Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Training & Nutrition
Reload this Page >

Why are my legs always sore?

Notices
Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

Why are my legs always sore?

Old 10-07-15, 05:44 PM
  #1  
rms13
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,517
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 276 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 3 Posts
Why are my legs always sore?

I've been riding road for about 5 years. I've only been serious for past 3 and even as such, I only have time to ride 60-80 miles per week on a good week. My current schedule on the average week is like this:

Sun: 20-40 miles (2000-3000 feet climbing)
Mon: rest
Tue: 20 miles (800-1000 feet)
Wed: rest
Thu: 20 miles (800-1000 feet)
Fri: rest
Sat: rest

On the average week these are all solo rides. I generally ride as hard as I can and avg around 15mph on these solo rides. My nutrition is pretty good. My sleep is so so. I have a 4 month old baby at home but I still manage to sleep solid 11pm-6am on most nights. The only other exercise I get these days is body weight training usually on the days I don't ride and I'll only do leg related stuff once a week to try to give my legs the most rest they can get. But still, today (Wed rest day) my legs feel like they are made of cement. My quads, hamstrings and calves all feel heavy and sore. I try to stretch every day as well. I see guys I know on Strava riding 6-7 days a week and doing 200+ miles per week. And most are my age (38) or much older. What am I doing wrong?
rms13 is offline  
Old 10-07-15, 05:53 PM
  #2  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 36,724

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 131 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4755 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 754 Times in 468 Posts
Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
...... I generally ride as hard as I can ....
I think this is the answer. If you're riding full out, trying to improve, you'll be tired. I'd break it up with an easy day where you ride at a comfortable pace, maybe for a longer distance on flatter terrain.

In any case, that rubber legs feeling is a characteristic effect of lactic acid accumulation in the muscles. It may indicate that your legs are getting stronger, but the rest of you, specifically your heart and lungs are lagging a bit. But that's only one possibility. Try to mix up your training with fast days, long day and hard days, and don't forget to include some easy days.

It might also help to end your rides with something of a cool down cycle, riding easy to sort of work the kinks out the muscles. Pros get massages after rides for this reason, but if you're like me, you need to ride or walk it out post ride.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

Last edited by FBinNY; 10-07-15 at 05:57 PM.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 10-07-15, 06:01 PM
  #3  
rms13
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,517
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 276 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I think this is the answer. If you're riding full out, trying to improve, you'll be tired. I'd break it up with an easy day where you ride at a comfortable pace, maybe for a longer distance on flatter terrain.

In any case, that rubber legs feeling is a characteristic effect of lactic acid accumulation in the muscles. It may indicate that your legs are getting stronger, but the rest of you, specifically your heart and lungs are lagging a bit. But that's only one possibility. Try to mix up your training with fast days, long day and hard days, and don't forget to include some easy days.
I hear you. But I figured that having rest days and rarely riding back to back days would give my legs time to recover. I used to do a lot of weight lifting/power lifting and that theory of a full day off in between work out days would be enough recovery. But also with my lifting programs I was never doing squats in back to back work outs for example so even lifting every other day I would do squats once in 5 days so I guess that is also a big difference. But yeah it is lactic acid build up. I guess tomorrow I will try a leisurely paced ride on flatter ground and see how it goes.
rms13 is offline  
Old 10-07-15, 06:36 PM
  #4  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 36,724

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 131 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4755 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 754 Times in 468 Posts
Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
I hear you. But I figured that having rest days and rarely riding back to back days would give my legs time to recover. I used to do a lot of weight lifting/power lifting and that theory of a full day off in between work out days would be enough recovery. But also with my lifting programs I was never doing squats in back to back work outs for example so even lifting every other day I would do squats once in 5 days so I guess that is also a big difference. But yeah it is lactic acid build up. I guess tomorrow I will try a leisurely paced ride on flatter ground and see how it goes.
Don't forget the wind down or walk off at the end of the ride or immediately after. When I grew up I lived at the top of a long climb. I was riding to school and back daily and every ride ended with the climb. Until I figured out the secret of riding a bit longer when I got home, or walking it off, I'd go to bed with tired legs and wake up with more tired, crampy legs.

