Muscle Recovery: empty legs from commuting

Home Forum Bike Forum Muscle Recovery: empty legs from commuting

Viewing 24 posts - 41 through 64 (of 64 total)
  • Muscle Recovery: empty legs from commuting
  • jamiea

    I refer the honourable gentleman to the above aforementioned maternity-leave and small baby issue

    I’d send the baby back, you want one like ours- 12hrs sleep a night (after the first month that is!) ๐Ÿ˜‰



    nicko74 – Member
    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.

    Milk is brilliant. You just need to look how much protein there is per 100ml. This is interesting too:


    Cut back or man up! Going from 2-3 days a week to 5 days every week is some jump.

    I have a 35 mile round trip, when I started a year or so ago one way twice a week was enough. I’m now up to 4 days a week (both ways) most weeks but I’m still pretty tired if I do them all back to back. I still have lazy weeks when I might only ride once or twice, this is good and gives me time to recover properly.

    And eat/sleep lots (although I doubt the sleep thing is that likely at the moment!).

    Premier Icon cookeaa

    My own commute is not dissimilar the most direct route is a relatively flat ~13 miles, but i’ve taken to chucking in some extra climbs and descents using quieter local roads lately, that ups it to 15+ miles each way, 3 days a week (tuesday/Thursday/Friday).

    I’m enjoying the doing of the extra miles / work, but since starting this I’m finding recovery, just isn’t as rapid as it would have been when I was a bit younger (I’m only 33 though, hardly a Granddad), even with the rest days in between… It’s even worse if I put in some additional miles on a weekend on legs that still ache from Friday’s commute, or go and exacerbate things with a mid-week, evening ride, trying to keep up with mates who are fresh as a daisy…

    I did get to commute 4 out of five days a couple of weeks ago when we off-loaded the kids on my parents for a whole week and that actually felt fine, but I wasn’t doing as much climbing, just more flat miles that particular week, climbing has always been my weak point so I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to work on it using my commutes…

    I’ve never tried a sports massage or one of those foam rollers both of which people I know swear by, do these help with recovery at all? I try to maintain a good amount of fish, eggs and meat in my diet for protein… The shake suggestion seems a good one that I’ll look into… could I be missing a few key things from my (generally quite balanced IMO) diet?

    I do drink too much caffeine (Coffee & Tea) could cutting that back/out aid recovery at all?

    What about replacing salts? I’ve heard mixed opinions of wheather and how best to do that…

    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 mag

    I recognize that tight legs spasm thing at night, my missus thinks I’m talking bollocks, fidgeting and keeping her awake… Magnesium you say, thanks for that…

    I’m another one who has poor sleep patterns, late to bed, early getting up, regularly woken by kids at silly O’clock…

    Hmmm, reading through this thread I can see some recurring issues experienced by other, many of which apply to me…

    I think I can formulate a bit of an action plan for myself, and it’s not so much about reducing mileage or intensity, it’s about diet, rest and warm down in between…
    If I’m going to increase the level of stress on my tubby physique I need to provide it the right means and appropriate rest time to recover for the next onslaught…

    Useful thread cheers OP for starting it.

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    Right so sounds like the best options so far are sleep and milk – neither of which are practical for me at the moment.

    Bugger. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Rule #5 it is then.

    Premier Icon sweaman2

    What about a recovery drink of some sort that is not milk based. I think Infinit and Torq do somewhich are less milk like…


    How about some protein shakes made up with water instead of milk? Dymatize elite gourmet in chocolate peanut butter flavour is amazing and only 130 calories a scoop!


    Why have you gone straight to another liquid? Milk is good, but you seem hard over on not providing proper nutrition for yourself. Milk has a good mix for recovery, but if you don’t get the right fuel in first you’re double knackered.
    Any particular reason for that?


    You just need to MTFU ๐Ÿ˜€

    My commute is currently 18 miles each way, 6 days a week. On a Sunday I tend to take the long way in (about 50 miles) And generally on my day off I’m usually doing 4+ hours on the mtb or similar. Plus another evening ride or 2 on the mtb.

    Proper nutrition and recovery is the key!

    interesting reading as this summer Ive started a 18mile each way commute, mine is complicated not by kids but by working shifts. My earlies start at 6.30 so I’m leaving the house at 5.00 in order to travel, shower and change and build in slack for mechanicals, and shift work plays havoc with proper sleep patterns. My other problem is simply not eating and drinking enough (ie still consuming the same as I did prior to commuting), I’m eating my lunch at 10.30-11.00 (reckon I need the second breakfast others have mentioned).

    By habit I initially just hammered it each way every day, but realising I was getting more and more tired and legs were getting weaker now (and especially if Ive done loads of riding on days off work) I try to do a couple of rides to work as recovery rides and consciously make an effort to pootle.

    Proper nutrition and recovery is the key!

    so, basically, this for me (and I havent achieved it yet).


    Just finished a 10k trail run and I’ll be supping choccie milk..
    I’m not a huge fan of milk in general, it has to be super cold and fresh, but it seems to work on me.

    On my long distance roadie rides (140+k’s) I eat bananas, raisins, cashew nuts and the normal gels/bars combo but do keep drinking and eating. I find eating straight after riding helps, be it cold pasta (prepared pre ride or previous day) and hard boiled eggs helps me recover and fill me with stodgy food rather than scoffing the flapjack I make.

    Sleep, I sometimes use those Night Nurse pills a cold shower to cool my body temp down, open the window to let cool air in, close the blinds to keep light out. I do sometimes use both earplugs and eye blankets….


