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Constant leg soreness/fatigue

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Constant leg soreness/fatigue

Old 05-04-14, 08:33 AM
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petalpower
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Constant leg soreness/fatigue

Been cycling for about 5 years now. Got pretty obsessed with it - racing, traing, etc. my FTP and overall fitness peaked about 2 seasons ago and then subsequently got a little burnt out. Since then I maintain about 148-150lbs all year with the given 10lb gain when I got to Italy or New York for the holidays.lol

Last summer I took it easy, and although I rode about the same (~8000 miles) I dropped the racing and structured traing towards the end of the year.

This season I've been suffering from a combination of constant leg soreness/fatigue and slight knee discomfort. I've been to my fitter 3x and he has found nothing out of the ordinary. Pretty much as soon as I get on the bike, my legs feel like. I did a century the day before. Even going up a flight of stairs feels absolutely taxing. My legs never felt like this doing all those threshold and anaerobic intervals. The knee, well, it's just a vague discomfort that i can't say is painfull - just noticeable. Lately my rides have been ranging from 10-40 miles and about 100-125 miles per week.

I'm at my wits end. My diet is spotless, although I'll admit I eat very few carbs. Other than 60g of whole oats in the morning(about 425 calories including banana and protein), I don't consume much in the way of carbs other than some fresh fruit.

Has anyone suffered from a bout of constant soreness? My sleep is good and sufficient. I do have some stress, but it's been the same. I'm only 37.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 05-04-14, 08:37 AM
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Consult your doctor. Soreness/pain as you describe is not "par for the course."

Good luck.
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Old 05-04-14, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by petalpower View Post
I'll admit I eat very few carbs. Other than 60g of whole oats in the morning(about 425 calories including banana and protein), I don't consume much in the way of carbs other than some fresh fruit.
I went through a fatigue slump in 2012, because I was riding too many consecutive days, riding too hard too often, and (most importantly) not refueling with sufficient amount of carbohydrates.
Your low carb diet isn't working for you now. Your body has been able to cope for a few years, but it catches up eventually.

You need carbs (sugar... maltodextrin, dextrose, whatever) right after your rides to help restore muscle glycogen. And you need normal carbs during your regular meals.

Also, are you riding every day or on X days, off a day?
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Old 05-04-14, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by f4rrest View Post
I went through a fatigue slump in 2012, because I was riding too many consecutive days, riding too hard too often, and (most importantly) not refueling with sufficient amount of carbohydrates.
Your low carb diet isn't working for you now. Your body has been able to cope for a few years, but it catches up eventually.

You need carbs (sugar... maltodextrin, dextrose, whatever) right after your rides to help restore muscle glycogen. And you need normal carbs during your regular meals.

Also, are you riding every day or on X days, off a day?
i ride usually every other day, although this week I rode 6 days, albeit 2-3 days were real easy 10-20 milers.

My current rides are 40 miles or less with avg power about 75% of what I used to push.
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Old 05-04-14, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by petalpower View Post
i ride usually every other day, although this week I rode 6 days, albeit 2-3 days were real easy 10-20 milers.

My current rides are 40 miles or less with avg power about 75% of what I used to push.
Days off the bike offer much more recovery than easy rides. When I was in your position, I went down to 4 days / week, all easy (zone 2 or less) for 50 miles/week. I avoided anyting over zone 2 for 1-2 months, and then slowly started increasing mileage. But the biggest help was adding a sugary recovery drink after every ride, and sufficient carbs to my regular meals. Don't worry about the weight while you're trying to get out of overtraining. I'm 10 lbs heavier now than I was then, but immensely faster (climbing as well). And now back to 200 miles /week.
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Old 05-04-14, 09:13 AM
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Carbs are good, you may wish to increasing your intake, lessening the amount of protein for a while.
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Old 05-04-14, 09:26 AM
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Go see your doctor.

