Muscle Recovery: empty legs from commuting
Warm up/stretch first.
I used to live on the side of a valley, and then 5 minutes from the bottom of the track to the center of the village from where the road went to my 6form college.
Even though the ride was only 4 miles long, I used to get very weak/sore legs – worked out that 5 minutes of descending a muddy track followed by 5 minutes of riding/freewheeling down a road to the bottom of the valley made my non-warmed-up legs even colder. AND then going up the other steep side [usually in a rush ‘cos I was late] was what was doing my legs in.
I started walking for a minute or two through the village and riding slllooowwwllllyy up that big hil – problem sorted. A little stretching also helped 🙂
Also you may need to apply a little more cream. MTFU cream 😉Posted 4 years agorewskiMember
Sleep, mine used to get restless and spasms which kept me awake, try and up the magnesium. SIS do a nightime recovery drink called nocte which is high in mag, expensive though. Just eat more spinach and yogurt. Maybe a bit obvious but slowing the pace on a few days will help too.
Edit: Nesquik contains magPosted 4 years agoBlobOnAStickSubscriber
Take it easy for a couple of days – don’t try and get a higher average than yesterday every day? It’s amazing how dropping your speed by even 1mph reduces the workload on your legs. Once you’re recovered, decide on a programme of fast days/recovery days.
I often drink a bottle of chocolate milk within 20 minutes of finishing my commute in if I know I have to cycle home again – I like to think of the sugar going straight into my muscles and preparing them for the ride 8 hours later. I have no real idea if it works like this or it’s psychological but I usually feel good on the way home. Difference is, my commute is 50k.
….or MTFUPosted 4 years agozilog6128Subscriber
Pretty similar to my commute, my experience was exactly the same when I went from doing it a few times a week to everyday. For me it was just a matter of my body getting used to it, but I also realised I couldn’t spank it full chat every day if I wanted to do some decent evening/weekend riding as well!
Personally if my legs are starting to feel it I find that a decent stretching/foam rolling routine (AFTER riding) works wonders -better even than time off the bike.Posted 4 years agobristolbikerMember
My commute is ~13 miles each way – as they’ve ^^^ said, it’s basically a case of getting used to it physically, and getting used to it mentally, in that you won’t be able to ride it full on, both ways every day. Find out what works best for you food/drink wise and sleep as much as you can (mat. leave accepted…).Posted 4 years ago
Try drinking chocolate milk
Hmmm .. milk is out – I’ve pretty much given up milk (apart from cheese and the odd porridge at the weekend). My nose is considerably better off without it!
Ensure tyres are pumped up to their max if its just on the road
It’s mainly tarmacced cycle path – crumbly in places and a bit rougher than road. I run 28mm tyres at 90psi which seems to be a good compromise between rolling resistance and bone-rattling.
don’t try and get a higher average than yesterday every day
Mmmm.. yeah I generally aim for 45 minutes or less. I could back off a bit.
For me it was just a matter of my body getting used to it,
Yeah there is plenty of that going on – noticed a few new muscle groups on my legs 😀Posted 4 years ago
As a result of my missus being on maternity leave (and thus being available for the nursery run) I’ve been able to commute by bike 5 days a week, instead of just 2 or 3 days I was doing previously. 😀
But my poor ickle leggies hurty me..
So Rule #5 or should I be doing something to help them recover between rides?
If so, what helps? I drink quite a lot of water already (pint of orange squash before I leave, 1.5 litre of bottled water during the day, at least a couple of pints of squash when I get in). And I try to get a decent bit of protein in my diet, from eggs and meat mainly.
Background: My commute is 11 miles each way and relatively flat. I’ve been riding it five days a week, both ways, for four weeks now. My legs are feeling pretty drained and empty.Posted 4 years ago
jairaj – you don’t stretch cold muscles (unless you want to do yourself a nasty!); warm up first, then stretch. So for a commute, ride in THEN stretch.
Graham – oddly, I find that a full on 2-3 minutes of big effort helps my legs if they’re feeling “hollow”. I don’t know if the increased effort helps to clear out the lactic or something, but it definitely helps.Posted 4 years agoD0NKSubscriber
you riding weekends/evenings aswell? 13miles each way here and I couldn’t do 5 days a week and extra curricular rides too. Well maybe eventually but reckon it would take quite a while to get used to. I normally do 4 days a week or 3 if I do a big ride at weekend.
