Hello there. I am looking for your thoughts with respect to the following things:
- I feel that I’m learning very slowly. I practice 5 times a week with each session lasting 72 minutes and after 20 hours of practice, I can go on average only several meters before falling. My current personal best is something like 9.5 meters. I’m not getting frustrated too much over this, as I experience tiny but consistent improvements from session to session.
However, I’d appreciate any ideas regarding what to do to speed the learning process up a little bit. Currently, my training session is composed of repeated attempts that consist of mounting using trash can as a support and then trying to go as far forward as I can go, while trying to keep my weight on the seat, my knees tucked in (not to flare them sideways) and trying to maintain momentum and balance. I also try to look forward instead of down.
- This point is more serious. Since during my practice sessions I dismount very often, it has taken its tool on my left leg. The thing is, up until the end of last week, majority of my dismounts were to the left as after takeoff I either immediately tilted to the left (which is logical, since my mounting support is on the left) or after couple of rotations losing my balance, making sharp turn to the right and then falling to the left side. Since last week I also gained enough confidence to increase my speed, the dismounts were progressively rougher, partly due to the fact that I learn on 24".
Towards the end of the last week, I started to experience pain near the outer part of my left tibia. Initially the pain was present only in particularly rough dismounts, but it gradually became very sensitive to the point that in the mornings I tend to limp slightly while walking until it sorts of warms up. Today I also discovered that the outer part of my left calf is slightly bruised. I try to accommodate this problem in training by going slower and trying to land on my right leg, but once in the while I experience a rough dismount on my left leg and the pain is then considerable.
I wonder whether such pain is a normal occurrence during the learning process, whether I can expect it to slowly go away, or whether I should take couple of weeks off training, to let it rest and heal? Or are there any other remedies? Also, if I would take a break, whether there are any exercises that I could do meanwhile, which would be beneficial for developing riding skills but do not include rough dismounts (such as practicing rocking backwards and forwards near the fence, etc.)?