J.
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Old 05-04-14, 09:38 AM
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I agree with f4rrest's guess and recommendations. I've been through pretty much the same, albeit without the low carb element. Take the rest, use the recovery drink, and you'll shake it.
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Old 05-04-14, 10:08 AM
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Are you on any medications? E.g. statins (cholesterol control) are notorious for causing muscle pains.
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Old 05-04-14, 10:32 AM
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Normally I would just read a post like this and shake my head and move on, but.....

Why in the name of all that's holy would you, an admittedly small person, be on a low carb diet when you are trying to live an endurance based/active lifestyle? Are you afraid of becoming obese and stepping on the scale and seeing, what, 152 pounds?

Yeah, a few more carbs might help a little.
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Old 05-04-14, 10:34 AM
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You are not eating enough carbs.

That's the problem for you. Burning protein to produce calories is hard on the body and you are facing the consequences. Add some whole grain and organic carbs to your diet, give it 3-4 weeks and I think you will notice an improvement. It would also be wise to get seen by your doctor and do a complete blood test.

This is a decent book on the subject of food for endurance athletes:

Amazon.com: Racing Weight (The Racing Weight Series) eBook: Matt Fitzgerald: Kindle Store
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Old 05-04-14, 10:38 AM
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Constant leg soreness/fatigue

Hows your sleeping? Snoring, sleep apnea?
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Old 05-04-14, 11:33 AM
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If you haven't, I'd try some NSAIDs before I jumped to any conclusions about diet.
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Old 05-04-14, 11:59 AM
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If you have no other symptoms I'd go see a doctor.
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Old 05-04-14, 12:05 PM
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You need to just lighten up. You sound compulsive. Take a few weeks off the bike, rest and relax. Don't worry about your diet so much. When you start to feel better, do some alternative exercises and ease back in to cycling. Unless you are training for some specific event or commute, 8,000 miles a year is a little excessive too.
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Old 05-04-14, 01:00 PM
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AGREE with the ease up. See Dr. if no improvement and for blood work.
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Old 05-04-14, 02:18 PM
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Maybe more iron as well. You may want to ask for a blood test as said above. According to what I've read, fatigue can accumulate. So, if you don't want to decrease your training too much, I'd try at least varying distance/intensity. I would hesitate in stopping completely however because that can apparently cause biochemical changes in your body that could cause depression.

One odd thing I did notice. When I eat some sugary food at least once a day like pudding, cookies, whatever, I feel stronger, faster and have more energy. Lately I started making "TV Dinners" with a mix of spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, potatoes and a small amount of vegetables (like frozen corn) and meat. I also eat a soup with a couple of slices of bread. (Soup has things like: red kidney beans, chick peas, lentils, rice, pasta, tomatoes, corn, hamburger, salt, pepper, oregano and basil.)
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Old 05-04-14, 03:06 PM
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two things to consider:
>allergy season can bed extended and cause this muscle ache and fatigue. We are currently in a pollen vortex. It may not directly apply to you, but there are many potential environmental allergens.

>there are so many foods that avoid salt. We have become obsessed with low sodium diets, yet we are 80% salt water (saline) That may be why the poster right above me finds energy in TV dinners and soups --> loaded with sodium.

But one thing sticks out:
YOU LIVE IN ITALY AND Are on a low carb diet? How is that possible?
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Old 05-04-14, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Are you on any medications? E.g. statins (cholesterol control) are notorious for causing muscle pains.
none. I just take ibuprofen and glucosamine.

Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
Normally I would just read a post like this and shake my head and move on, but.....

Why in the name of all that's holy would you, an admittedly small person, be on a low carb diet when you are trying to live an endurance based/active lifestyle? Are you afraid of becoming obese and stepping on the scale and seeing, what, 152 pounds?

Yeah, a few more carbs might help a little.
not sure. I liked the leanness I was experiencing from limited carbs and the racing. I guess I went too far eliminating the major component of energy.

Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
Hows your sleeping? Snoring, sleep apnea?
sleep has been ok. Better than in the past, but I still get up once in the middle of the night to relive myself - probably from the huge salads or ton of broccoli I eat.

