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My thighs are killing me... solution?

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My thighs are killing me... solution?

Old 10-17-12, 08:46 PM
  #1  
macteacher
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My thighs are killing me... solution?

Hi all,

I haven't been on this site in some time. I've been an on and off again commuter throughout the years. However this fall, I have been going pretty much every day. My roundtrip commute is 16km. My quad's however are really sore. I took it really easy coming home today but going to work there is a mild incline the entire way up. I just find my quad's are sore...but my hamstrings are fine. Im worried that this might cause a muscle imbalance.

The thing is, I do have clipless pedals, but whenever I pull up, I just find its my quads that are doing the pulling. I did raise my seat again today, so i'll see if that makes a difference...and I also started to stretch my quads before and after my rides. but is there anything else that can be done? There are people who bike daily, year round that do not have this problem. What's their secret?

Thanks
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Old 10-17-12, 09:10 PM
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I find that yoga helps with sore muscles and keeping my muscles from getting to tight. There are lots of resources on the web that show some good asanas for cyclist and explain how they help. Even Bicycling magazine has some articles. Cycling works some muscles a lot and others not at all so finding something to help balance that out is very helpful.
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Old 10-17-12, 09:12 PM
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Take it easy, you may be overdoing the workout thing..
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Old 10-17-12, 09:37 PM
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Too much too soon, and STRETCH. Gentle,...no pain. I'm always sore,...but I'm getting old anyways.
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Old 10-17-12, 09:40 PM
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I sometimes feel that way by Thursday or Friday. A day or two off here and there might do you some good.
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Old 10-17-12, 10:14 PM
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raise the seat
go slower
decrease weight on your bike
stand up while climbing
eat properly before during and after the ride
use compression tights
warm up before the ride
stretch after the ride
ice bath and massage of your legs
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Old 10-18-12, 03:08 AM
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take a day off or two. Recouping is often not talked about but very important.

Take a walk. Helps the muscles.

Eat protein after your ride within one hour. Chocolate milk does wonders. Helps rebuild the muscles.

spin more. no mashing!
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Old 10-18-12, 05:53 AM
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This should go away as you get stronger. A 5 mile ride will soon feel like cake, even if it is slightly uphill. In the meantime, try using a lower gear and spinning at 100 rpm. Don't have to pedal 100 rpm all the time, just some of the time. Make sure your seat is high enough, a too-low saddle is tough on the knees and quads. Not sure how you are pulling up using quads, but think more about pulling back - like if you are kicking something with your heel.
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Old 10-18-12, 06:22 AM
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Yep. Saddle height. Might also want to verify fore and aft position of the saddle too.
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Old 10-18-12, 06:32 AM
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Seat up, but not so far that your hips rock when you pedal. Then lower your handlebars. You need to get your pelvis tipped forward like a cereal bowl tipping out some milk so your glutes and hamstrings will be engaged. More power, less tiredness on the quads.
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Old 10-18-12, 06:52 AM
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Check your seat fore/aft position and then seat height. If all is fine, then like others are recommending perhaps some rest to give your legs a chance to recover.

Just an fyi regarding your worry on muscle imbalance, please be aware that a lot of IT band issues can be caused by neglecting muscles on the other side of the knee and that if you can you should look at doing exercises to strengthen these muscles that are not used as much in bicycling.
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Old 10-18-12, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by macteacher View Post
There are people who bike daily, year round that do not have this problem. What's their secret?
That's exactly the secret. Every day, all year.

Bear in mind too, that you have wide range of different bikes, probably with an equally wide range of saddle positions. Switching from one bike to another will engage different sets of muscles, and in different ways.

The muscles you use on bike A may have lost their tone while you were riding bikes B, C and D for a while. When you get back on bike A, you've effectively not been using those muscles, so you're starting all over again.

That's what I finally figured out last year at this time. Some people have the body sense to sus this out for themselves. I don't. All I could do is tell that something was wrong. So I needed help.

I usually get some extra hours in October. So last October I took the extra money--and all four bikes simultaneously--to the LBS and had them sort out the fit differences for me. We started with the bike that felt best for me, got that one dialed-in, then transferred the measurements and re-tested. I rode only two of the four for two more weeks, went back for fine tuning, and had the new measurements transferred to the remaining two.

Now, all four bikes engage the same muscles in the same way. If I don't ride bike A for three weeks, there's no penalty for my legs.

All my bikes are roadies, so it was fairly easy--for the LBS--to get the bikes to all to fit alike. That may not be the case for you, since your bikes all seem to be wildly different. You may have to pick one and stick with it for commuting.

And remember too, that saddles are placed in three dimensions, so saddle height alone is only part of positioning it. There is also setback from the bottom bracket and both pitch and yaw. Since seatposts are at an angle, moving the saddle up and down also moves it fore and aft, unless you loosen it on the rails and compensate accordingly.

