The Bicycling Big Book of Training – Kosecki

Did you know that lactic acid is not the cause muscle soreness after a long ride? That was based on studies on frog muscles done by Meyerhof in the 1920s. The conventional understanding was that lactic acid was a waste product of exercise, and once muscles were flooded with it, they would become sore. In the last ten years, the data suggests that lactic acid breaks down into lactate, which is another  source of energy. Muscles feel sore not from the lactic acid, but from being torn during the exercise process. You know you’ve been around for a long time when your basic ideas of training get thrown out the window. In The Bicycling Big Book of Training: Everything You Need to Know to Take Your Riding to the Next Level, Kosecki breaks down the myths and lays down the scoop on what it is to train in the twenty-first century.

Best of all, it’s available at your local public library!

Kosecki, Big Book of Training Cover Illustration

Kosecki, Big Book of Training Cover Illustration

Big Book of Training Back Blurb

Cycling is exploding in popularity, and you want in on the action. You’re itching to take up a different style, eager to start a new nutrition regimen, or jouncing to compete in one of the thousands of bike events across the country (or the world). But where to start? The Bicycling Big Book of Training is the ideal guide for any and all beginner and intermediate cyclists who are looking to advance their fitness and training while exploring all that cycling has to offer.

Veteran cyclist Danielle Kosecki covers all of the necessary components of a successful training plan, including:

-Nutrition

-Hydration

-Physiology and heart rate monitoring

She also goes into useful detail regarding:

-How the body becomes fit and how that fitness translates to on-the-bike performance

-How to maintain your ideal cycling weight

-Recovery and pain management tips used by beginners and pros alike to keep their bodies in peak condition

Once cyclists understand how to train and teach their bodies how to stay in the game, Kosecki gives a thorough breakdown of every type of cycling event, from fun and leisurely charity rides to hardcore and competitive cyclocross races–including a week-to-week training plan for each! The Bicycling Big Book of Training is an excellent guide for anyone who wants to learn more about the multifaceted sport of cycling and take their performance to the next level.

Kosecki Author Blurb

Danielle Kosecki is the health editor for Glamour magazine. Past writing gigs include More, Prevention, Atlanta Sports & Fitness, and Caribbean Travel & Life magazines and Fitbie.com. Kosecki is a category 2 road bike racer for CityMD Women’s Racing Team and has hopes of eventually tackling the track, trails, and velodrome. A lifelong athlete, she discovered bike racing while dabbling in triathlon after her collegiate soccer career. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

The Resurgence of Cycling

The book comes out at a good time as cycling is experiencing a renaissance. Why is that? It could be that cycling is one of those sports that you can keep doing forever. It’s not like running or basketball and other high impact sports where, after you hit a certain age, it’s time to hang up the sneakers. In fact, older cyclists seem to be able to maintain their speed quite well. I know this firsthand: having recently joined the Tripleshot Cycling Club, there’s quite a few older cyclists who bike laps around me. The surprising thing is that some of them are in the mid to late sixties, maybe even early seventies. I also run and can tell you that no seventy year old guy is passing me. But it’s different in the world of cycling. The secret to cycling’s success could be that it appeals to the baby boomer demographic. It’s the sport where you stay forever young.

Kosecki covers all the major disciplines of biking: road, centuries, racing, cyclocross, and mountain. Best of all, there’s training programs for each discipline. There’s chapters on exercise physiology. There’s chapters on diet. Strength training and flexibility are all about the core these days. Just like overthrowing the myth of lactic acid, the core training precepts of today seem to revolt against the strength training precepts of thirty or forty years ago. Back then, exercises were steady motions, make sure the back is supported. Now it’s all about balance and the core muscles.

There’s even a chapter on your ideal cycling weight. You plug in your height and do a measurement of your wrist to come up with a factor that takes into account bone size. I didn’t do so well here: my ideal cycling weight is 133 pounds. I’m at 155. There’s no way that’s right. The surprising thing is that it’s not even close! I can go between 145 (usually after deathly illness) to 160 (either working out lots or too many pork chops).

All in all, Kosecki’s book is a good read. I felt educated about the latest in exercise physiology: changing views on how the body works (e.g. lactic acid), changing views on strength training (core is everything), changing views on rest and relaxation (it’s as important as training: no more of the ‘no pain no gain’ credo), and changing views on nutrition (more protein, no more carbo loading). Times are changing and it’s nice to see what the latest thinking is. Of course in another thirty or forty years everything we know now will be upended again in an endless cycle. Reading this book makes you wonder how, with the primitive thinking thirty years ago, people were even able to ride bikes and run, let alone compete in races!

Until next time, I’m Edwin Wong, and I’m Doing Melpomene’s Work riding a bike.

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