New riders tend to push only through a narrow 120-degree range of the crank's rotation using mainly the quads and glutes. There's a limit to how much power you can generate once you hit 100% muscle-effort, and muscles operating at 100% is not very efficient and are anaerobic. However, by adding more force to the other 240-degrees using the other 8 muscles that have been ignored, you can actually generate 3x the power at the same muscle-strength by spinning smoothly.
The above was a quote from a thread I read recently on training. How can I tell if I'm maximizing my cranking power. Do I need riding shoes to be able to be able to get the most out of each crank?
Currently I ride 10 miles each way to work, 2-4 days a week, and depending on the wind it takes about 45 minutes to 55 minutes. My biggest problem it seems is I'm sore every week. Sometimes i get into a race against the stoplights and my legs pay the price. I'm trying to figure out ways to strengthen my legs and make my ride a little easier. My bike by the way is a Trek 7.5.