Body not recovering



coateshaaf1

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Jul 3, 2009
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I need help. I have been riding for a couple of months now and I am having a problem with recovery. After my rides my thighs are shot for days. When i go up steps my legs are burning on the second step. Some how they don't really hurt when I ride but everything else I do they hurt constantly. I am over weight and understand muscle soreness but I'm just not sure if this is normal or not. I think it isn't normal cause my wife isn't sore at all. I usually do around 20-25 miles and avg 16mph I know its not much but for me I about full out. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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My first thought is you're pushing yourself too hard too soon or perhaps slugging away at big gears or maybe sprinting over hills instead of pacing them. Perhaps not, but general riding to build base and fitness shouldn't leave you as sore as you describe.

It takes time to build cycling speed and there really aren't a lot of shortcuts. Steady efforts that get you breathing deeply and steadily and require focus are much better for most folks and definitely for someone without a lot of miles in their legs than gut busting hard short efforts coupled with easier periods.

If you're already doing longer steadier efforts and still feel that sore then I'd start by thinking about the gears you ride and whether you're trying to push big gears without developing some base first or perhaps it's a bike fit issue but what you describe isn't typical or desirable. Sore legs after a particularly hard race or interval session is pretty normal but not for run of the mill training rides.

Good luck,
-Dave
 

coateshaaf1

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Jul 3, 2009
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Well it is possible that I'm going a bit hard. On my rides my monitor says that my avg heart rate is 160 its a bit high but I'm just out of shape I guess. As for the big gears I always keep my cadence around 90 so I don't think its that. I did get fit for my bike but i guess that still could be an issue if they didn't do it right.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Probably not a fit issue, almost any bike shop can get you close enough that you shouldn't be sore after most rides.

Sounds like it's not slammin' big gears either if you're riding gears that allow you keep your cadence up.

So based on what you've posted I'd strongly suggest riding at your own best pace that gets you breathing deeply and steadily but not gasping or unable to hold at least a halting conversation. Try not to totally hammer over short hills but try to ride in a way where you maintain steady pedal pressure and go quick but not all out.

And just ride as well, I mean get out and do some longer rides where you just check out the scenery or go somewhere new. Especially at the beginning it's a real good idea to get used to being on the bike and find out where it can take you on a nice day. All rides don't have to be training and you'll stick with this longer if you enjoy being out on the bike. But that means you shouldn't really beat yourself up on those longer rides or you'll end up hating the torture machine instead of looking forward to bike rides.

Anyway, good luck, try backing off a bit and give yourself time to adapt to a new activity. Go quick when it's fun to do so, but not to the point of limping around after your rides.

-Dave
 

SolarEnergy

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Aug 15, 2005
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coateshaaf1 said:
I need help. I have been riding for a couple of months now and I am having a problem with recovery.
hmmm interesting question here I find.

At first sight, I wouldn't say your situation is abnormal. The key here, is that you've been riding for (only) couple of months. In other words, you are at the very beginning of a build phase.

coateshaaf1 said:
Some how they don't really hurt when I ride but everything else I do they hurt constantly. I am over weight and understand muscle soreness but I'm just not sure if this is normal or not.
Being overweight probably adds to the issue a little bit.

Consider any advises issued by other members (I saw that you got fortunate enough to get Dave's attention). The little penny I can bring to this thread would be that *sleeping habits* (both quality and volume) will have a significant impact on this crying leg syndrome.

Do you feel you sleep enough? In the past, have you gathered any clue that your sleep may be of poor quality? (any sleep disorder?)

I have gathered little under 10 consecutive years of serious training. It took me a significant number of years before getting rid of this crying leg syndrome. I am not overweight, (and never have been), and just like you, it is climbing stairs that used to **** my legs off. Even today, I am always surprised at how quickly *normal* people can climb them. Even on my way to the gym (3rd floor), where I am by very far the StairClimber expert. No one (at this gym) can beat me at the climbing machine, not even come close. But yet, day to day stair, when not fully rested, I have to climb them little slower than most people, otherwise the legs cry.
 

hod65

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Jun 24, 2009
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started cycling bout yr half ago doing bout same mileage as u 25miles or so ,had same problem even walking short distance legs would get stiff . i never do 2 days in row this gives leg muscles chance to heal rest very important first few months .dont have problem now or very rarely anyway ......its worth it in the end ..good luck.
 

skammer

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Sep 17, 2007
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If you are running an average of 160 every day, I would back off a little bit on 1/3rd of your rides. You need a recovery ride or two where you aren't killing yourself. I am assuming that 160 average is up there for you.

