Question: I’m 40 and have been training for about two years, four or five times a week, 30-40 miles per ride with a 50-miler on weekends. This year I completed the Hotter’n Hell Hundred in Texas in just over five hours.
Now, after many years away from Tae Kwon Do, I started classes for cross-training. My legs feel awful — sore and cramping. I’ve never experienced total exhaustion like this. What should I do? — John R.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: It sounds like you’re experiencing graphic evidence of the specific nature of cycling!
You’ve spent two years spinning circles on a bike. That’s a compliant motion with no eccentric contractions as in running or the bending and stretching of martial arts. Then you suddenly asked your cycling-trained muscles to do Tae Kwan Do. They rebelled first by being very sore and then by going into spasm.
I experienced the same thing when I rode all season and then played city league basketball for winter fun and fitness. It took me several weeks of running and cutting drills to get my hoops legs back. (My shot never returned, but that’s another story.) The older I got, the longer it took.
It should be just a matter of time before your legs come around.
Meanwhile, try to work into the new activity gradually. It would have been better if you’d done some running, stretching and calisthenics for a month before your first Tae Kwan Do class. Remember that next off-season as you make the transition from cycling.