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riding too hard in races, can it hurt you?(11 posts)

riding too hard in races, can it hurt you?ishmael
Apr 5, 2002 12:44 PM
ive asked this question before but didnt get the answer i wanted so im asking again...can you damage yourself, maybe even keel over and die, if you over-exert for too long a time...if you were fat and out of shape i could imagine it happending, im not sure if even that is true, but if it could, it seems logical that even an in shape person could injure themselves if they went hard enough....
I think soRockyMountainRacer
Apr 5, 2002 1:00 PM
I say yeah, especially if you aren't quite up to the level of exertion you will be doing in the race. For example, let's say you're going to do a 40 minute crit. You're going to go pretty much as hard as you can the whole time--or at least a lot harder than you ussually go in training. If you haven't been doing enough intervals in training (or you don't have enough miles in your legs), you're going to hurt your legs by straining a tendon or muscle. Another example--about a month back I did a fast group ride where we hammered for about 55 miles. I had ridden well over 50 miles as long slow distance many times by this point, and I'd been doing many interval sessions as well. Still, my body wasn't ready to hammer for that long, and I ended up straining something in my left knee. I then had to take the next week really easy to make sure the tendon or ligament healed up before I could go hard again. And the worst part was I didn't feel a thing wrong with my knee during the ride due to adrenaline and competitive desire or whatever. So I would say that it is definitely possible to injure yourself by going too hard without enough of the proper training.
I think soishmael
Apr 5, 2002 2:31 PM
i also hurt my left knee from going too hard for too many days...but i was thinking more about a cardio-vascular injury...i bring it up because trying to catch the pack in races has made me really feel like crap sometimes, so much so that i think it must be bad for me....there is always a level of over-exertion no matter what shape you are in, fat or pro racer, and pushing it feels awfull and bad for you..then again there are alot of pro racers who live to a ripe old age, i think...
I think soRockyMountainRacer
Apr 5, 2002 2:43 PM
In that case, I don't think you can give yourself any kind of cardiovascular injury. I think the body would force you to slow down long before something happened like your heart exploding! Brider's post below me I think is right on about the "self-limiting factors." Pushing your limits often feels really painfull, and I know the sick to your stomach feeling that can come when you've been anaerobic for too long. I think those are the first of the "self-limiting factors" showing up--you're body is telling you that it doesn't like what you are doing to it. And to reply to what Brider said about overuse injuries being caused by too much volume and not one workout, I agree. But there is always one workout that pushes you over the edge!
re: riding too hard in races, can it hurt you?brider
Apr 5, 2002 2:23 PM
If you're taking the race as an isolated case, I'd say no (unless your'e talking about passing out and crashing). The biggest problem would be with some one that had a pre-existing condition, such as coronary blockage, dehydration, etc. A normal, healthy person will undergo a self-limiting factor -- lactic acid build-up and not being able to take in enough oxygen will force the person to slow down. As for the tendonitis, and the knee condition that the other person mentioned, well, those are overuse type injuries and won't happen just because you did one hard session. They're accumulated over time.
Good questionshirt
Apr 5, 2002 3:45 PM
And I'd like to know the answer. Last year I did a couple races back to back and didn't have the best base (first year back since 88'.) For the last 20 minutes of the second race my HR was in the 185-190 range. I sprinted for the finish and barely got third. I happened to look down at my monitor at the line and saw 202, the highest I'd ever seen in my life (I'm 36.)

I felt like SH*T. I felt as though I'd been dropped from a three story building onto pavement. That feeling lingered for weeks and my season was over.

My guess is that if I'd done a proper base period the winter/spring before I would have been okay. I haven't ridden that hard yet this year, so I can't test that theory. My intentions, however, have been better than my practice. I've done less than half the slow base miles I wanted to do, but I've still done more than the year before.