Ease the pace right off atleast a couple of days. Maybe try just commuting for a couple months then start adding some short evening weekend rides too and gradually increase them.
Been meaning to start a thread on this, how many miles a day can mere mortals commute and still be able to do a decent ride at a decent pace at weekend?Posted 4 years agoahwilesSubscriber
mad isn’t it? i ride about 12 hours a week. You’d think i’d be bionic, but mostly i’m just very, very tired, all the time. And my stomach is a bottomless, growling pit.
i’m in the commuters-calorie-deficit-death-spiral: i’m too skinny to eat enough food, so i’m always hungry. i can’t eat enough to keep up with the ouput – so i’m getting skinnier, so i can’t eat enough, so i’m always hungry. i can’t eat enough to keep up with the output – so i’m getting skinnier…
(AND very unfit)
zzzzz.Posted 4 years ago
how many miles a day can mere mortals commute and still be able to do a decent ride at a decent pace at weekend?
I don’t think it’s the number of miles as such[/u], it’s more the lack of recovery time that nobbles regular commuters. 5 days a week commuting, an evening ride and a weekend ride doesn’t give much time for the body to recover, and so the training effect of the regular riding is probably lessened (in my completely un-scientific opinion!) as the muscles are being broken down constantly and not given time to properly recover. Maybe 🙂Posted 4 years ago
you riding weekends/evenings aswell?
Pfffftt…. did you not read the bit about “maternity leave”? What are these “weekends” and “evenings” you speak of? 😀
Nah, not really doing much riding aside from commuting. No MTBing 🙁 Just the odd road ride and basic transport cycling (e.g. did 30 miles on Saturday to attend a Sustrans work day)Posted 4 years agojamieaMember
I’m commuting nearly 60 miles a week and have been getting a road ride (45-60 miles) in at the weekend since getting a road bike before Easter. I also tow the little one to nursery on Thursday and Friday (about a mile and leave the trailer outside the nursery) and ease off on Friday if I’m going out on the Saturday. The little one has just about put pay to going off and riding any off road for the time being.
The Monday morning commute can be a bit slow after a decent Sunday ride!
Cheers,Posted 4 years ago
Have you tried goat milk? I had all sorts of congestion problems with cow’s milk but once I switched it went away quite quickly and has never returned. This was >5 years ago so it isn’t some overnight aberration. Worth a try.
I found the St Helen’s semi skimmed the most palatable – no strong flavours and not that much fat. Ironically, the skimmed version made me quite burpy so I went back to the green.
Anyway, it is great in porridge, and I frequently neck a litre when I get home from a ride.Posted 4 years agowillMember
D0NK – Member
Been meaning to start a thread on this, how many miles a day can mere mortals commute and still be able to do a decent ride at a decent pace at weekend?
Well 30 miles a day and then 50 miles on Saturday & Sunday should be doable with a bit of getting used to.
Up until August I was doing 50 miles a day and then 75-100 miles on Sunday with Saturday as rest day. Legs were fine, but I was just tired all the time.Posted 4 years ago
You’d think i’d be bionic, but mostly i’m just very, very tired, all the time. And my stomach is a bottomless, growling pit.
Oh yeah – that too – eating all the time!
But then I could do with losing about 2 kilos so that isn’t too bad.
Have you tried goat milk?
Hmm.. nope but might give it a go. Not really been missing milk to be honest.
Not been an extensive ban – I just always had a snotty nose so at the suggestion of a mate I stopped having milky cereal in the morning and started taking my coffee black and noticed my sinuses were a lot better for it.
started to have breakfast (small bowl of granola / OJ) before leaving in the morning
Might be a plan – I usually just have an espresso and a pint of squash then when I get to work I have a roll with sausage and egg 🙂Posted 4 years agowillMember
GrahamS – Member
I usually just have an espresso and a pint of squash then when I get to work I have a roll with sausage and egg
Ah there you go.
I have 4 weetabix and 2 slices of wholegrain toast with peanut butter at 6am before I leave, plus 500ml of water.
Then 3 weetabix, a banana and some yoghurt at around 11am as a second breakfast.Posted 4 years agoddmonkeySubscriber
+1 for getting used to it, I found the same thing when I started riding every weekend day for my commute. Also eat something with protein in it immediately after each ride, I have a box of Almonds / Pumpkin Seeds and raisins at my desk at work which I munch a bit of every day.
