Question: I’ve missed out on the joy of cycling for eight long years, but recently I decided to do some serious riding. I’m finding it hard to control heavy breathing for the first 20-30 minutes of each ride. Is this normal? — Reggie W.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: It sounds like you’re simply starting too fast. Warm up gradually by spinning a low gear for at least 15 minutes.
Some riders don’t feel that they’ve really warmed up until they’ve ridden 10 or more miles. So experiment with a time or distance measure to see what works best for you.
By starting faster, you’re experiencing what runners call “second wind.” You’re placing a big demand on your physiological systems right from the start. They need a few minutes to catch up. Meanwhile, you breathe hard and feel that riding is more difficult than it really is.
After the blood gets flowing, so to speak, your body gets into a rhythm and you feel much better. You can even ride faster with less perceived effort. The solution is to start slower than you have been to let your body catch up to the workload.