Still, fit and position help only so far. The rest is sticking to it regularly--day it, day out--rather than occasional bursts of dabbling. And you don't get to play the weather card with me. I'm on the other side of the lake from you. Our temperatures vary by a degree or two. You get more sun, we get more clouds and lake effect. We both get winds whipping off the lake. Finally, like most folks here, I also need to be presentable at work. Yet, the last day I skipped bike commuting was in July 2006.

It's a polite way of saying HTFU. After you get your fit sorted out.

EDIT: Just so you don't get the wrong idea about me, I'm not really a hardman of cycling. I ride through the winter to avoid the month or more of aches and pains of getting back into shape come spring. I ride regularly to avoid the few days of aches and pains when I get back on the bike. For me, it's just plain easier--in the long run--to keep at it day in and day out.

Last edited by tsl; 10-18-12 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 10-18-12, 07:22 AM
  #13  
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Also, you might slow down on your ride, until you get used to going every day.
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Old 10-18-12, 07:23 AM
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Rest day, with a long walk should help. Personally I move the seat around at random sometimes just to work different muscles, but I'll bet it's not the problem. I think you just need to strengthen those muscles and this problem will go away on its own eventually.
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Old 10-18-12, 07:24 AM
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Sounds like muscle fatigue to me. Take a few days off, eat lots of protein, take it easy next time you're out.
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Old 10-18-12, 07:25 AM
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this same exact situation happened to me and i know the cure. Few weeks back i was riding to and from work total of 20 miles a day and i constantly walked around with sore legs. i rode that monday the following week and on tuesday i had to take my bike to the LBS and it was there until friday afternoon forcing me to drive for the rest of the week. I didnt ride again until monday the following week for work. My legs felt amazing! i gained endurace and strength! ... you woudl be surprised what 4-5 days of rest could do for them. It might seem like crazy idea but you have nothing to lose.
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Old 10-18-12, 09:43 AM
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I agree with an earlier poster: try a lower gear so you spin a bit faster...and easier.
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Old 10-18-12, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Yep. Saddle height. Might also want to verify fore and aft position of the saddle too.
+1
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Old 10-18-12, 12:20 PM
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Like others said , my guess would be that your seat is too low. That will make my quads hurt more than anything. It could also be conditioning. If you hadn't been riding much before starting commuting again this fall, you might just have to ride yourself back into shape. If so, take some rest days now and then, or ride at a slow recovery pace every other day or so. Riding hard every day will wear you out. I commute about 30 miles (50 km) round trip 3-5 days/week, plus longer rides on the weekends. My legs generally feel fine except for the days after really long or strenuous rides. If my legs are tired and sore, I slow it down on my commutes. I am also meticulous about bike fit and have measured and set up each bike (5 of them) so they almost exactly the same.
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Old 10-18-12, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Hairy Legs View Post
I sometimes feel that way by Thursday or Friday. A day or two off here and there might do you some good.
+1 Don`t overdo it. Rest, even when commuting. Lower gears, enjoy the ride. It is not a race.
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Old 10-18-12, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BiketoFeel View Post
+1 Don`t overdo it. Rest, even when commuting. Lower gears, enjoy the ride. It is not a race.
Haha.... If only it were just a ride. I have raised the seat. It seems to have helped, but I think I need to raise it another notch. I actually am involved in a competition at work. Who can arrive earlier, who can ride in inclement weather, etc. so I do push it in the morning, but on the way home I do take it easy

thanks for all the tips. I will raise the seat and take a break November 1st
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Old 10-18-12, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by melvinator View Post
this same exact situation happened to me and i know the cure. Few weeks back i was riding to and from work total of 20 miles a day and i constantly walked around with sore legs. i rode that monday the following week and on tuesday i had to take my bike to the LBS and it was there until friday afternoon forcing me to drive for the rest of the week. I didnt ride again until monday the following week for work. My legs felt amazing! i gained endurace and strength! ... you woudl be surprised what 4-5 days of rest could do for them. It might seem like crazy idea but you have nothing to lose.
Agree, although for me I think it peaks after about two days. If I take a day off I don't feel that much better riding, but after two days off, when I get back on the bike, I feel like I'm flying.
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Old 10-19-12, 05:50 AM
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- Lots of protein (this is extremely important for me, I get a 55 gallon vat of protein mix at Costco.)
- Do not pull up on clipless, but try to relieve the leg weight instead.
- Stretch in the morning or at Yoga class, but not before a ride.
- Seat height, as others have said.
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Old 10-19-12, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BiketoFeel View Post
+1 Don`t overdo it. Rest, even when commuting. Lower gears, enjoy the ride. It is not a race.
+1 i think resting random days through the week and spinning an easier gear will help tremondously.
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