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Training modifications for disc concerns

Old 09-26-21, 11:48 AM
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Training modifications for disc concerns

My training for the Trans Am Bike Race consisted of a couple hours of intervals 4-5 days a week, with long distance 1-2x/week. Now with an L5-S1 disc concern, the interval training, at least how I approached it 3 years ago, seems to aggravate the back to no end. So I need a different plan. Iíve learned that just doing the long distance doesnít result in improvement Iíd like. Thinking weights maybe? Anybody have the same struggles?
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Old 09-26-21, 12:12 PM
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Sounds like you are doing way too much interval training, back problem or not.
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Old 09-26-21, 02:52 PM
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How much HIIT can you do with your back the way it is? I think twice a week is enough. Maybe only once a week.
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Old 09-26-21, 03:30 PM
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You need a good physical therapist to help you develop a good core strength training plan. Hopefully a PT that can look at an X ray and figure out what will help and what won't. Ask the PT if you can safely do weight training for leg strength and the safest way to do it.

I got a lot of help from a good PT a year and a half ago, she specialized in spine issues.
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Old 09-27-21, 02:39 AM
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Eliminating, reducing or modifying the interval regime is in order for sure. Iíve worked closely with my PT in the past with great results, but this back issue has flipped the script. A stretching and strengthening regime that accompanied the cycling/spinning 3 yo, now has components that piss off the back, so all of that has to be questioned. Hard intervals and some core exercises piss off the back. I still do 100-150 miles back to back even with compromised fitness, but I need to get that fitness back. I will for sure meet with my a PT and craft a plan, but wanted to see what worked/didnít work for others.
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Old 09-27-21, 08:17 AM
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Sounds like you've got some idiosyncratic issues, so there's only so far advice from us in the peanut gallery can be trusted. Agree that 4-5 interval workouts is too many—or they're too low intensity to be helpful.

Have you had a bike fitting? It sounds like your problem is bigger than a fitting will solve, but it might help.
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Old 09-29-21, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
Sounds like you've got some idiosyncratic issues, so there's only so far advice from us in the peanut gallery can be trusted. Agree that 4-5 interval workouts is too manyóor they're too low intensity to be helpful.

Have you had a bike fitting? It sounds like your problem is bigger than a fitting will solve, but it might help.
I have had multiple fittings in the last couple years. The latest has lead to the installation of 145mm cranks to reduce the hip rock. I think it has helped, but isnít the magic bullet.

While Iím using what I can from the medical community, I donít discount what I can learn from others who have had a similar journey. Iím learning on the fly here. Recently I went on a 5 day 600 mile tour. I wanted to see how my body would react to long distance, but slower, low impact cycling. My back reaction was interesting. The first 80 miles I had slight sciatic pain down the left leg(normal for me the last several months)then for some reason, it switched to the right leg. And then it was gone for the duration of the ride. By day 4 I had a tightness/pain in the lower back when I stood. Fairly Ok on the bike or laying down. Solved this by stopping at a convenience store, grabbing a bag of ice and laying on it for 10 minutes. Then upon leaving put 3 s baggies of ice in my back jersey pockets. So in the end the ride helped my back immensely. On a side note, allergies can kick my butt on rides, and I battled congestion and such for most days. The day I got home, I lost my sense of taste and smell. Covid. Iím vaxed. Went on the Drs. Meds, which included HCQ. Doc said during a long convo, that HCQ also has some arthritis benefits. After a slightly tough first day, Iíve felt the best Iíve felt in a long time. I quarantined, but as a farmer I could still work. Very productive days. Now Iím wondering now what I do with this latest experience? More long slow rides? HCQ regiment? More info to sort through.
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Old 09-29-21, 05:15 AM
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I did that race. I do not have lumbar spine issues but do have C2-C7 all hosed up, so, I understand how pain impacts training. As an aside, I crashed on my upright 3 weeks ago breaking my greater trochanter (hip), 4 ribs, shoulder, humerus midway, and shattered my elbow. Interestingly, none of those hurt as much as neurological pain, so, I probably get the effect of your sciatic pain.

I did TABR with no special training. I was just a randonneur. My training was always polarized. Mostly long steady distances with no more than one interval session in 5 rides or once per week if I was tired. The interval session was 6 x 5 minutes VO2 Max up and down the same hill at 350-380 watts, depending on fitness.

My objective on TABR was modest. I entered 2-3 weeks before the start. I planned to do 300km per day and finish in 25 days with limited night riding and never riding in dangerous conditions (nights on bad roads or in blinding rain). I had a lot of problems on the ride but did finish in 29 days.