Watch professional riders and runners, there's much more to those victory laps than celebrating victory.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 10-07-15, 06:41 PM
  #5  
DrIsotope
Non omnino gravis
 
DrIsotope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SoCal, USA!
Posts: 8,553

Bikes: Nekobasu, Pandicorn, Lakitu

Mentioned: 119 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4904 Post(s)
Liked 1,728 Times in 956 Posts
Cadence, cadence, cadence. When I started out, my cadence was ending up in the mid-60s for a full ride. Now it's generally around 85 for a full ride. Mashing will get you sore legs-- I would have legs so sore I was riding at most 3 days a week. Now I ride at least 5 days a week. Concentrate on going up a gear a spinning faster on rides.
__________________
DrIsotope is offline  
Old 10-07-15, 06:48 PM
  #6  
rms13
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,517
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 276 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Cadence, cadence, cadence. When I started out, my cadence was ending up in the mid-60s for a full ride. Now it's generally around 85 for a full ride. Mashing will get you sore legs-- I would have legs so sore I was riding at most 3 days a week. Now I ride at least 5 days a week. Concentrate on going up a gear a spinning faster on rides.
I am usually at 80-100 and per Strava/Garmin my avg candence on most rides is right around 80
rms13 is offline  
Old 10-07-15, 06:53 PM
  #7  
Heathpack 
Has a magic bike
 
Heathpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 12,590

Bikes: 2018 Scott Spark, 2015 Fuji Norcom Straight, 2014 BMC GF01, 2013 Trek Madone

Mentioned: 699 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4456 Post(s)
Liked 425 Times in 157 Posts
I actually find it surprising that with your age & as many days as you're off the bike that you are sore a lot. Are you on your feet or otherwise running around on your days off?

I actually start all my rides with a 20 min warm up & a 10 min cool down. As @FBinNY mentioned, I mix up easy & hard days but I'm usually on the bike 5-6 days per week, so I don't get as much rest as you.

You say your nutrition is good and I'm not sure exactly what that means to you. However after every hard ride, I consume carbs + protein to aid recovery and set myself up to build muscle- if you're riding hard & not doing that, you might give it a try. You need good nutrition all-around for sure but the post-ride recovery drink is particularly important for me. My drink of choice is Greek yogurt, berries, a little sugar, skim milk, and ice cubes, whirled in the blender. I aim for 25-30 gm protein post ride and the yogurt & milk have a good bit of carb/sugar.

You also should be sure to schedule a light week every 3rd or 4th week.
Heathpack is offline  
Old 10-08-15, 06:48 AM
  #8  
denvertrout
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: North Denver
Posts: 210
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
I am on year 5 of constant never goes away leg soreness. What I have just learned in the last two weeks is that I am also 100% quads, 100% of the time. Zero glute involvement. When I first realized this, it took about 20 miles of constant focus to get any glute contraction at all. I am at the point now that I can engage them on hills, but flat roads are still hard..Hasn't changed my leg soreness yet, but I think it will soon. Anyway, something to think about.
denvertrout is offline  
Old 10-08-15, 08:19 AM
  #9  
Drew Eckhardt 
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Mountain View, CA USA and Golden, CO USA
Posts: 6,341

Bikes: 97 Litespeed, 50-39-30x13-26 10 cogs, Campagnolo Ultrashift, retroreflective rims on SON28/PowerTap hubs

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 320 Times in 223 Posts
Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
Sun: 20-40 miles (2000-3000 feet climbing)
Mon: rest
Tue: 20 miles (800-1000 feet)
Wed: rest
Thu: 20 miles (800-1000 feet)
Fri: rest
Sat: rest

On the average week these are all solo rides. I generally ride as hard as I can and avg around 15mph on these solo rides.
1. You're riding "as hard as you can" which takes a few days to fully recover from. Tangentially that just leaves you tired and slow, or at best not fast because you don't ride hard enough to really improve lactate threshold/VO2max and ride too hard to train your oxidative energy system.

