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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-11-08, 07:48 AM   #1
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Is it normal for my legs to always be sore?

I have been riding about 3 weeks now, with no more than a onde day gap between rides, if that. I notice that with or without rest, easy rides or hard rides, my legs are always sore. Not a severe soreness like from weightlifting, but a low dull soreness that is damn persistent. Is this normal?
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Old 08-11-08, 08:03 AM   #2
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I'd say it's perfectly normal for a previously sedentary person to feel "sore" every day after only three weeks of activity.
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Old 08-11-08, 08:09 AM   #3
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Two things that solved this problem for me:

1) Raise the height of your seat so that your legs extend fully when you're pedalling, and so that your knees don't come up too high at the top of the cycle. I had a lot of stress on my quadriceps (muscles on the fronts of the thighs) because with my seat too low, my thighs were coming up almost horizontal. Raising the seat resulted in more efficient pedalling.

2) Ride in the lowest gear possible if you have a bike that is not a single-speed. 'Spinning', i.e. riding in low gear and pedalling more times per wheel revolution, is less stressful on muscles than 'pushing'.

Are you finding that you have general all-around soreness, or is this confined to certain muscles or certain parts of your legs?

I realised the last time I rode that my bike is configured well enough for my body that I don't get muscle pain even when riding after having been sedentary. Riding gives me a cardio workout but minimal stress on muscles and joints.
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Old 08-11-08, 08:11 AM   #4
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Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness - Definition
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) describes a phenomenon of muscle pain and soreness that is felt 12-48 hours following exercise, particularly at the beginning of a new an exercise program, after a change in sports activities, or after a dramatic increase in the duration or intensity of exercise. This soreness is a normal response to unusual exertion and is part of an adaptation process that leads to greater stamina and strength as the muscles recover and build. The soreness is generally at its worst within the first 2 days following the activity and subsides over the next few days.

Delayed onset muscle soreness is quite common and quite annoying, particularly for those beginning an exercise program or adding new activities. A beginning exerciser who bikes 10 miles, followed by push-ups and sit-ups is likely to experience muscle pain and soreness in the next day or two.

Delayed onset muscle soreness occurs hours after the exercise is over. This is markedly different than the acute pain of muscle strains and sprains that is felt as an abrupt, specific and sudden pain that occurs during activity and often causes swelling or bruising.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness - Causes
Delayed onset muscle soreness is thought to be a result of microscopic tearing of the muscle fibers. The amount of tearing (and soreness) depends on how hard and how long you exercise and what type of exercise you do. Any movement you aren't used to can lead to DOMS, but eccentric muscle contractions (movements that cause muscle to forcefully contract while it lengthens) seem to cause the most soreness. Examples of eccentric muscle contractions include going down stairs, running downhill, lowering weights and the downward motion of squats and push-ups. In addition to small muscle tears there can be associated swelling in a muscle which may contribute to soreness.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness - Treatment
There is no one simple way to treat delayed onset muscle soreness. In fact, there has been an ongoing debate about both the cause and treatment of DOMS. In the past, gentle stretching was one of the recommended ways to reduce exercise related muscle soreness, but a study by Australian researchers published in 2007 found that stretching is not effective in avoiding muscle soreness.

So does anything work to reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness? Nothing is proven effective, but some people have found the following advice helpful, but it's best for an individual to try a few things to see what works for them. Ultimately, best advice for treating DOMS is to prevent it in the first place.

Here are some tips for dealing with soreness after exercise:

Wait. Soreness will go away in 3 to 7 days with no special treatment.
Avoid any vigorous activity that increases pain.
Use active recovery techniques. Perform some easy low-impact aerobic exercise to increase blood flow. This may help diminish muscle soreness.
Use the RICE method of treating injuries.
Although research doesn't find gentle stretching reduces soreness, some people find it simply feels good.
Gently massage the affected muscles. Some research has found that massage was effective in alleviating DOMS by approximately 30% and reducing swelling, but it had no effects on muscle function.
Try using a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (aspirin or ibuprofen) to reduce the soreness temporarily, though they won't actually speed healing.
There is some evidence that performing Yoga may reduce DOMS.
Allow the soreness to subside thoroughly before performing any vigorous exercise.
Don't forget to warm up completely before your next exercise session. There is some research that supports that a warm-up performed immediately prior to unaccustomed eccentric exercise produces small reductions in delayed-onset muscle soreness (but cool-down performed after exercise does not).
** If your pain persists longer than about 7 days or increases despite these measures, consult your physician.
Learn something from the experience! Use prevention first.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness - Prevention
While DOMS is common and annoying, it is not a necessary part of exercise. There are many things you can do to prevent, avoid and shorten the duration of DOMS:

Warm up thoroughly before activity and cool down completely afterward.
Cool Down with gentle stretching after exercise.
Follow the Ten Percent Rule. When beginning a new activity start gradually and build up your time and intensity no more than ten percent per week.
Know the 10 Tips for Safe Workouts.
Follow the Spring Training Fitness Tips.
Hire a Personal Trainer if you aren't sure how to start a workout program that is safe and effective.
Start a new weight lifting routine with light weights and high reps (10-12) and gradually increase the amount you lift over several weeks.
Avoid making sudden major changes in the type of exercise you do.
Avoid making sudden major changes in the amount of time that you exercise.
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Old 08-11-08, 08:13 AM   #5
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Conventional wisdom is that you do not get into better shape or get stronger by working get stronger when your body repairs itself in between workouts.

