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  1. #1
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    Legs Not Recovering

    I'm 48 and have been riding seriously for the past 8 weeks. Before that, I had some health issues and spent some time in the hospital that left me seriously out of shape.

    I live in a very hilly area, so there is no such thing as a nice easy ride. At first, I'd have to stop fairly often just to keep my heart rate from pegging out on some of the climbs. At first, my heart rate would spike well over 190 bmp on any climb. When that would happen, I'd not really be out of breath, but my heart would be pounding and my legs would be burning, and I'd have to stop. I've come a long way since then. It was a major victory the first time I made it up a hill that used to make me stop. There is nothing more motivational then seeing progress. I started out with 5 mile rides and now can easily do 20 miles. So I'm thinking I've achieved my base level conditioning and can step it up a bit.

    Today I sailed up one of those hills with my heart rate comfortably in zone 3, but my legs were killing me. This is a fairly recent development. My lungs and heart aren't holding me back anymore, its my legs. My legs don't seem to be totally recovering, even though I had two days off. I have been riding two short rides and one long ride a week regularly. My legs even burn now after going up a few flights of stairs. What gives? I have a good diet and get pleanty of protein.

    I don't want to backslide now. Any ideas?
    Last edited by RudeDog00; 07-11-08 at 11:05 PM.

  2. #2
    Pokes On Spokes JPradun's Avatar
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    In all honesty, ride as hard as you can for as long as you can. "Base" isn't a 20mi ride, its about going as long and hard as you can within the time you have.

    You're still new and this is normal. Often, taking days off the bike is worse than just spinning around for an hour at an easy pace.

    Take off the heart rate monitor if you are so fixed on the numbers. Until you can consistently do 40-50mi without much problem, then put it back on to train. Until then, don't worry about HR zones or anything -- just get the miles in the legs.

    BTW, I'm a cat3 and still get sore legs after most rides. It's part of getting better.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Ralleh's Avatar
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    If two days isn't enough, try three days. When I ride, I completely shred my legs, so it takes 3 days for them to recover (I too gauge the recovery based on my ability to climb stairs). I'm making leaps and bounds of progress as a result of doing this, but I'm hoping that at some point in the future I'll need to take fewer days off. I definitely pay attention to my diet and do a lot of leg massaging, so I can't imagine there being a way for me to recover faster.

    Overtraining never yields the best results.

  4. #4
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    You are burning out for one. Even if it's all base, you need to vary your workouts. Find some easy flats and cruise for 30 miles. Hammer on the hills the next day. Go walk around the mall for a coupla hours the next, sit on the beach, then a short fast flat ride on the weekend followed by a day of hiking. Take at least one full day off a week. Being that you're 48, maybe two days off per week to start.

  5. #5
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    What are you eating for recovery right after your rides? Are you getting in enough carbs in the 2-4 hours after your rides? Are you drinking enough water?

    Sometimes an easy spin on the bike later in the day of a hard ride or the following day can help as well.

  6. #6
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    Be careful about ramping up too quickly, as that can easily lead to injury that will sideline you again. I am close to your age and can def say the body just does not recover as quickly the older one gets.

    Crosstraining can be your friend there so you can build more fitness but not hitting the same muscles as cycling. Swimming is excellent, running (try Galloway if you want to progress steady but slower), pilates/yoga classes, step type classes, etc.

    If the legs are not recovering but your heartrate is, then the legs are just the next limiter you have, some weight lifting or lunges, etc. may help. If they are staying sore, upping your protein intake may help as well as your body is building muscle. Making sure to get some quality calories in right after a rough ride is also good if you need to recover quicker, just make sure it is not too much as some of the recommendations out there will have you drinking more recovery calories than what you just burned.


    T

  7. #7
    Senior Member The_Spaniard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tombiowami View Post
    Be careful about ramping up too quickly, as that can easily lead to injury that will sideline you again. I am close to your age and can def say the body just does not recover as quickly the older one gets.

    Crosstraining can be your friend there so you can build more fitness but not hitting the same muscles as cycling. Swimming is excellent, running (try Galloway if you want to progress steady but slower), pilates/yoga classes, step type classes, etc.