2. You don't have rest weeks with lower intensity to allow for adaptation.

3. You're riding up to 40 miles on your long ride with a 9-11 mile daily average and length is relative.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
Old 10-08-15, 07:10 PM
  #10  
rms13
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,517
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 276 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 3 Posts
I tried to adopt some suggestions and did 12 miles this morning with 700 ft elevation at 13 mph average. I had some bacon, eggs and hash browns when I got to work to cover some protein/carbs for recovery. I usually have some combo of eggs and potatoes/rice/sweet potatoes after my rides for recovery. Still sore but I realize I need a better planned out training regiment (I hate to say training regiment since I'm not training for anything).

One problem is it's hard for me to get a really flat ride. The 700 ft at 12 miles was me trying not to climb. Problem is ride from home and the only really flat option is the major road by my home that is 2-3 lanes each way with 40mph speed limit and I live in the city with the most unsafe drivers in the country so riding there in rush hour is not fun (not to mention constant stop lights). So I have to do some climbing just to get to more quite streets
rms13 is offline  
Old 10-08-15, 11:07 PM
  #11  
f4rrest
Farmer tan
 
f4rrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Burbank, CA
Posts: 7,986

Bikes: Allez, SuperSix Evo

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2870 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 23 Posts
I actually overtrained 4 years ago by not eating enough and riding hard every time on a commute schedule similar to yours.

It took 6 months of granny rides and skipping gym days to really get back to it. It sucked.

These days, majority of my mileage is zone 2, keeping power under 225. It's hard to do here, but LA river, Kenneth, glenoaks, or up latuna turn around before the hill are all flat enough.

Alternatively, and especially with a baby, rollers would be ideal for easy pedaling.

And 5 hours may not be enough sleep.

See if you can go easy 2 days and hard on only one day for a while.
f4rrest is offline  
Old 10-08-15, 11:12 PM
  #12  
f4rrest
Farmer tan
 
f4rrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Burbank, CA
Posts: 7,986

Bikes: Allez, SuperSix Evo

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2870 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 23 Posts
Another thing that really helped was drinking anything with sugar immediately afterwards. Gets recovery glycogen to muscles quickly. A meal and/or protein is too slow.
f4rrest is offline  
Old 10-09-15, 01:52 PM
  #13  
bungis
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 23
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Couple suggestions:
1. Get your Testosterone levels checked, if it's low that it have a negative effect on recovery.
2. Stretch and elevate your legs after your ride.
3. Try eliminating leg work off the bike.
bungis is offline  
Old 10-11-15, 02:00 PM
  #14  
robdymondpittma
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Posts: 3

Bikes: 2014 Cannondale CAAD10 105 (upgraded to Ultegra 6800, Fizik/Octto cockpit, Fulcrum Racing Quattro), 2015 CAADX Disc 3 Ultegra, Simcoe Signature 3 with Brooks B17 and grips plus B&M/Shimano dynamo setup

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
I have a 4 month old baby at home but I still manage to sleep solid 11pm-6am on most nights.
Patent your technique, quit your job, ride full time.
robdymondpittma is offline  
Old 10-12-15, 06:22 PM
  #15  
sprince
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 888
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
I hear you. But I figured that having rest days and rarely riding back to back days would give my legs time to recover. I used to do a lot of weight lifting/power lifting and that theory of a full day off in between work out days would be enough recovery. But also with my lifting programs I was never doing squats in back to back work outs for example so even lifting every other day I would do squats once in 5 days so I guess that is also a big difference. But yeah it is lactic acid build up. I guess tomorrow I will try a leisurely paced ride on flatter ground and see how it goes.
You need to ride on the rest days to flush the legs out. Just 30 minutes at a very easy page is enough. Are you getting enough protein, and what else is in that diet? Doing the weight training on the off days (if you are doing legs) is the same as having no rest days. Seven hours of sleep is obviously not enough, at 38 you should be able to do at least 6 days a week unless you are lacking sleep and/or nutrition.
sprince is offline  
Old 10-13-15, 10:02 AM
  #16  
bikebreak
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 878
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 129 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by robdymondpittma View Post
Patent your technique, quit your job, ride full time.
yep, 7 hours solid sleep with a baby is incredible. you give baby a nightcap with the bottle?

