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  1. #1
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    Should I give myself a rest ?

    I've been doing at least 10 miles a day now for about three weeks , and once I loosen up after a couple of miles , the rest of my ride is getting easier . I'm doing the hills better .I'm averaging 9.8 mph over the whole route . The problem is later on in the evening; my legs get tight and cramp some especially walking up and down stairs . Should I be taking it easier one or two days a week or keep at it until the soreness goes away ? kirby

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    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    I would take it easy 2-3 days/week for a while- no need to do 7 days/week to keep in shape. You might find stretching before and after beneficial if you don't do that already. Aside from that, some questions: How's your nutrition? And, how's your fit on your bike? What kind of route do you ride- hilly, flat, mixed, stop and go, etc.? What kind of surface do you ride on? What are you riding?

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    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like you might be pushing yourself a tad. Everyday for three weeks? That's a lot to your body if it's not used to it. Perhaps a two day break would indeed be useful.

    I would suggest you try eating a banana or kiwi to help with the cramps. Drink a lot of fluid even if you don't feel like it. That might help.
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    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    I was just reading a book about the Tour de France. There was a line that said, "The tour is won in bed." What the author meant is that recovery is a vital part of performance.

    A couple of suggestions from a guy learned the hard way how to pace himself:

    *Alternate harder days with easier days. And take at least one day off the bike completely each week.

    *Investigate stretching/yoga. Stretching AFTER a bike ride is a good idea.

    *Listen to your body. Better to tone it down a notch or two than to end up with long-term pain. Trust me.

    *Cramps might have something to do with electrolyte loss. You might want to consider a sports drink, gel or another way to get sodium, potassium and magnesium into your body when you're sweating a lot.

    Hope this helps. I'm sure there are many other good suggestions out there.
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    I eat pretty good IMO , and I do a some stretching each morning before I ride . I ride a mix of flat, rolling , and a few hills . Most of my riding is on a Schwinn Voyageur 7 or a Schwinn Cross Cut. I've adjusted my seat to where my down stoke has my legs almost strait . The riding surface is about 50% cart path and 50% asphalt road, and except for a couple of stop signs , it's continuous. I was just wondering if maybe I should be giving the legs a chance to recover ? Drinking plenty of water .kirby

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    Senior Member grayloon's Avatar
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    Until you get used to it, cut back to every other day. One day a week, lengthen your ride. You may also consider eating more foods with potassium...banana's, most fruits, tomatoes, maybe drink a slug or two of tomato juice or V-8. A dose of vitamin I may help too.

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    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirby999 View Post
    I was just wondering if maybe I should be giving the legs a chance to recover ?
    Yes.
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    You keep on working ... I'll take the rest and let you know how it goes.
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    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    Take one day off the bike each week.

    Ride easy the day after that.

    Ride hard the day before that.

    Ride every day between those two extremes at whatever pace you feel comfortable with.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirby999 View Post
    I've been doing at least 10 miles a day now for about three weeks , and once I loosen up after a couple of miles , the rest of my ride is getting easier . I'm doing the hills better .I'm averaging 9.8 mph over the whole route . The problem is later on in the evening; my legs get tight and cramp some especially walking up and down stairs . Should I be taking it easier one or two days a week or keep at it until the soreness goes away ? kirby
    Rest at least one day a week, even the maker did that, your body needs a little recovery time, also doing some light stretching before and/or after the ride will help with the tightness, bananas for the cramps may be good to.
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  11. #11
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Got some good advice here on this topic a while back and I'll pass it along. Pick up the Friel book "Cycling past 50" and use it as a guide. I have been studying several of his books over the last month and there is a wealth of knowledge in them. His guideline on this point is two easy days (and these can be no riding at all) per week with several high intensity days thrown in. High intensity is realative to your condition, not mine or anybody elses.