    If the legs are not recovering but your heartrate is, then the legs are just the next limiter you have, some weight lifting or lunges, etc. may help. If they are staying sore, upping your protein intake may help as well as your body is building muscle. Making sure to get some quality calories in right after a rough ride is also good if you need to recover quicker, just make sure it is not too much as some of the recommendations out there will have you drinking more recovery calories than what you just burned.


    T
    +1 some good info in there, i wanted to reply with the older you get the longer it might take to recover. Technically the muscular prime of a human being is anywhere from 30 to 38. After that apparently your muscles start deteriorating, i dont think it actually means they deteriorating i think it just maeans recovery doesnt work as good, your strength wont increase as much as it use to etc. but usually this is used as a base to figure out when a athletes prime is, i have no idea how this would apply to a person who wasnt a athlete and is starting to work out late in life. Btw good job trying to get in shape.
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    Thanks for the input. I'm closely monitoring 'the numbers' in an attempt to optimize my training without hurting myself.

    After thinking about it, the fact that I live at the top of a hill might be a factor. I tend to push hard to make it home, then I stop without any cool down period. It would be nice to be able to spin home down hill instead of always having to put out maximum effort right before I stop.

    Anymore, I'm going to try spending five minutes on my ellipitical as soon as I get home to cool down, followed by some stretching. When would be the best time to do the weight lifting? I have a weight machine that I use for leg extensions and squats. Would it be good to do a few sets right after my ride? Or would that just further destroy my legs?

    I've got a 40K planned for tomorrow, with about 1000 ft of ascent. This will be my weekly long ride and is about as flat as I can get here. We'll see if my legs are any better on this ride. I'll probably take about 3 days off after this ride for my legs to come back, then crosstrain with some yoga and elliptical work. Its hard because I want to ride everyday!

    Rick

  9. #9
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPradun View Post
    In all honesty, ride as hard as you can for as long as you can. "Base" isn't a 20mi ride, its about going as long and hard as you can within the time you have.
    I disagree. Especially for a new rider, base should be going for as long as you have time for at an effort/pace that you can do steadily and consistently.

  10. #10
    Senior Member The_Spaniard's Avatar
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    for the weights usually you would do it at a time seperate from your cardio, in this case cardio is on the saddle. I suggest on a off day or at least 3 to 4 hours seperate from riding. I usually am fine weight lifting early morning than some kid of cardio around 4 in the afternoon or just doing weight son a seperate day just for rcovery perposes. Stretching , nutrition and proper rest time really come into ply when you do cardio and strength at the same time. I suggest figuring out how much protein your body will need and modify your diet to match, you can consider a protein shake but honestly just having the protein there naturally in your diet would be better. Dont over look your vitamin/mineral intake also, you can help that with just a regular multi-vitamin if you dont already take one. And agian i commend you for taking the steps to become fit and heathy, i wish you the best.
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  11. #11
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    I made my 40K with no problems from my legs and no stops. I was planning on taking a break half way for a snack, but decided to just keep going because I felt so good. I think I solved my leg problem.


    All I did was make an adjustment to my pedaling technique. It seems that in an effort to keep my cadence up over 90, I had developed an uneven pedal stroke, where I was putting too much stress on my thigh muscles. I noticed it on a hill where I was sort of ratcheting up instead of moving smoothly, and my thighs were starting to burn. As soon as I started concentrating on pulling with my hamstrings (scraping mud off the foot motion), and keeping the power even all the way around, I immediately noticed a big difference. That's all it took. Today was a personal best in distance and speed, despite a nasty head wind on the way home.


    My ride was pure pleasure. I played 'A' league racquetball for years and never came close to the cardio fitness level I'm at now...from two months of training! I love cycling. Thanks for the encouragement and information.


    Rick

  12. #12
    Member ginsu's Avatar
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    Congrats on the breakthrough! As someone who was very competitive in other sports, just think of cycling as a new "game" to learn and hopefully master one day. I had the best ride I have had in a long time this afternoon, in the pouring rain. It was magical...
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