light cycling. It still feels a bit soon to be running or heavy lifting but I thought an easy spin on the bike would be good for the body and mind. It’s been surprising how quickly my body has recovered from the op. If I’d had open surgery rather than keyhole, my recovery period would have been far longer. This is an approximate timeline:

Day 1 – Recovery in hospital. Immediately following surgery, the acute pain to my abdomen disappeared. A constant supply of strong drugs eased the pain of surgery and I was discharged from hospital that evening.

Days 2 – 5 : Recovery at home. Mostly laying in bed taking painkillers and antibiotics and watching old DVDs.

Days 5 – 7 : Moving around the house with minimal discomfort. I stopped taking the strong painkillers and tried to be guided by my body. If I felt any pain or discomfort I stopped whatever it was that I was doing and rested.

Days 7 – 10 : Returned to light duties. No pain from the abdomen area. Soreness from the incisions, particularly the central one. This was possibly from clothing rubbing on the hardening scar. I used ‘Bio Oil’ and did some light massaging of the scar at the recommendation of my wife who’d had a caesarean last year. It should be pointed out that the level of sympathy I was receiving at this stage from Mrs BikeVCar was understandably hovering between minimal and none. “Pffft, Call that a scar?!”

Days 11 – 13 : Feeling back to normal. Going about my normal day but resisting the urge to exercise.

Day 14 : Did an easy 30 minutes on the turbo trainer. It’s been quite cold and wet recently so despite my normal reluctance to use the turbo, today it seemed preferable to stay indoors.

Looking ahead I plan to take another week or two of light exercise before doing anything more strenuous to ensure I’m fully healed. It’s probably the best time of year to have something like this happen. With the short days and grim weather I don’t feel like I’m missing too much at the moment. Roll on Spring …

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Sweat and sawdust mingling on the workshop floor 

Noises in the garage

Not much activity for the car or the bike this weekend

Not much activity for the car or the bike this weekend

After a health dump of snow across the UK this weekend, road cycling is currently off the agenda. My attention has switched to shovelling snow off the driveway and going hiking. There was also a small amount of pseudo-cycling when I set up the dreaded turbo trainer in the freezing cold garage on Sunday evening. There isn’t really much of interest to say about turbo training which is why I rarely do it. I started off cold and quickly became a hot wreck, leaking sweat and dribble all over the bike and garage floor. It certainly wasn’t a pleasant sight, but was contained within the privacy of the garage so shouldn’t have caused any alarm to the neighbours other than a constant whirring noise for 45 minutes.

Strange noises were coming from the garage

Strange noises were coming from the garage

Indoor interval training – keeping it interesting

In order to alleviate the boredom of indoor training I have decided to carry out a couple of structured weekly workouts. I intend to use the turbo trainer twice during the week and try to get out on the road at the weekend if I have the chance.

Of these two indoor sessions I will be trying two different forms of interval training with the intention of increasing cycling speed and endurance (plus the need to continue burning body fat without my daily commute as we head towards the eating and drinking season of the year).

The first type of workout is a simple interval training session. This week, following a 5 minute warm up I carried out three 15 minute intervals of what I perceived to be a hard intensity. These were separated by a short break of about two minutes to allow myself to recover.

I tried to maintain a cadence of around 110rpm with a moderate resistance on the trainer. On the second and third interval I finished with a 60 second sprint

This resulted in a steady increase in heart rate (and a puddle of sweat beneath the bike)

The second type of interval training I have begun is a form of high intensity training known as ‘Tabata’. There’s a bunch of information available online about it, plus it’s been around for a while so I’m not going to bore people with too many details. But basically I warmed up for 4 minutes, rode 8 x 20 second intervals at my max speed with a short 10 second break between each set, and then ended with a 4 minute cool down. The attraction of this type of training is that it only lasts 12 minutes in total, and the pain is confined to a 4 minute window. The downside is that very little light comes through that window and the burning sensation in the legs, lungs and back of the throat never really has quite enough time to disappear.

Short, sharp spikes of activity

Small jumps in heart rate but not enough rest time to properly recover

There appears to be quite a lot of science behind both of these methods of training and it’s easy to find out more with a little searching on the internet. Personally I find that they offer enough of a challenge to motivate myself to complete each session properly and have alleviated the potential boredom from an essentially mundane activity.