I was coached for a period of time by a top endurance racer and coach. He would have killed me if I did 4-5 interval sessions per week, each a couple hours. In fact, he would get pissed seeing my power too high on climbs on easy days and told me to either use the trainer or drive to flatter roads. The longest "interval" sessions that I have ever done is 6 x 20 min but at only 88- 90% of FTP.

Once your FTP is at your "best", I think long rides in zone 2 have more value than most appreciate. I really only need one hard interval session per week. The ability to burn fat is very important on these events. You will run out of food for reasons beyond your control. Doing 4-5 HIIT sessions fueled by glycogen doesn't help. It is also my experience that HIIT creates a lot of inflammation, which your back probably does not appreciate.

If you have not had an MRI, get one. Most lumbar nerve impingements can be remedied fairly easily.
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Old 09-30-21, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I did that race. I do not have lumbar spine issues but do have C2-C7 all hosed up, so, I understand how pain impacts training. As an aside, I crashed on my upright 3 weeks ago breaking my greater trochanter (hip), 4 ribs, shoulder, humerus midway, and shattered my elbow. Interestingly, none of those hurt as much as neurological pain, so, I probably get the effect of your sciatic pain.

I did TABR with no special training. I was just a randonneur. My training was always polarized. Mostly long steady distances with no more than one interval session in 5 rides or once per week if I was tired. The interval session was 6 x 5 minutes VO2 Max up and down the same hill at 350-380 watts, depending on fitness.

My objective on TABR was modest. I entered 2-3 weeks before the start. I planned to do 300km per day and finish in 25 days with limited night riding and never riding in dangerous conditions (nights on bad roads or in blinding rain). I had a lot of problems on the ride but did finish in 29 days.

I was coached for a period of time by a top endurance racer and coach. He would have killed me if I did 4-5 interval sessions per week, each a couple hours. In fact, he would get pissed seeing my power too high on climbs on easy days and told me to either use the trainer or drive to flatter roads. The longest "interval" sessions that I have ever done is 6 x 20 min but at only 88- 90% of FTP.

Once your FTP is at your "best", I think long rides in zone 2 have more value than most appreciate. I really only need one hard interval session per week. The ability to burn fat is very important on these events. You will run out of food for reasons beyond your control. Doing 4-5 HIIT sessions fueled by glycogen doesn't help. It is also my experience that HIIT creates a lot of inflammation, which your back probably does not appreciate.

If you have not had an MRI, get one. Most lumbar nerve impingements can be remedied fairly easily.
Thanks so much for your input and so sorry about your crash. Hoping you heal up quickly. Like you and others have suggested, the interval sessions are not smart, especially now. I'm working on putting together a smarter plan. One that will keep me on the bike. My spine Dr. told me I can get an MRI if I want, so I'm looking at doing that after the crop is harvested. What year did you do the TABR?
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Old 09-30-21, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by gif4445 View Post
Thanks so much for your input and so sorry about your crash. Hoping you heal up quickly. Like you and others have suggested, the interval sessions are not smart, especially now. I'm working on putting together a smarter plan. One that will keep me on the bike. My spine Dr. told me I can get an MRI if I want, so I'm looking at doing that after the crop is harvested. What year did you do the TABR?
I know a lot of people who have had the symptoms that you have and some have had relatively minor surgeries to rectify. It has been about 4-5 years since I did it. Typically, if an MRI shows nerve impingement from say spurs or a disc, they will start you with PT for some weeks and if that does not help, then, they might put surgery on the table. As a farmer, I suspect you lift heavy stuff and that tweaks the lower back. Myself, I now ride a recumbent because the reclined position takes pressure off the nerves. If I could have surgery to resolve my cervical spine issues, I would do it in a heartbeat. Anyway, it does not hurt to get the MRI and then get several opinions, assuming you have insurance. GL
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Old 09-30-21, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by gif4445 View Post
I have had multiple fittings in the last couple years. The latest has lead to the installation of 145mm cranks to reduce the hip rock. I think it has helped, but isnít the magic bullet.
I'm no expert (don't even play one on the internet), but isn't hip rocking an indication your saddle is too high?
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Old 10-03-21, 05:46 AM
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this a bit of a hail mary but on long rides, i have found and confirmed reading steve hogg's site that agressive pulling back on the pedal stroke will tire the hip flexors aka psoas muscles, the pain masquerades as lower back pain.

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Old 10-18-21, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I'm no expert (don't even play one on the internet), but isn't hip rocking an indication your saddle is too high?
I don't think you are entirely wrong here, but that was looked at, along with the diameter of the pedal stroke. Going to 145's is designed to help get me back into the game by reducing that diameter. Hopefully I can make this work and eventually get back to the 165's or at least something longer than what I have. The 145's are great on the flats, but if I have to take on numerous hills, my achilles acts up. Always something.
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