I got my bike 2.5 months ago and been slowly increasing the amount I bike and the intensity, with my muscles adjusting and growing accordingly. I've had weeks where I'd be biking like an hour around hilly terrain almost every day, pushing and sweating, and ready to take on even harder hills after a weekend break. But this week, after a relaxing bike-free 3-day weekend, and just two half-hour rides, my legs are just completely shot; as soon as I hit any resistance, my thighs turn into a wad of burning PAIN! Completely unbearable, had to drop gears down (for the first time) to even get home. Question is... what happened?
Have I just reached a natural plateau where I am just pushing too hard? Do I need to take more break days (I had far more intense weeks as I said tho). Is me drinking more soymilk in light of regular milk and having slightly less meat in the past week or so (I think, not sure) led to temporary insufficient protein for muscle recovery (I do eat tons of greek yogurt/cottage cheese/eggs/beans and my diet is really healthy overall)? Or am I simply not eating enough, regardless what it is I eat (since I started biking, my weight stayed more or less the same, but my leg strength increased)? Or maybe it is the one night of heavy drinking over that weekend that messed up my recovery for this week (but it's not the first, and drinking has never been an issue before)? Perhaps the toe clips I got recently changed my biking style and put extra strain that wasn't there before?
I guess I am wondering if there's something particular that I did the past 1-2 weeks that led to this, or if it's an overarching problem, since the change is so sudden. What weirds me out is that.... the exact same thing happened to me two years ago, at exactly the same time since picking up biking (~2.5 months). Things are great, muscles getting stronger, I feel like I can take on the world, and suddenly over a week, my strength runs out and is replaced with total pain when the muscle is at all challenged. It nearly killed my interest in biking last time, so I dont want a repeat of that.
So planning no-biking this weekend (except maybe lowest gear to the store) and plenty of foods that will hopefully recover me for next week. Still... such a sudden change and such severe pain in the specific muscle, following the same pattern as in the past :|
EDIT: Also, a health check + blood work I got done some month ago indicated that I am in great health, everything's tip-top.