Thanks everyone for all the advice. It's been frustrating to suffer from this. I'm going to try to increase my carbs.

When I was at my personal peak, I had a high point of 70% calories from carbs.
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Old 05-05-14, 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by petalpower View Post
This season I've been suffering from a combination of constant leg soreness/fatigue and slight knee discomfort. I've been to my fitter 3x and he has found nothing out of the ordinary. Pretty much as soon as I get on the bike, my legs feel like. I did a century the day before. Even going up a flight of stairs feels absolutely taxing. My legs never felt like this doing all those threshold and anaerobic intervals. The knee, well, it's just a vague discomfort that i can't say is painfull - just noticeable. Lately my rides have been ranging from 10-40 miles and about 100-125 miles per week.

I'm at my wits end. My diet is spotless, although I'll admit I eat very few carbs. Other than 60g of whole oats in the morning(about 425 calories including banana and protein), I don't consume much in the way of carbs other than some fresh fruit.

Has anyone suffered from a bout of constant soreness? My sleep is good and sufficient. I do have some stress, but it's been the same. I'm only 37.

Thanks for any help.
1. Go to the Doctor and get a complete physical done.

2. Get more sleep ... aim for 8-9 hours/night for a while.

3. Count your calories ... make a note of everything you eat for the next 3 weeks. You should be getting some protein, some fat, and more carbs. But very little sugar. Especially eat vegetables and a few more whole grains.

4. Drink more water.

5. Make sure you're consuming electrolytes when you ride.

6. Vary your rides ... each day during the week, do something different. (Day 1 - long ride, Day 2 - recovery ride, Day 3 - intervals, etc.)

Last edited by Machka; 05-05-14 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 05-05-14, 08:43 AM
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More carbs while on the bike, more protein afterwards.

All the experience cyclists I have talked to say a sports gel every 30-45 minutes of riding to keep the glycogen replenished in your leg muscles, works for me. One liter of water an hour, make sure your pee is always clear. If its not, drink more!
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Old 05-05-14, 09:24 AM
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What and how much protein/day? When I get on the bike and my legs hurt, it means not enough protein. If I can't "go" on a climb, it means not enough carbs. Diet - what does "spotless" mean? You want some spots in your diet. One day a week when you splurge and reset. If your peak was at 70% carbs maybe you should revisit that. Sleep? Knee discomfort - how often and how do you stretch? Try these:
http://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycli...l#post15372967
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Old 05-05-14, 10:40 AM
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I'm curious about something...

Why would a person with a physical issue come to an anonymous bike forum for advice?
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Old 05-05-14, 11:01 AM
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I would like to hear more about the Op's diet. Sounds like what happens when I go on a hardcore diet....just not getting enough of the vitamins the body needs to keep the system functioning.
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Old 05-05-14, 11:21 AM
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I followed a very similar diet to the OP, but for a reason, as I had to lose 20lbs. I had exactly the same issues during the period where I avoided carbs and pleased that I am now at my target weight and can eat properly.

My experience for what it is worth.

1.) Hydrate well and eat well on any ride longer than 90 minutes.
2.) Protein shake within the first 1/2 hour after the ride and then hydrate with a sports drink 24 ounces minimum. If it was a very hard event, 4 hours racing, I would have another protein shake prior to going to bed at night.
3.) Avoid caffeine before and after a ride, as it subdues the feeling of hunger and makes it easy to miss nutrition.
3.) Eat well balanced, lots of carbs but limit gluten intake.
4.) If I miss a day of riding, the next time I go hard I have sore legs (a little bit) lasting a couple days. If i miss more than one days riding, the effect is far worse after a hard workout following the down days. Recovery is easy rides and always include at least 15 minutes of high 110 RPM cadence, with low power output.
5.) If I have sore legs that bother me on the bike, due to (4.) above, a really hard 5 x 10% gradient 300 yard hill interval session, followed by stretching EVERY day, takes all the sore away. Weird, but it works for me.
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