And finally as you get fitter you will find you can ride within yourself more easily and not get so tired, but still go faster than you used to :). And suddenly the weekend rides are more fun as go faster! Result! 🙂Posted 4 years agoD0NKSubscriber
hat are these “weekends” and “evenings” you speak of?
oh yeah forgot about your recent arrival (despite the reminder in the op) 😳
Legs were fine, but I was just tired all the time.
my legs don’t hurt but do feel very empty as soon as I hit a hill (or have to climb stairs), after proper rides I seem to need 48hours recovery until my legs feel strong again – post exercise cold bath helps a bit.Posted 4 years ago
Seem to be a few people around who ride everyday and still manage to rip everyone else’s legs at weekend and obviously the pros seem to keep riding all season with barely a day off.lemonysamMember
Have to say I find the commute more tiring than the raw numbers would suggest. I think it’s a combination of the surface and the fact that on the way home you’re into the wind four days out of five.
On windy days now I just ease off completely, take the riverside all the way and cruise along. Only takes me 5-10 mins longer than gunning it.
The bits that I find make the biggest difference are the cut past Scotswood Bridge and the Waggonway back from Blayney Row. I think because the surface is better there it’s tempting to ride as if you were on road but actually they’re rough enough to disrupt your pedalling so you end up pushing harder than you otherwise would.
But then I’ve only been doing it about 2 months so maybe I need to get used to it too.Posted 4 years ago
recovery program, for a flattish 10 mile ride, have a word with yourself 😆
Yeah I know 110 miles a week is nothing to some on here – but it’s more than my body is used to. Just looking for a bit of advice to avoid the feeling of leaden legs that’s all.
As woody rightly said, it’s not “the number of miles as such, it’s more the lack of recovery time”. I kinda hoped that my legs would feel strong and powerful with all this riding, but instead them feel empty and heavy.Posted 4 years agothisisnotaspoonMember
IME having spent a fortune (well, not really, they’re comparably cheep to most foods) on ‘suplements’ and milk, it’s not about the eating, it’s about resting. 3-4 weeks is about what it takes to stress the body and force it to adapt. But it needs the time off and energy to do that.
Either comute really slowly 1 week a month, or drive, or do something else. Then go back to hammering it the other 3 weeks. Either plan it, or something will crop up (crap wether, injury, holliday, car needs service/mot, errands build up) and give you a good reason to drive for a few days.Posted 4 years agoTooTallMember
Hardly anyone has mentioned eating the right food before / after the exercise. Even when reducing their weight the Sky team eat carbs to fuel themselves for riding. You aren’t helping yourself by not giving your body the right fuel to do this increased work.Posted 4 years ago
If you don’t want milk, make some porridge with water and bung some honey on it – you barely notice the difference and it is pretty easy to carry a tub of porridge oats to work and keep a squeezy of honey in the desk drawer. I used to have some toast 30 min before the ride in and some porridge after I had showered at work.kimbersSubscriber
10 miles each way here and 5 days a week 45+ weeks a year it definately takes its toll, tiredness and aches and pains seem to linger
lots of sleep is important
i find choccy milk is good afterwards too 🙂
If ive got a big ride at the weekend I definately take a the tube at least 1 day before
hilldodger short or long bouts of cycling have a similar effects on aspects of the immune systemPosted 4 years ago
Dumb question, but is chocolate milk all that? Never tried, just wondering whether it’s worth a shot.
I do find the week’s commute can be a bit slow if I’ve had a long run at the weekend; as above, the legs just feel ’empty’. And unfortunately, unless I take a day off commuting, they can feel empty all week.Posted 4 years agonedrapierSubscriber
In addition to all the stretching and nutrition advice, you could try some light, higher volume tyres. eg Vittoria Hyper Randonneur 32/35c.
It shouldn’t add much in drag, but if it means higher speeds over your bumpy terrain are smoother and are less tiring, it could be a valuable payoff.Posted 4 years agokimbersSubscriber
nicko74 – Member
Dumb question, but is chocolate milk all that? Never tried, just wondering whether it’s worth a shot.
there have been quite a few scientific studies and choccy milk has consistently been shown to be as good as (or better than) any of the posh recovery drinksPosted 4 years ago
Sleep is definitely something I don’t do well. I’m a bugger for staying up, even when I’m nodding off on the sofa I’m too lazy to drag myself up the stairs to bed. Drives the missus nuts! 🙂
I shall have to make an effort to to go to bed at a decent time and see if that helps with tired legs.Posted 4 years ago
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