Couple things:

1. watch your hydration
2. watch your foods add some bananas and more simple carbs. You may be in a regular state of low fuel. There are many experts on here that know a lot more than me, but if you are trying to lose weight, the worst thing you can do is to cut your food intake so far back that you don't have what it takes to recover and fuel your body.
3. pay attention to your heart rate...If you are having a day where your HR doesn't want to drive, then listen to your body. On the days where you feel spunky, then go for it. Trying to make your body do something it is not up for on a given day can many times be more harmful than helpful. I use my HRM as a barometer of how i am feeling on that day.
 

Wlfdg

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Apr 17, 2009
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How's your diet?
Are you getting enough protein?

Are you eating fruits and veggies with strong anti-oxidant qualities?

Are you eating enough high quality fats?

Are you hydrated?

Are you giving yourself enough cooldown spinning at the end of a ride?

Women are not a good measuring stick for anaerobic effort soreness. Estrogen is a powerful lactic acid buffer.
 

coateshaaf1

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Jul 3, 2009
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Wlfdg said:
How's your diet?
Are you getting enough protein?

Are you eating fruits and veggies with strong anti-oxidant qualities?

Are you eating enough high quality fats?

Are you hydrated?

Are you giving yourself enough cooldown spinning at the end of a ride?

Women are not a good measuring stick for anaerobic effort soreness. Estrogen is a powerful lactic acid buffer.

The answer to all questions are probably no besides one cause I do a good job of staying well hydrated. I really don't know how to or what to eat to eat properly. It has never been an issue for me. I have been an athlete my whole life and when the sports stopped the military started and when that stopped i gained nearly 100lbs. Now i'm stuck in unchartered territory trying to claw my way out of the huge hole i have put myself in. I really do appreciate all of the help you all are giving me I have been trying the advice given to me its just really hard for me to not go as hard as I can the entire time I train cause that all I know. I will say that relaxing, going longer, and skiping days has been helping. Now I feel torn about the fact that i'm not as sore because I'm not as sore cause I'm not working as hard. As you can see I'm a little confused but I am extremely appreciative of all the support and would love for you guys to keep it coming.
 

Wlfdg

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Apr 17, 2009
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First piece of advice "Stimulate, don't annihilate!"

Second, I am a natural clyde and a former pro athlete. Since turning 40 I have had a hard time eating the same way I did and maintaining a reasonable level of bodyfat. Just short of 90 days ago I started the Paleo diet based on Joe Friel and Loren Cordain's books.
I FEEL AMAZING!!!!!
I've lost bodyfat, increased strength, increased energy and my rate of recovery has improved beyond what I thought possible.

It was an easy transition for me since I don't eat dairy or consume alcohol. I pretty much just transitioned dried fruit, grains, legumes and tubers out of my diet. I made up the balance with veggies and fruit.
I have since begun reducing the amount of fruit I eat per day.

Might want to give The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet for Athletes a read.

There are a lot of detractors of this way of eating. What I have found is that these people are threatened by the idea of grains being inferior forms of nutrition. Otherwise they wouldn't become so abusive and defensive over it.:confused:
 

skammer

New Member
Sep 17, 2007
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I think the bottom line is to maintain your "death march" rides, but mix in some lower intensity longer rides. Just shaving 5% off of your level of effort will help you recover more readily. Just add some distance in to offset things. You will still burn the same amount of calories over the long term. You cannot hammer every day all the time without giving your body a chance to reel itself back in. It winds up being counterproductive.
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
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daveryanwyoming said:
Probably not a fit issue, almost any bike shop can get you close enough that you shouldn't be sore after most rides.

Sounds like it's not slammin' big gears either if you're riding gears that allow you keep your cadence up.

So based on what you've posted I'd strongly suggest riding at your own best pace that gets you breathing deeply and steadily but not gasping or unable to hold at least a halting conversation. Try not to totally hammer over short hills but try to ride in a way where you maintain steady pedal pressure and go quick but not all out.

And just ride as well, I mean get out and do some longer rides where you just check out the scenery or go somewhere new. Especially at the beginning it's a real good idea to get used to being on the bike and find out where it can take you on a nice day. All rides don't have to be training and you'll stick with this longer if you enjoy being out on the bike. But that means you shouldn't really beat yourself up on those longer rides or you'll end up hating the torture machine instead of looking forward to bike rides.

Anyway, good luck, try backing off a bit and give yourself time to adapt to a new activity. Go quick when it's fun to do so, but not to the point of limping around after your rides.

-Dave


What he said...

... and make sure you're getting enough protein and carbohyrate in your diet.

Don't be afraid of taking time off too. If it is a training/cycling issue then you should be feeling better after a couple of days off the bike, especially if you set aside the time you would have ridden the bike to actively rest - ie sitting your butt down in a comfy chair and relaxing or submerging yourself in a nice hot bath and shutting out the rest of the world... It works wonders from time to time.