    Just to brag a bit - since I have started following the path described in these books I had my best time ever on a 16 mile training ride I do 3 mornings/week. I went from my best average speed of 17.1MPH to 17.6MPH on Tuesday - at the end I was tired but not waisted. This AM I did it at 16.2 MPH - a morning spent in Zone 2. It is amazing what happens when you give you body adequate recovery time and proper nutrition.

    Good luck!
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    Ironically, rest will make you a stronger rider. I cannot ride every day without getting too tired. I require a minimum of 2 days per week off the bike. Some folks require more days. I ride quite a lot, but those days off are what keep me making progress in my riding. Fatigue, cramping, tightness, and soreness are messages from your body. Ignore them at your peril.

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    I find that I really need to day or two of no riding a week. My body needs some recovery time. Like you, most of my ordinary daily rides are about 10 miles, 20 on some days. I mean, there's only so much time in a day, and I don't know about anyone else, but if I ride too much, I not only get tired, but I also start losing interest in it. So I make it a rule to not ride more than 6 days a week, and I'm not opposed to an extra day of rest in there (I take those on rain days if I can). We can all fantasize that age doesn't matter, but it does. It takes longer to recover. No riding days doesn't mean lying on the couch watching TV. I try to walk for an hour on those days.

    Almost invariably, after a day or two of rest, I come back much, much stronger on the bike, so nothing is lost from resting.

  14. #14
    Senior Member PirateJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirby999 View Post
    The problem is later on in the evening; my legs get tight and cramp some especially walking up and down stairs.
    All good advice so far from my still learning perspective, but I'll just throw this in... One person's definition of "tight and cramp" may be very different than anothers, but tightness may just be a sign that you've gotten that muscles attention. Actual cramps are a different matter, but don't just come home and flop. I have a tendency to want to do this myself, so I know. Do some stretches as soon as you are cooled down some and have stopped sweating. The stairs you mention are a great place to do several good leg stretches. Walk around some. Keeping those muscles moving (not stressing them, just keeping them moving) seems to help me with the tightness later in the day.
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  15. #15
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    You've received some excellent advice. I'm in complete agreement that you should give your legs a chance to recover at least 1-2 days a week. Complete rest for a day or two is just as important as the activity itself -- think of rest and recovery as equal partners in your quest for fitness. I'm always amazed how much better I do after a couple of days off the bike.

    I'm still a newbie (just reentered cycling in March 2007). I have been amazed by the improvement I feel after 1 or 2 (or, occasionally, even 3) days off the bike, particularly after a hard ride one day.

    I think you should stretch after you ride as well as before.

    And +1 for Friel's book, Cycling Past 50. He also warns against burn-out which can easily occur if we try to ride every day.
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    Sure, I'll pipe in because I'm dealing with a similar issue.
    I did a 35 mile ride last Saturday, which is a pretty good distance for me.
    Maybe just a tiny, tiny bit outside of my comfort zone but not by much.
    It involved a couple of pretty decent climbs -for me- with a 2 mile 8%-9% average 3 miles into the ride and a 1.5 mile 4% (that was front loaded with a 1/2 mile or so of 8%) that came 3 miles from home.
    I was pretty tired and a bit sore when I got home but felt OK.
    Took Sunday off, then I went out for 16 miles on Monday, 16 miles on Tuesday, 16 more miles on Wednesday.
    All of these rides involved riding up long, low grades with some shorter, steeper "testers" thrown in.
    I have a triple but I didn't use it on these last 3 rides, where I normally do.
    So, when I was going uphill, I using my 39T up front. A standard double. Wheeeee...
    I felt OK by the time I got back on Tuesday but I was defintely starting to wear down a bit.
    Probably should have skipped Wednesday but I'm stupid.
    Last night and today, I am feeling it and more than I'd like to.
    I will skip today and maybe tomorrow and do a shor, light ride with Mrs S on Saturday.
    I'll feel great.

