Back on the *new* turbo. Sadly, this one (like the Empire) strikes back


A functional turbo trainer, complete with resistance

I managed four days without any running or cycling. The tendons appear to be grateful for that but I’m still struggling with the irony of having to stop running in preparation for marathon training.

On Sunday I was up in London helping our younger son with some decorating and in the evening we went to supper with some eminent medical friends (David the orthopedic surgeon and his wife, a consultant rheumatologist). As a bonus to a very good evening I was shown some appropriate stretches!

The first is well-known – face a staircase, put the ball of one foot onto a stair and allow the heel to sink as far as it goes. Hold that for 10 to 15 seconds and then put the other foot beside it, remove the first foot and allow the heel of the second foot to sink, and repeat.

That works well and, I think, is designed to ensure that the fibres of the tendon stay aligned and stretched.

The second is a bit more complicated and is designed to improve the hip flexors. Kneel facing away from a wall, pull the right heel up to the right buttock and move back to the wall so the right knee is at the base of the wall and the right shin is against the wall with the foot upwards. Then move the left foot forward into a position it would be in doing a lunge, and straighten your torso.

That was a real stretch – and I felt a twinge in my right hamstring as I wriggled into position. I think I’ll work up to that one, starting with simply pulling the heel up to the buttock in a standing position and then straightening the torso and pointing the knee straight downwards.

On Monday I was back on the turbo – but not any old turbo – a new one! Well, a new one to me at least – it’s an Ebay special. It’s a simple one with fluid resistance, adjustable only by using the gears on the bike – but it has ‘Elite’ written on it, so it must be good.

I was sure old one had lost much of its magnetism and so was providing less resistance. Just one session on the replacement has reinforced that view. Sadly, the new one has plenty of resistance.

I rode for just 30 minutes, managing 16.64km @ 33.3kph (10.34miles @ 20.7mph). It’s been a long time since I used anything but top gear for the turbo.

It was hard. Previously, with less resistance, I could sit in top gear and spin quite fast – I worked very hard and appeared to cover good distances but it was like cycling fast on the flat. In comparison, the extra resistance feels like dragging an anchor while cycling uphill. I can, in effect, reduce the gradient of the hill by dropping to a lower gear, but the anchor will still be there.

So, goodbye to ‘vanity speed’, hello to improved workouts.

Recently, I don’t think exercise has been causing my tendon problems, but it does seem to have been stopping them getting much better. The idea is that, after the 4 day’s rest, I reintroduce the turbo, gently, to see if the improvement continues.

On that basis I was wondering what reaction there might be to the first exercise for a few days. The following morning, the jury is still out.

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