Remember, the cycling is supposed to be making you feel better/fitter - if it isn't then there's something wrong. Have fun!
 

ystress

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Apr 1, 2009
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Much good advice is available in this forum. I have similar story. A former strong athlete, but 70 lbs over weight. Started biking last July to loose weight and really struggled at first. Here are some things I have learned so far:

- Exercising on the bike is great, but keep your goals low. I am no longer the athlete I used to be, so I needed to learn how to be the athlete I am today. I used my cycle computer to make weekly improvements in average speed and average heart rate on the same route. Some days were good and others were not. It is about overall progress.

- Weight loss is a simple formula based on how many calories go in your body and how many come out. If you put out more calories than you take in you will loose weight. Sounds simple, but after six months of lots of biking I had only lost 10 lbs. I used The Daily Plate on livestrong.com to log my caloric intake (food) and caloric output(exercise & life). I was rigorously honest about both intake and output. I discovered that I was consuming way too much for my output (even with the exercise). I changed my eating habits to eat smaller meals 5 times a day. At first I did not make dramatic changes in the food types. I just worked on changing the total calories per day. Once I had adjusted to eating less (smaller stomach = less hungry) I began adjusting the quality of the food I was eating. This adjustment felt more naural as I was more aware of what I was eating by this time. Since February I have lost 50 lbs.

- Enjoy the process. It has been a huge upheaval in my life to change my mind set about food and exercise. Making time to exercise regularly is tough. Dealing with the self talk about not exercising as hard as I think I should or viewing a day off the bike as unproductive is as much a part of this change as doing the exercise. Find the parts of this change that give you positive feelings and be sure to enjoy them when they happen.

- Pain will happen. I personally have a high pain threshold, so I tend to keep going well after I should. I erred on the side of caution when I started out this journey. I had some great ice packs for my knees that I would use after every ride. I also had to add stretching to my post ride routine. The ice, the stretching, many ibuprofen and taking it easier then my instincts were telling me really helped me get through the pain.

- Find some better riders to ride with. On the days you want to push yourself, it really helps to ride with others. They will challenge you during your ride and push you to become a better rider. If you find a good group, they can help you learn how to work as part of the group and hopefully encourage you as you improve.

Somewhat long winded, but I hope this helps.
 

akellas

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Jul 26, 2009
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nutrition is a huge factor when it comes to recovery.

within 30 minutes of finishing your ride, try to have some carbs and protein in a 4:1 ratio with as little fat as possible. for example, find something with about 40g of carbs or sugar and 10g of protein. good sources of this are non-fat drinkable yogurts, non-fat chocolate milk, or a turkey sandwich.

an hour or two after this, try to get a wholesome meal of proteins, unsaturated fats, and carbs, but stressing the proteins. lean-meats, nuts, avacados, fish, things like this are all good. throw in a decent amount of veggies for good measure.

personally, i do my run/ride in the afternoons. so during the day i supply my body with the fuel it will need for my workout in the form of fruits and grains. that is what my breakfast/lunch/snacks are primarily composed of. i'll then do my workout and immediately after have a drinkable yogurt with 4:1 ratio of carbs and proteins. then i'll shower and settle down and prepare my dinner that contains a good amount of proteins and veggies.

not trying to rewrite your whole diet or anything, but i'd recommend giving this a shot (as well as backing off the intensity for a few of your rides, as other members have recommended) and see how you feel.
 

coateshaaf1

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Jul 3, 2009
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Well I really don't know whats going on. I took 4 days off and my legs where still a little sore. I went on a ride after the 4 day break and felt terrible. I had been feeling stronger and stronger on my rides and although I was in pain I was getting stronger. I don't understand why after a 4 day break I would feel so bad. My wife left me in the dirt and had me looking at my bike to see if was working properly when I realized that it was me that wasn't working properly. I went slower with a higher heart rate on the same route I had just did days ago. I'm just gonna chaulk it up as a bad day and hope I feel better today. I am working on my eating habits even though its really hard between me riding and having two jobs it doesn't really leave time for preperation of proper meals. I just appreciate all of the feed back. Thank you every one
 

Wlfdg

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Apr 17, 2009
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coateshaaf1 said:
I am working on my eating habits even though its really hard between me riding and having two jobs it doesn't really leave time for preperation of proper meals. I just appreciate all of the feed back. Thank you every one
How much sleep are you getting?
 

Wlfdg

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Apr 17, 2009
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In My Professional Opinion- It would be to your benefit to put in a more concerted
effort on squaring away your eating habits and setting a consistent sleep pattern.

I can't highly recommend enough The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet for Athletes.
Since the 3rd. week of Paleo eating my body has been thriving on 6.5hrs. of sleep. That's with 2 - 3 training sessions per day, 6 days a week. In general I go 13-14 days without a rest day. I'm 42 yrs. old. I have 2 "part time" jobs.

With nutrition and sleep in order you can focus on training. Vary the intensity of your rides and throw in an active recovery day maybe every 4th day.

Once you get the controllable variables in order then you can rules those out if there is a continuing problem.

Good Luck!