You ned to schedule rest days - at least one per week - in order to recover.
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Old 08-11-08, 08:27 AM   #6
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I have done much excerise in my life, and I dont at all mind the soreness, it just seems the nature of the soreness in a bit different than past experiences.
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Old 08-11-08, 08:45 AM   #7
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probably not the same thing, but I suffer from leg pain in the afternoon and evening, unrelated to exercise. I found that taking calcium and potassium supplements helped.
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Old 08-11-08, 09:29 AM   #8
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One thing that I think is different than other types of activities is that biking has both a substantial aerobic AND anaerobic component, and often soreness is combined with aerobic fatigue/depletion, making it feel 'different'. I felt soreness for about 6 weeks into commuting. Now, it is very minimal, unless I press hard or do some hill attacks.
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Old 08-11-08, 10:31 AM   #9
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It took about 6 to 8 weeks for my legs to get used to commuting back in the Spring of 2007. When I added a road bike to my collection and started riding longer distances, the same thing happend again this past Spring, except it lasted about 3 weeks. I have to admit that I was riding pretty hard. My normal commute is about 5 miles each way so I use it as a short high intensity workout. I start out riding easy the first few minutes (I also have 7 large speed bumps to cross to they help prevent me from launching into a fast sprint). After that I up the tempo to what ever my body feels like that day. The last few minutes I ride slowly again to cool down. Most recently I've been riding longer and harder in order to get ready for a centry ride this up comming weekend. I could feel my legs a for a few days after a series of hard workouts.

Don't be affraid to take a day or two off. Sometimes your body just need a little rest for it to recover.

Happy riding,
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Old 08-11-08, 10:34 AM   #10
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It's fairly normal, but like others have said, you may want to consider giving yourself a few days off with only "active rest" as exercise. Active rest is doing things like walking or riding at a VERY easy pace. Go out and do something fun that also gets you moving. This way you won't feel like you are ditching your fitness plan or anything. Rest is critical for your long term success, though; so don't feel guilty about hitting the couch either.
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Old 08-11-08, 10:39 AM   #11
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How is your diet? The previous times I have had lasting soreness (besides the first two or three workouts) was when I wasn't eating properly at the same time.
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Old 08-11-08, 12:21 PM   #12
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This year was my year to get in shape. I've never physically exerted myself ever. I've also been over weight since 5th grade (over 25 years). My experience this past winter has been that my muscles ached when working them after they had never been worked before. Then as I increased resistance, duration, and intensity, I would feel burning and pain in my muscles. As of today I've completed 3 straight days of 10 mile bike rides. I've never done this before. I was sooo exhausted when I got home today, but my legs are not as sore as they were while I was riding! I must say, I feel great. Better than I have in years.

I agree with a prevous poster...
Conventional wisdom is that you do not get into better shape or get stronger by working get stronger when your body repairs itself in between workouts.

You ned to schedule rest days - at least one per week - in order to recover.
I thought I was not working hard enough this spring when I was losing weight. Then I realized that I wasn't giving myself enough of a break between workouts. The weight started melting off. Take your time and rest. Good luck!
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Old 08-11-08, 05:17 PM   #13
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+1 3 weeks is early. Of course, check with your local doctor.

In my case, it was that way for about two months +/-.
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Old 08-11-08, 06:01 PM   #14
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Plenty of cyclists make the mistake of ding hard efforts on every ride. Best deal is to do a very easy ride the day after a good effort. Spin lite gears to circulae the blood into the muscles washing way the lactic acid.
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Old 08-11-08, 06:32 PM   #15
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try mixing up the rides

If I ride hard I may coast the next day,
I use a cat eye computer to watch my progress speed and average speed ,I believe they help me to know when I am pushing it a bit.
Most bike experts worry about maintaining a good cadence or pedal speed if you drop below 80 pedals per min you will have lactic acid build up in your muscle, another common cause is knee flexor is to great at the bottom of the stroke, if your knee is stil bent at the bottom of the stroke the veins and arteries may not be able to allow good blood flow most of the flow comes from the flexure of muscles if the knee is bent the vein can act like a valve and prevent good flow. ( bike dosen't fit rider)
PS it supposed to be pleasent to ride your bike not a race start slow till you warm up. I may only do a couple sprints as I get near my home.
My 2 cents.
Alittle tylenol or analgesic can go along way.
My freind swears by sauna's for sore muscles/

Last edited by djnzlab1; 08-11-08 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 08-12-08, 02:16 AM   #16
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s-t-r-e-t-c-h before and after your rides. That helps me.
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Old 08-12-08, 08:06 AM   #17
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During the first few weeks most of the rides may feel hard if you're trying to keep up with a group. I do one hard ride a week (80-90% max HR). I also pay attention to recovery nutrition. The muscles recover quickest if you supply them within 15-30 minutes. I use Endurox R4 after most rides. I just started to run and find that the soreness is much less when I use good recovery, and I'm a 55 yo Clydesdale.
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