Thoeretically, it could kill youallervite
Apr 5, 2002 4:16 PM
But as Brider suggests, there are plenty of warning signs. You would have to be one tough or stupid SOB to push yourself that hard. Greek and Roman foot messengers were famous for killing themselves during a very long hard run. Death by exhaustion is a reality, but extermely rare.

The kind of pain you describe is probably not bad for you, but it is a sign that you are in over your head. An intermediate cyclist will "blow up" and be done for days. A pro will "blow up," slow down, and recover enough to go hard again.

As for tendonitis, it is an overuse injury, but the term "overuse" is relative. It is possible and not that rare to develop tendonitis after one hard ride. It happens a lot when a rider who is really fit starts doing another sport that requires a different use of the tendons. Take for example running. You have a rider with an enormous aerobic engine and he takes up running. He is not breathing that hard, so he pushes himself. His heart and lungs are doing the same old job, but his legs are doing a new one.
Thoeretically, it could kill youishmael
Apr 5, 2002 8:39 PM
so that still leaves the question unanswered...does your body have a self-limiting mechanism which would ultimately leave you passed out or do you not have a internal self limiting mechanism and therefore you die...i need an owners manual
Interesting question...Wayne
Apr 8, 2002 11:26 AM
answer probably isn't known. Is it even a valid question? Is there some by-product of hard exercise that could kill you? I've never heard of anyone dying from an all out max effort or even long repeated max efforts. People who die from exercising always die from heart attacks, or heat stroke, etc. not directly from the exercise. I think you would pass out before you could actually die from exhaustion. Women used to die in childbirth all the time from a combination of blood loss/exhaustion leading to shock but in that case the muscle contractions weren't voluntary like they are in exercise.
I've read that Tim Noakes, the South African exercise physiologist, has proposed some sort of central limiter (as opposed to something in the exercising muscle) for hard exercise performance but I don't know the details of it. It used to be thought that lactic acid in the muscles/blood was what caused you to have to slow down but that's not believed to be the case anymore by most people. Over the last 5 years or so, lactic acid has been recognized as a critical energy intermediary in ATP production and in fact critical for high intensity aerobic exercise. It probably is not what makes you have to slow-down or limits your power output when you're going really hard. A much better case can be made for inorganic phospate being the metabolite within the muscle that limits force/power output with hard exercise. Nonetheless, i'm sure for the foreseeable future people will talk about lactic acid. Afterall, it used to be thought that it was what limited your power output (a problem of confusing correlation with causation), and your legs do burn with hard efforts, acid burns, right? So we will probably go on with people talking about lactic acid build-up/burn being what caused them to back off for a long time. It's just now starting to make it into the better exercise physiology books that lactic acid isn't the big bad guy it was once thought to be.
Phidipides legend (a bit off topic)brider
Apr 8, 2002 8:44 AM
Just responding to the reference to Greek foot messengers. The only one I know of is Phidipides (the one ran from Marathon to Athens to announce the victory, then died, and is the inspiration for the modern "marathon"). I read an explanation somewhere that kind of debunked this one, not saying it didn't happen, but that it's not the whole story. First, this guy ran a message TO the battle site, then fought the battle, potentially gettin ginjured in the process, then ran the 22 miles to Athens, made his announcement "Rejoice, we conquer" and keeled over. So it wasn't ONE run that killed him.
Phidipides legend (a bit off topic)James Curry
Apr 8, 2002 10:35 AM
That's great! I remember that from school! I just ran a race this weekend a 10K foot race in S.C. Felt great, so I ran it again to cool-off. So a warm-up of 2 miles, race for 6.2 and then a 4 mile cool-off run.

I have never done that before-I smoked in highschool. I say with the proper conditioning you won't die. The human body is a wonderful and tough thing.

On another note, certain weather can kill you.

All of those football players who died last summer from heat exhaustion are one example.

About 5 years ago 5 Army special forces trainees died in the swamps of Northern Florida from hypothermia.

But you don't kill people and your coach isn't bobby bowden so I wouldn't worry about it!