    Lesson learned?
    Take a day or two off each week. Give your body a chance to (re)build.
    It'll thank you for that.
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  17. #17
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    Like SKT, I hace done a lot of miles in the last few days. 44 mile group ride Sunday. Monday off. 18 miles of hill repeats on Tuesday. 48 miles on Wednesday with my little brother (58 years old) through the Adirondacks. When we set up the ride I told him I was trying to get better at hills. He said "we'll see how you're doing".

    Good thing the last few miles were downhill to the ferry and I parked the car in the ferry parking lot on the Vermont side. All I could do last night was sit on the porch and watch the ball game. I'm better today but not up for any riding. Good advice has been given here. The improvements come over time not over a week.

  18. #18
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    There is actually physiology to the need for rest and recovery in regards to muscle strength.

    When you push your muscles REALLY hard, you micro-tear them a bit - sometimes more. They then rebuild - stronger than ever - given time to so do.

    If you don't give them time, watch out.

    This is particularly true for weight lifters, who need to give at least one, possibly two days rest between each strenuous session.
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  19. #19
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    Don't get me wrong. 10 miles a day is not great milage-----unless you are new to riding or it finishes up as a 10 mile sprint each time you do it.

    New to riding and you will need a bit of a rest. Ride every other day is my suggestion. I do a longer ride at the weekends and try for a couple of 20 milers in the week. These are taken with a bit of effort- but still within my capabilities. On the cramp side- Could be lack of Fluids on the ride coupled with lack of essential salts. In this health conscious age we live in- Most of us have cut back on salt intake but there are additives to put in drinks to replace those salts- and these are mostly found in the Isotonic drinks.

    Still keeping to the ride every other day- You can up the milage a bit or put a bit more energy into each ride. Then you will be keeping the weekly milage up or calories burned each week.

    The only reason I can see for doing a daily ride is if you are commuting- or if you are trying to get away from the Family. So How's the wife getting on?
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    If you decide to take some days off each week, please post back and tell us how it's working for you. It's very helpful to others to read about real-life experiences, in addition to advise about what we've read and heard.

    But again, I'll say that in my own experience I'm always amazed how much better I do after a couple of days of rest. It's truly amazing.
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  21. #21
    Beginner AmberRae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirby999 View Post
    I've been doing at least 10 miles a day now for about three weeks , and once I loosen up after a couple of miles , the rest of my ride is getting easier . I'm doing the hills better .I'm averaging 9.8 mph over the whole route . The problem is later on in the evening; my legs get tight and cramp some especially walking up and down stairs . Should I be taking it easier one or two days a week or keep at it until the soreness goes away ? kirby
    You should get into a habit of stretching before AND after each ride (or anytime you do ANYTHING physical for that matter) especially if your muscles are getting tight after rides. Not only will stretching improve your flexibility, it will make you feel a whole lot better and calm down/de-stress.

    you might also try not just quitting a really hard excerise abruptly (like having your heart racing for 10 miles and then immediately sitting on the couch when you get home), you should really walk at a slow/moderate pace until your heart rate comes back down to normal, and THEN stretch, and THEN sit peacefully. i know the last thing you want to do after a ride is walk, but all these things help keep muscles from cramping up.

    I wouldn't say you should "take it easy" if you're stretching properly and your body can handle it then you should ride however much you feel comfortable. every person is different after all, and you may be able to handle more than others.

    For now though, maybe you should take just a couple days off and practice stretching and stretches.

  22. #22
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Much current research now states that stretching should occur after muscles are warmed up.

    However, each ride should begin with a warmup period - a slower riding speed, for example.

    Stretching should be during and after the ride.

    The article below summarizes the results of current research quite well.

    http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homep...tofstretch.htm


    THE ART OF THE STRETCH

    * Is stretching before exercise necessary to prevent injury?
    No. Although sports injuries can happen for a variety of reasons, it is not true that pre-exercise stretching prevents injury. In fact exercise physiologists and other fitness experts do not agree at all upon the necessity for stretching before exercising. However, most do advocate proper warmup of the muscles involved in whatever kind of exercise you do plan to do. Put another way, warming up for exercise does not necessarily include stretching; in fact the stretching isn't necessary. What is decidedly necessary is pre-exercise warmup of the muscles that will be pressed into service during the exercise itself.

