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  1. #1
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    Tired Legs - Advice?

    I started racing last year with just a handful of races. Three weeks ago I raced for the first time this year (cat5) and have been training hard since. Last Thursday I worked very hard for about 90 min on intervals and since then my legs have been really tired. For example, I rode Sunday and my legs were burning and weak but my heart rate was only 135. I have also been dieting by focusing on protein instead of carbs. I have races coming up this weekend and besides just resting, I would like to hear suggestions to help speed my leg's recovery (o yeah....and I'm 47).

  2. #2
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Proper nutrition, hydration, and rest are key... even though I ride daily I am finding that early in the season I am pushing things harder, riding farther than I have been, and can feel it in my legs.

    The 20-30 mph headwinds haven't been helping either.

  3. #3
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    Listen to the body....sometimes a day off is the best medicine...also, improving nutrition is a good thing...but, if you meant dieting as in an intent to lose significant weight, be careful when coupling this with hard training and the desire to improve performance simultaneously -- tough combo to pull off I believe...

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    Legs burning and weak while focusing on protein as a diet sounds to me like you're shorting yourself the fuel your muscles need, i.e. carbs.

    When I was really sick earlier this year (I think I got the same kind of bug that hit Tour of CA but a couple weeks prior) and couldn't eat for about 2 days, my legs were horrible. My first ride after I started feeling okay was painful, my legs loading up with lactic acid as soon as I pulled out of the 20 foot long driveway. After 2 days of eating a lot of carbs I was back to normal.

    I think you're in a carb/glucose/whatever-it's-called deprived state.

    If it were me I'd start eating carbs, if possible around ride time (before and after). If I take a day off I eat much less. But I can't stand going out and feeling crappy when I should feel good, so I will always make carbs part of my diet.

    cdr

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    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    Why people in an endurance sport (any sport for that matter) would cut out carbs is beyond me. a minimum of 40% or your Kcal should be carbs, and most would say 60% is more in the ballpark. Cutting the carbs is making your body have to go through a lot of work to convert protein to carbs to try to refuel your legs. Take a rest day (or light spin) and get the glycogen stores back to where they should be.

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    Senior Member Coyote2's Avatar
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    Yep, above posters have good advice. Also remember that you can aid recovery while riding by taking in nutrition -- gels, sports drinks, whatever.

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    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    how hard have you been training? what does your training week look like? A rest day? Would that make the first rest day in three weeks? Folks train to hard. For all the focus on what intervals to do, most guys need a lesson in how to soft pedal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    how hard have you been training? what does your training week look like? A rest day? Would that make the first rest day in three weeks? Folks train to hard. For all the focus on what intervals to do, most guys need a lesson in how to soft pedal.
    correct.

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    [QUOTE=gsteinb;6733412]how hard have you been training? what does your training week look like? A rest day? Would that make the first rest day in three weeks? Folks train to hard. For all the focus on what intervals to do, most guys need a lesson in how to soft pedal.[/QUOTE]

    such a great point, so often ignored, I plead guilty.

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    Thanks all. To answer some of the questions....Yes, I have been dieting to lose weight (bought the bike in Spring 2006 and down 35 pounds since) but I have not starved myself of carbs completely. Training - over the last 3 weeks I have riden 4-5 days a week so I did have 2 or 3 days off during the week for rest. Most rides are very hard, intervals and sprints, but short - 60 to 90 min. I also did 120 - 180 min longer rides.

    I'll increase my carbs and have already been resting. I will be riding in the Ride of Silence this evening (Internation ride to honor those killed or injured while riding on public roadways - max 12 mph).
    A fellow racer suggested multi-vitamin and L-Glutamine supplement (supposed to help with glutamine deficiency).

    I'll post know the results.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJBTrek View Post
    I started racing last year with just a handful of races. Three weeks ago I raced for the first time this year (cat5) and have been training hard since. Last Thursday I worked very hard for about 90 min on intervals and since then my legs have been really tired. For example, I rode Sunday and my legs were burning and weak but my heart rate was only 135. I have also been dieting by focusing on protein instead of carbs. I have races coming up this weekend and besides just resting, I would like to hear suggestions to help speed my leg's recovery (o yeah....and I'm 47).
    Questions, at minimum, you need to answer for yourself: What did you do in the 3 to 6 months prior to your race 3 weeks ago? What did you do in the 3 weeks leading up to your "tired legs"? What is your rationale for dieting and what strategy are you following? How long have you been on your diet? How many kcal are you consuming? What is the percentage of your diet from carbs? protein? fats? Are you hydrating adequately? With what? What does a HR of 135 mean for you relative to your LTHR or your training zones? How did you establish LTHR and training zones? Was this avg HR for the ride? HR observed instantaneously when your legs "burned"? What intervals did you do on last thursday for 90 mins? What did you do Fri/Sat/Sun? Legs were burning ... when? entire ride? on hills? during efforts? Could you sustain efforts despite leg discomfort or did you get psyched out by your low HR?

    Answer these questions for yourself and you'll probably start to be able to determine where you're training shortcomings are originating.

    Rest might be the answer, cant really tell, but I'd bet that "tired" legs are originating from: 1 - inadequate preparation/training, i.e. you're not in shape to be able to handle the demands of racing and training; 2 - inadequate diet to meet your body's recovery needs; 3 - inadequate recovery from prior workouts by poor hydration and nutrient intake.

