There’s a hoary old saying in running circles that goes something like this – if you’re a runner you’re either injured, recovering from an injury or about to get injured. Now, before I started editing Cycling Plus I worked on the UK’s best selling running magazine and was a pretty serious, ahem, athlete. And I can attest to the fact that that old chestnut is pretty much spot on.
In my decade on CP I have – like many of you I’m sure – continued to mix my cycling with running. Variety is, after all, the spice of life and no-one wants to be a one trick pony do they? (My tennis is really coming on as well…). As I get older, though, one thing has become increasingly obvious about my chosen sports – while falling off a bike causes impressive and dramatic injuries, cycling itself is actually pretty body-friendly. But every time I lace up a pair of Asics I end up in pain.
Of course, I do what any decent health and fitness ‘expert’ would do – ignore the grumbles, neglect to stretch, don’t bother resting and end up hurting myself even more. That’s where Amazon Prime comes in. Once the pain gets to the point that it actually stops me running, cycling, playing tennis or enjoying contract bridge I take action. And that action is taking advantage of one-day delivery to order a bit of injury prevention or rehab kit that I’ll use once or twice and then chuck in the hall cupboard.
As the picture above shows I’ve built up quite a collection. One day I might even open a museum. Let me run you through the things I don’t use…
Knobbly Foam Roller
Foam rollers are magical. They’ll cure everything from tight hamstrings to male pattern baldness. We’ve run a number of pieces – this one for instance – extolling their virtues. They’re also quite uncomfortable to use and I get easily bored. Never know, it might make for an interesting garden feature though…
Small foam roller
Why have one foam roller that you don’t use when you can have two? I bought this piece of hard, German-made foam as it could provide more focussed agony relief to my Achilles tendons. It’s currently providing focussed clutter in a sideboard drawer.
Oooh me back… Really long rides, even on bikes built to my fit, leave me hobbling and clutching my back like Dan Martin after a Tour stage. So naturally I bought a back stretcher. Check out the dust on it. I don’t use it. Dan, call me, I’ll give you a good price.
This is the most expensive bit of recovery kit I’ve bought. It’s cheaper than employing a soigneur, but it doesn’t provide any ‘bants’, fill my drinks bottles or pick me up from the airport. To be fair, on the three occasions I have used it seems to provide some pain relief. It’s just that I’ve owned it for three years…
My Achilles tendons are like Blu Tack that’s been kept in the freezer overnight. And they always, always ache. The best thing for them is to stretch them out, and it’s really easy to do for free – a bit of eccentric work on a slightly raised platform or the bottom of the stairs. Or you could buy what are essentially big blue moon boots that you wobble about on for a bit before stashing away on top of the wardrobe with your Skeletor fancy dress outfit.
If I had to choose between removing hair from the plughole or working out in the gym, the household chore would win out every time. These bands mean that, in theory, I can work out in the comfort of my own home. I’ll take them out of the bag once the bathroom is clean.
God I hate stretching. Maybe I’ll just make a catapult with these and fling all the other stuff in this list over the garden fence…
Rob has been pedalling Cycling Plus since 2007. His first proper road bikes were a Raleigh Sprint in the early 1980s and then a Trek 1000 in 1999. A former competitive runner, Rob has repeatedly threatened to become a competitive cyclist in every discipline from time-trailling to hill climbing to bike polo. We're still waiting.