    Does stretching improve flexibility?
    Indeed it does and there is ample proof of that. If one stretches regularly over a long period of time, say, months, there will almost always be an increase in the range of motion around any given joint including the spine. Muscles will become longer, more pliable and less easily stressed and tear-prone. Proper stretching for flexibility can be found in all yoga class, some Tai chi classes, other martial arts classes, ballet classes, dance classes and fitness classes that pay more than lip-service to stretching.

    When is the best time to stretch?
    *A good fitness class will spend a good deal of time AFTER the activity is finished in stretching. The purpose is to take the already warmed muscles while they are still pliable and do static stretching to prevent muscles from shortening up post-exercise. This technique maintains suppleness, range of motion, strength and pliability of the muscles and will more than likely prevent injuries when the next exercise session rolls around.
    If you don't exercise (and you should, you already know that), there is no bad time to stretch except if the muscles are cold, meaning most of the time. To "warm" the muscles, that does not mean you can lie in the sunlight, it means you need to activate the muscle fibers and the blood circulation to the muscles before stretching.

    What are the most common causes of stretching injuries?
    One of the most common causes of injury to muscles is stretching cold muscles. Another cause is overstretching - pushing a stretch a little too hard. Yet another is "bouncing" or "pulsing" cold muscles. And last, skipping the stretching segment of your exercise program will leave you prone to injury the next time you go to exercise because the muscles tend to shorten and stiffen if you skip the stretches.

    What are the most important things to remember about stretching?
    • There is no direct evidence that pre-exercise stretching prevents injury.
    • Over time, stretching improves mobility and flexibility.
    • Stretching incorrectly or stretching cold muscles can cause injury.
    • Stretching should be done only after muscles are warmed up from exercising.
    • Stretching should be firm, not painful, and they should be static, not "bouncy".

    *
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 07-03-08 at 02:17 PM.
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    A link to more than you'll ever want to know about muscle cramps in your legs:

    http://www.medicinenet.com/muscle_cramps/article.htm

    I've suffered from leg cramps for years, until I understood what kind of cramps of had and why I was getting them. The article is long, but worth the read, IMHO, if you can eliminate just one attack of cramps in the middle of the night. BTW, your cramps sound like "True" cramps simply caused by vigorous activity.... but, maybe not.
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  24. #24
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    Thanks, for the great suggestions . I guess I used the wrong word when I said cramps, it's really soreness , mostly in my thighs and a little in the back of my calves . I took the day off today and the legs are feeling much better . I going try a short ride tomorrow evening , before going back to my regular route on Saturday . I'll let you know how it goes. BTW for those of you wondering , yes I am new to riding .10 miles was a big step for me in the short 30 days I've been riding. And I've been doing 10 almost everyday for the last few weeks . The first day I started riding, I rode an old Schwinn Heavy Duty single speed on the 2+ miles I'd been walking for the last two years . When I got home and stopped in the driveway, my legs were like rubber for a few minutes . I gradually built up to the 10 miles I'm doing now. I'll maybe start taking off every third day and see if it does any good , along with some stretching . Maybe do a 5 miler in between and then maybe stretch the 10 miler out a little farther . Thanks again. kirby

  25. #25
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    I think you have an excellent new plan. Taking off every 3rd day sounds very sensible, in addition to stretching after each ride.

    Above all, be consistent. I am cautious of planning to ride every day or a specific number of days because if I can't for one reason or another, I tend to feel like I'm not meeting my goals. It's easier for me to say that I'll ride as often as I can, or every day that I'm free but no more than 3 days in a row. In other words, keeping it flexible and allowing for life's inevitable interruptions keeps me on track and prevents frustration.
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