my legs are also always sore when I press on them, but feel normal otherwise. I also ride hard with minimal warmup and cooldown and no real recovery rides, due to very limited riding time available. I suspect warmup and cooldown will help, and try foam rolling the legs too
bikebreak is offline  
Old 10-14-15, 07:48 AM
  #17  
TexMac
Senior Member
 
TexMac's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,602

Bikes: Ridley Noah fast, Colnago CLX,Giant Propel Advanced, Pinnerello Gogma 65.1, Specialized S-works Venge, CAADX,Cervelo S3

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 74 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
I've been riding road for about 5 years. I've only been serious for past 3 and even as such, I only have time to ride 60-80 miles per week on a good week. My current schedule on the average week is like this:

Sun: 20-40 miles (2000-3000 feet climbing)
Mon: rest
Tue: 20 miles (800-1000 feet)
Wed: rest
Thu: 20 miles (800-1000 feet)
Fri: rest
Sat: rest

On the average week these are all solo rides. I generally ride as hard as I can and avg around 15mph on these solo rides. My nutrition is pretty good. My sleep is so so. I have a 4 month old baby at home but I still manage to sleep solid 11pm-6am on most nights. The only other exercise I get these days is body weight training usually on the days I don't ride and I'll only do leg related stuff once a week to try to give my legs the most rest they can get. But still, today (Wed rest day) my legs feel like they are made of cement. My quads, hamstrings and calves all feel heavy and sore. I try to stretch every day as well. I see guys I know on Strava riding 6-7 days a week and doing 200+ miles per week. And most are my age (38) or much older. What am I doing wrong?
When i started cycling in 2013 i would hammer every other day with guys who had 10 yrs of riding. Ended up injuring my left leg right behind the knee and being off bike for 2 months. Riding hard every ride even with a day off doesn't sound good. Just like some suggested you might want to ride hard 2 days and the easy zone 1/2 the other days. Every 4th week take 4 days off completely to let your body replenish glycogen.
TexMac is offline  
Old 10-14-15, 06:55 PM
  #18  
sprince
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 888
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm thinking there must be more to the story. At 38 that schedule, after a month or so, shouldn't result in soreness ever, unless sleep, nutrition or something else is lacking. But if you do have chronic soreness, that is a pretty clear indication that the schedule is not doing you any good (the benefit of overloading is negative, until after you have recovered from it), so increasing rest days would be a good start.
sprince is offline  
Old 10-16-15, 02:18 PM
  #19  
rms13
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,517
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 276 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by robdymondpittma View Post
Patent your technique, quit your job, ride full time.
Begginer's luck
rms13 is offline  
Old 10-17-15, 11:26 AM
  #20  
imi
aka Timi
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 3,104

Bikes: Bianchi Lupo (touring) Bianchi Volpe (commuter), Miyata On Off Road Runner

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 107 Post(s)
Liked 77 Times in 61 Posts
Why are my legs always sore?

Drinking enough water?
A hot bath can do wonders.
Massage also great.

Though it's up for debate many athletes find stretching helps recovery. Others don't.

A beer can relax muscles, but alcohol can have other adverse effects.

A hot shower before exercise can really help before your gentle aerobic warm-up (you do warm up 10-15 mins before starting the hammering, neh?)

Meditation, yoga, relaxation and sex is all good.

Or just htfu!
imi is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
DavyKOTWF
Training & Nutrition
9
07-11-16 07:19 AM
bikesd
Training & Nutrition
70
09-22-15 05:43 AM
lungimsam
Commuting
28
08-12-13 01:39 AM
KevinB.
Training & Nutrition
23
11-01-11 09:37 PM
raydog
Fifty Plus (50+)
17
05-31-11 03:17 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.