ever get confused about the best way
to warm up before a ride and how to
cool down when you're finished? Or,
what you should eat on a long ride and
when? Or, when you should use electrolyte
drinks and when you should use water?
In part two of this interview, world
class duathlete Diane Stibbard answers
these questions and more:
what to do-how
to do it
how to boost recovery time by seventy
when to supplement with food during
and after long rides
water or electrolyte drink?
how to properly
like Diane to be your personal trainer.
. .stay tuned. Starting next month Diane
will offer training programs for women
cyclists on womenscycling.ca.
talked a little bit about cross-training.
How important is cross-training during
the summer season?
I think it's important
in terms of working the body differently
to help prevent injuries. Generally
injuries occur because of a repetitive
motion, unless, like I said earlier,
there is a structural reason. Anything
that's done day in and day out, whether
it's running, cycling or any kind of
sport, is going to stress the muscles
in a repetitive way. So, cross-training
is important to build the other muscles
and let the muscles that are focused
on during cycling take a rest.
Cross-training is not as important in
the summer months. It will probably
take up to ten or twenty percent of
your total time in the summer versus
thirty to forty percent of your time
in the winter. You can cross-train with
weight training, which builds leg strength
and develops the strength of the muscles
and the ligaments that you use when
you're biking. You can cross-train by
running, or using the elliptical in
the gym. You can cross-train using a
variety of activities but generally
you want to stay away from using the
same muscles that you use in repetitive
motion during cycling.
Swimming is a great
activity because it's non-weight-bearing.
And it's also wonderful because when
you've done a long, hard ride, it will
allow your body to flush out toxins,
or lactic acid left over from a ride.
And when you swim you work your upper
body predominantly and not your legs
so you're allowing those muscles you
use in cycling to rest.
is also very good for the back. . .
Yes! It's actually
good for the vertebrae because it allows
the vertebrae to lengthen. When we sit
on a bike for long periods of time,
it compresses the spine. Sitting is
the worse position you can be in for
spinal health, so swimming is great
because you're basically in a flat position.
about the best warm-up exercises?
You want to do warm-ups
and cool downs that are specific to
biking. There's no point going out for
a long walk and then jumping on your
bike because you haven't warmed up the
muscles you'll be using when you go
for your ride. You always want to warm
up by doing the activity that you're
going to be doing.
For example, if you're going to do a
tempo run, or run intervals, you always
do a fifteen or twenty minute light
jog. And then you go in and you do your
intervals, or your hill repeats, or
whatever. It's no different on the bike.
Do your warm-up and cool-down exercises
on the bike. You want to make sure you're
in a small chain ring in a light gear
and then just spin at a higher cadence.
If you're a 90 to 95 cadence cyclist,
then you want to be in the 100 to 110
RPM range. It varies depending on what
your average RPM range is. This will
warm up the legs so you're not putting
a lot of pressure on the legs when they're
cold. At the end of your ride, do this
again. Cooling down will flush the legs
out if you've done a fairly intense
ride or a long ride.
for how long?
Again, it depends
on the individual. Some individuals
don't take that much time to warm up.
But the rule of thumb is at least ten
to fifteen minutes. And it also depends
on the time of year. Right now (in May)
it's a little colder out and our bodies
need longer to warm up. You might extend
your warm-up to twenty minutes. But
in the hot summer months, ten to fifteen
minutes is usually enough.
Many people don't understand the benefits
of cooling down. Cooling down and flushing
the legs out can actually aid your recovery
process by sixty to seventy percent!
A lot of people get off the bike as
soon as they finish the ride, and jump
in the car and go. Cooling down, flushing
the legs and spinning loosely for a
good fifteen minutes at the end of your
ride is going to benefit your ride the
next day and subsequent days.
So if you're going out for an hour ride
you've got fifteen minutes to warm up,
then your half hour ride, then fifteen
minutes to cool down?
Yes, and then again,
in the summer months you might be able
to cut your warm-ups to, say, ten minutes
and then cool down for fifteen minutes
and this would give you a bit longer
in your actual ride.
Warming up and cooling down are overlooked
by a lot of people. When you're young
you can get away with it but when you
get older you need to allow the body
to warm up slowly instead of just jumping
right into it. We're all pressed for
time but if you don't warm up you can
get injured. If your muscles haven't
warmed up and limbered up, you can sprint
up a hill and then strain a hamstring
or a quad. So, I always recommend to
my clients, instead of just taking off
on your ride, locate somewhere fairly
flat to begin your ride and warm up.
I'm not very
good about warming up. I probably warm
up for about 2 km and then I'm off.
What I find interesting too is that
I find I don't really feel totally warmed
up for about twenty to twenty-five minutes
and then I can go all day.
that's the thing, a lot of people take
longer. I'm one of those people. It's
always been like that. It's not just
because I'm getting older. Whether I'm
running or riding I always allow myself,
depending on the time of year, anywhere
between twenty and thirty minutes to
I live in a hilly area. Does that mean
I should avoid any hills for that twenty
minutes, because that would be kind
you ride hills before you've warmed
up you've defeated the purpose. You
can't warm up if you're climbing up
a hill. Try to locate a flat area even
if it's a city block. Wherever you find
your flattest ground, just ride there
for at least ten to fifteen minutes.
Then on the first climb make sure you're
not pushing yourself like you normally
would. Back it off a bit until your
muscles have really warmed up. You might
not have the opportunity to put in a
good twenty to twenty-five minute warm-up
but if you give yourself at least fifteen
minutes and then back it off for the
first one or two hills you're going
to find you're going to have a better
What about stretching exercises? I generally
do a few stretches before and after
are so many controversies around stretching
and the benefits of stretching, and
whether you should do it, and whether
it does any good. I'm an advocate of
stretching but only after the ride,
once your body and your muscles are
warm and limber. If you stretch cold
you can cause injury and tissue damage.
You may not necessarily feel it right
away but it can accumulate. The only
area that I would stretch before riding
is the lower back. But again, it depends
if you have areas of the back that are
causing a problem. I'm a big believer
in stretching but only after the body
is warmed up. continued
on page 2
Do you have a
question about cycling you'd like us
to answer? Send
us an email.