Nothing is more saddening than returning to a favorite activity after a long break and finding that you’ll have to start from scratch again. Ultimately, you want to return to training at your previous level, so you’ll have to put in as little investment as possible; however, this is not always realistic, and depending on your underlying circumstances, you may have to ease yourself in.
One popular activity for returning athletes in the U.S. is cycling, with Portland having the largest population of cyclists compared to any other major American city. Although you might be tempted to get straight into the saddle and start peddling if you push yourself too hard initially, you could end up straight back into another hiatus (or worse, injured!).
Whether you took a day off one day and later realized you hadn’t picked up your cycling gear in months or are returning to cycling after injury, there are many reasons why people fall out of love with a hobby. Yet, there are even more reasons to return, and we have some tips for helping you get back into it after a long break – keep reading to find out more.
Do Some Self-Reflection
Before you fasten your helmet, pull on your shoes, and swing your leg over the bike frame, it is essential to self-reflect on why you stopped cycling in the first place, as this will prevent the past from repeating itself and help you determine your goals moving forward.
Did an expected life effect crop up and put a strain on practicing the hobby? Are you returning to cycling after injury? Did you take up another hobby and put cycling on the back burner because it grew boring? Whatever your reason, it’s essential that you address it so that you can put strategies in place to stop it from happening again.
For instance, if you suffered an injury that stopped you from training for months (or even years!), you’ll want to reflect on what happened, how it could have been prevented (if it could have), get a second opinion from a medical professional, and read online blog articles about returning to cycling after injury from insurance providers like Velosurance.
As well as providing customizable policies with a range of coverages and features (including medical!), their website is also full of tips and advice about pretty-much anything cycling-related. From how to layer up for winter rides and maintenance information, consider visiting their website to learn more about their policies and take advantage of their written resources today.
Set Achievable Goals
Another way to prepare yourself for getting back into the saddle after a long break is by setting achievable goals. Ultimately, your goals are personal to you and what you want to get out of the activity; however, they must be sensible.
For instance, there’s no use setting a goal to compete in that marathon in a week after a three-year hiatus, as it’s not achievable, and you’re only setting yourself up for failure, which will not do wonders for your confidence as you get back into the hobby.
Instead, consider what you want from cycling and develop goals. Are you cycling because you want to compete professionally? Or have you taken up cycling again to lose a couple of pounds? Whatever your aims, tailor your goals around them, so they are easily obtainable.
Research Your Routes
It can be easy to hop onto your bike and revisit an old route or trail because it is familiar. However, even after several months, your muscles can still remember your old bike route, meaning it might be easier than you think. This can give you a false perception of your cycling skills even after a month/year-long hiatus which can cause more damage than good.
Moreover, your old bike route might not be as familiar as you remembered it several years ago. Years ago, it might have been a picturesque cycling trail surrounded by lots of nature, but since your hiatus, the area might have been deforested to make room for a new housing development.
Therefore, to avoid a nasty surprise, it is wise to research your route beforehand (even if it is familiar). Use a notepad or the notes application on your smartphone, and jot down where your course will start/end, the duration, and how frequently you will go on this route.
Once you’ve noted all these points, keep it with a collection of your other routes so that you can refer to it whenever you want to go on a bike ride. This way, you can choose a bike route suitable for any time of the day and any duration so that you don’t get caught out and end up on a path that is too advanced or long for your skill set.