    Other than rest, which is hard to convince yourself that you need (I know, I'm often guilty of this as are nearly 100% of all bike racers), maybe try a massage, if you can get one scheduled and completed today/tomorrow at latest, they can really go a long way in recovery ... and get off the atkins, I doubt it's helping you at all.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    +10 to the responses above. I'll add massage. Lie on your back on the bed with your legs up against the wall. Give your quads, calves and hamstrings a good massage. Then, lie on your side & give ol' gluteus maximus a massage. You can probably find online info for more details. For me, this is the main reason I shave my legs. Trying to massage my legs and having leg hair get tugged around sucks. Nice smooth legs works much better. I'm 46, and find that I need more recovery time than I used to, so maybe you're over doing it a bit.

    I've also been losing weight while training hard. I don't eat much junk, but when I do I've just been cutting back. 1 cookie instead of 2, take the smaller brownie, cut out the nibbling. Plenty of good carbs: fruit, whole grains etc.... the usual. There are plenty of threads on this topic you can look up.
    Last edited by Homebrew01; 05-21-08 at 07:48 AM.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  13. #13
    Senior Member skiracing's Avatar
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    For helping your legs recover something I read in my book for skiing is.... after the exercise, when you are showering alternate between very hot and very cold water on your legs where they might be burning, do this a number of times. I don't enjoy the cold water but I'm certain my legs feel better as a result.
    Work hard, play harder.
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  14. #14
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJBTrek View Post
    Thanks all. To answer some of the questions....Yes, I have been dieting to lose weight (bought the bike in Spring 2006 and down 35 pounds since) but I have not starved myself of carbs completely. Training - over the last 3 weeks I have riden 4-5 days a week so I did have 2 or 3 days off during the week for rest. Most rides are very hard, intervals and sprints, but short - 60 to 90 min. I also did 120 - 180 min longer rides.

    I'll increase my carbs and have already been resting. I will be riding in the Ride of Silence this evening (Internation ride to honor those killed or injured while riding on public roadways - max 12 mph).
    A fellow racer suggested multi-vitamin and L-Glutamine supplement (supposed to help with glutamine deficiency).

    I'll post know the results.
    Losing weight while doing serious training for racing is tough to do. You really need copious amounts of carbohydrates if you're doing any length of training. Have some bread and oatmeal.
    Bring the pain.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    Questions, at minimum, you need to answer for yourself: What did you do in the 3 to 6 months prior to your race 3 weeks ago? .... .
    I'll share some answers here for those that may be encountering the same situation. Since I have already adjusted my diet and am resting (plus multi-vitamin supplement) I included some of the answers here more for observation than to look for additional answers. I appreciate the feedback from all.
    I worked hard 6 days a week in Feb-April with 4 days trainer time including compu-trainer class and 2 days indoor scoccer. I felt strong going into the season. I mentioned my heart rate since I track it for training and races. Training HR avg (150s) is much higher than 135 (racing is higher than this). The 135 was not the avg for the ride but the estimate avg for minutes around in time where I felt I could not continue with the level I was at. This told me that my cardio-system was dealing with the load but not my legs. The Thur intervals were 1 mile efforts and 1 mile rest. Efforts went to 28 - 32 mpg and the rest was 14-17mph. I don't use a power meter but a rider along with me said he was at 500w on a number of intervals. I rode the Fri/Sat/Sun. Fri was a short med intensity ride. Sat was 35m but tired almost from the start. Sun was 25m and this is where I had no power
    The main difference between what I did pre-season and early season was running. My average time training was about the same but the time doing soccer was swapped for bike time. The intensity of training did increase on the bike. The main difference in diet was a reduction in carbs over what I did Feb-April but I did not think it significant. I did this to reduce the couple of pounds I added right after my first race. Interesting in that if it is the reduction in carbs that is the cause, it did not affect my entire system and only my legs. I would have thought my heart rate would be way up as well.

  16. #16
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    I'm not an expert, but I don't believe insufficient carbohydrates would cause an increase in heart rate.
    Bring the pain.

  17. #17
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJBTrek View Post
    I worked hard 6 days a week in Feb-April with 4 days trainer time including compu-trainer class and 2 days indoor scoccer. I felt strong going into the season. I


    in the 'what's the problem' sweepstakes, we have a winner

  18. #18
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    47? You're too old for this ****. Welcome to the club.

  19. #19
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    No idea on the relationship between HR and diet or how it applies to you. I dont read too much into an off day or even a few until it becomes a trend of a string or bunch of bad days. Take a rest, do some easy spinning, go to bed at a reasonable time and get some consecutive days of good sleep, when you're sitting - put your feet up, hydrate well, and eat a sensible diet and you'll likely be back to yourself in no time.

    I had an off day yesterday where my power output during a sprint workout was around 200W lower than normal on every effort - why? not sure, but I'm not going to dwell on it unless it starts being an every ride thing.

    Also, I've had some of my best days on a bike following days where I had seriously crappy and tired legs. A couple years ago, I had a target race on a sunday. After a really crappy week of training, I had an awful day of "openers" on the saturday before the race. Then on race day, during warmup, I felt like dog crap and was even considering throwing the bike in the car and going home. When the race started (Reston Grand Prix criterium), a friend of mine from a rival team attacked on the first lap - I said WTF I feel like crap, might as well go, I went, we along with 1 other guy, ended up lapping a quality field. I got stronger and stronger the longer we went (our last few laps were about same time as those when we were attacking). You just never know. Sometimes the body speaks its own language that can be tough to understand.

  20. #20
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    bodies don't just need off days, but off weeks.

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