Is it OK to Ride Every Day?

Peter Glassford
by Peter Glassford
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Is it OK to Ride Every Day?

Cycling has many health benefits but humans are meant to move in a variety of ways and with a range of intensities, so while it can be tempting to do what you love every day, it is also important to mix it up.

For adult cyclists who must fit their bike rides between work and family commitments, it can be tempting to try to ride a little bit every day since there is seldom a chance to ride for extended periods on any single day. Riding most days of the week is not bad and many athletes find ways to ride with their kids, bike-commute to the office, and run errands on many, if not most days of the week, in addition to their training.

While it may be possible to ride every day the question remains: should we?

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

Cycling is a skill. You may not have thought much about the skill of cycling after learning how to ride a two-wheeler, but it is something that takes skill and continued practice to progress. We have skills related to pedaling, maneuvering and also performing pro skills like log hops and sprinting.

Effective skill training requires frequent practice with higher quality and increased focus to maximize our retention of skills. In this sense then, cycling most days of the week is a good idea. For many newer cyclists, riding every day, or more days than not, can be a great way to improve without any major adjustments or focus on hard or long rides.

THE IMPORTANCE OF POLARIZED TRAINING

The risk of riding every day is you will train the same every day. This lack of variety in the training process is one of the most common mistakes in training. It can result in too many junk miles and/or the lack of polarization in your training, meaning you never go really hard and you never go easy enough to develop your endurance capacity. If you follow a plan, include days for recovery, as well as some days focused on low-intensity endurance riding and a couple of high-intensity interval sessions.

SETTING A BETTER GOAL

Using different modes of exercise can help you build and maintain all the elements of your fitness — mobility, strength, cardio and muscular endurance — not to mention overall wellness. Consider adding strength training, walking/hiking and even running to ensure you are covering all your bases and mixing up your mental and physical loading. The benefit is you can use your range of movements when you travel, during bad weather or while you are injured (although you should find you are injured less often with this strategy).

THE BOTTOM LINE

It is not inherently bad to ride every day, but you can likely get more benefit by planning to do some form of movement every day to build consistency and routine into your day while avoiding the common mistake of the same workout each day. Consider how cross-training or working on fitness components like strength or mobility versus adding more days or more time on your bike.

About the Author

Peter Glassford
Peter Glassford

Peter is a cycling coach and registered kinesiologist from Ontario, Canada. He travels frequently to work with athletes at races, camps and clinics. He also races mountain bikes for Trek Canada and pursues adventure in all types of movement. Follow @peterglassford on Twitter, or check out his online and in-person coaching at www.smartathlete.ca.

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