    Vary intensity/speed of your rides,
    if you are tired, take an hour not 45 mins

    Heart rate monitors are very good for this,
    I know if I keep below 150 (Zone 2) I can keep going a long time and not get too tired, but it can be hard to stay this low going up hills.
    150-168 (Zone 3) will start to require recovery, especially if I do 45 mins twice a day at that intensity.
    168-180 (Zone 4) It is hard to keep this intensity up for 45 mins, but any time in this zone will significantly add to recovery time
    180-193 will slow me down for the rest of the ride and takes days to recover from. It is reserved for Strava segments.

    Heart rates are personal, so you would need to work yours out.

    chocolate milk does help, if you don’t like milk try Peanut butter on toast! or anything with carbs and protein.

    The little one/s will sleep better soon – says the man lying on the floor waiting for the over tired 3yr old to go to sleep ๐Ÿ™‚

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    The little one/s will sleep better soon – says the man lying on the floor waiting for the over tired 3yr old to go to sleep

    LOL. Funnily enough I’m reading these posts on my phone while doing exactly the same thing as you, whilst the missus deals with the screaming (possibly possessed?) baby! ๐Ÿ˜€


    The best advice I can come up with, being a father of three and a commuter by bike or by running for much of their childhood is to ease up on most of your days.

    Aim to work on your style and souplesse rather than get there and get home as quick as possible; gentle spinning, smoothness, still upper body, 100+ cadence, be the bike kind of thing. Stop any kind of commuter racing too; you are a gentleman attending his place of employment, not a callow youth rushing headlong into the maw of the marketplace.

    I did it for years, and I found it gave me an endurance, a strength that I still have, but you can’t race everyday.


    “British Cycling’s use of fish oils has been mentioned before โ€“ under Mitchell the riders take two grams of high quality fish oil a day. The oil contains a fatty acid (icosapentaenoic acid) that lowers inflammation, reduces muscle breakdown when the muscles are stressed through exercise and improves protein synthesis. “It was something I brought from the NHS, where I was in cancer care, and we used it to help patients keep muscle tone,” Mitchell says.”

    Food at about 15:00 in:


    Pah, Rule 5 and get on with it man.

    Have a protein shake as soon as you finish riding, then another one before bed. Having been converted to them by my coach, my recovery is amazing at the moment despite training up to 18hours a week (plus full time job). I can tolerate whey protein ok despite having some gluten/lactose intolerance so you should be ok with it.

    Stretch after your ride, foam roller and elevate your legs ie up the wall also works a treat. Compression tights a big help too but seems overkill for a commute. Lack of sleep is prob your biggest factor.


    Seriously, he’s riding 20 flat miles a day. It’s not exactly into the realms of proper training

    Premier Icon flap_jack

    Eat more. If baby wakes you in the night, scarf down a snack whilst you’re sorting it.

    Premier Icon vincienup

    I do a nice easy 6 miles each way as a mix of towpath and urban with some brief sharp climbs and descents, bit of cheeky kerb hopping and an overall less favourable gradient returning. Generally under 20 minutes, up to five minutes faster when all is good and I’m riding it as linked sprints rather than JRA.

    CX bike with 32’s is my current ideal for this. While I used to do it on a 26er the odd occasions I do now it feels unbelievably slow and draggy – but isn’t really.

    My first few weeks of this over early winter year before last were hell but a combo of fitness and crap gear were mostly responsible. These days I don’t notice it unless I’ve really overdone the fun riding or just not slept.

    Eat sensibly with plenty of fruit and decent protein rather than just focussing on carbs and you should be fine after maybe the first couple of weeks.

    Personally I can’t cope with breakfast immediately before riding so I prioritise a decent muesli as soon as I get to work.

    Apart from that I try to enforce day a week (usually Saturday) as a bike free zone. If I know I’m riding all weekend I might drive one day.

    Evening riding is mostly blocked by other responsibilities, and weekend riding might be anything from a few hours thrashing around trails in the woods to a big triple figure road day.

    The most important thing is to remember its meant to be *fun* so it’s fine not to chase your PB every time – to this end I’ve pretty much given up on Strava completely. My wristwatch and memory are just fine for me…

    Premier Icon vincienup

    Stop any kind of commuter racing too

    This is possibly my worst habit. I just can’t help myself some days… but I enjoy it so much…

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    Pah, Rule 5 and get on with it man.

    I did say in the OP: “So Rule #5 or should I be doing something to help them recover between rides?”

    I’m happy enough if the answer is just Rule #5, but the suggestions of more sleep, more protein, day off, etc are the kind of things I was looking for.

    The most important thing is to remember its meant to be *fun* so it’s fine not to chase your PB every time

    Yeah… fairly guilty of that. I have Endomondo running so I can see where I am against my PB. Even if I’m taking it a bit easier I always ride it hard enough to get a decent sweat on. So the advice to take it easier on some days may be a good plan.


    Sports physio I use recommends using ice on your legs after a ride. Tried it a few times and it does seem to have a good effect.


    I think a lot of the advice here is overcomplicating things. You just admitted you are not eating a proper breakfast. I think that is a big part of your problem straight away, and if you don’t eat breakfast, I wonder if the rest of your diet is adequate?
    I would make sure you are eating enough of the right food at the right time before worrying about chocolate milk and protein shakes.
    11 miles each way is a good commute, but unless you are riding at your limit every time you do it, it shouldn’t really be enough to break your body down to the point where you are having to use special recovery techniques. A good balanced diet should see you fine.
    Don’t underestimate the cumulative effects of looking after a baby, however. Chocolate milk isn’t going to fix that though; all you can do is try and catch up on your sleep deficit when you get a chance.

Viewing 24 posts - 41 through 64 (of 64 total)

The topic ‘Muscle Recovery: empty legs from commuting’ is closed to new replies.