Why I'm feeling like this...

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Deckie
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Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby Deckie » 18 Jul 2013, 7:17pm

In April I was roped in to a challenge with work. Teams from branches around the country got together at a race track in Northamptonshire to take part in a 24 hour relay to raise money for 5 different charities. Being brutally honest, I has let myself get out of practice and shape and so started to cycle commute regularly for the first time in 20+ years.

The route is 6 miles, typically Cornish miles! First half mile is a climb of 45m with a total of about 150m of climbing over the route, the return journey starts with a 1 1/2 mile climb from sea level to just over 100m, so not an easy warm up!

I really found I enjoyed it and so have continued (the petrol savings are great too!)

The question is, why am I now finding that my legs feel constantly fatigued? Yes I know the weather isn't ideal hitting 25 to 30 degrees, but I'm drinking plenty to counter that. Is it me, the conditions, or just that my bike is a bit crap & starting to wear out?

For reference its a Giant OCR4 compact frame road bike, about 8 years old, 7 speed double, Shimano Sora. I've kept the chain and gears cleaned & lubed, tyres are well pumped up & the wheel bearings seem fine although it is starting to click & groan a bit.
Richard & Joules JoGLE for Marie Curie - 14 to 28 May 2010
http://www.richardjoulesjogle.blogspot.com

eileithyia
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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby eileithyia » 18 Jul 2013, 8:06pm

How recently did the constant fatigue feelings begin, is it since the hotter weather.... 6 flattish miles home were enough for me today after a day stood at work, legs feel tired achy and feet feel slightly swollen... and they really did not want to work on ride home....
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Deckie
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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby Deckie » 18 Jul 2013, 8:49pm

Could be that, it has really been in the past couple of weeks.

I try to tell myself not to push too hard, but don't have the right gearing not to! On the tandem we can just sit up & spin the gears on the uphills, but my bike has a 36x25 bottom gear, not really suited to our hills.

I shall have to test the weather theory at some point in the future as we seem to be extremely blessed at the moment!
Richard & Joules JoGLE for Marie Curie - 14 to 28 May 2010
http://www.richardjoulesjogle.blogspot.com

Moodyman1

Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby Moodyman1 » 18 Jul 2013, 8:52pm

Get plenty sleep and food. I've a 28 mile round commute with 1500 feet of cumulative climbing. If I don't get my 8 hours nap, I feel so lethargic the next day.

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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby Vorpal » 19 Jul 2013, 10:24am

How long have you been doing it? It may take a while for the body to get used to the new routine.

Otherwise, it may be mineral/salts depletion? Or electrolytes? Drinking water does not restore everything you use & sweat in hot weather.

You could try:
-Eat some bananas (they are high in potassium, one mineral for which depletion can cause fatigue)
-Try some electrolyte drops (available from health food shops) or a sports drink such as powerade or lucozade (these also have lots of sugar, os if you don't want that, electrolyte drops are better)
-add a little extra salt to your food, or take replacement tablets

If you don't eat a low sodium diet, you probably get plenty of sodium. I find the first two on the list the most helpful. And Moodyman1 is right about sleep. Even if you are used to less sleep, you may need more with an increase physical activity. Some people find that gets better when they get used to it.

As for the gears... it probably does affect the fatigue. You may get used to it; probably will if you do it every day. My current commute is 10 miles and 1000 feet climbing to work. When I first started doing it, I only had my road bike with me (I was in temporary housing), so it was a bit overgeared for the climb. Everyday, I wished I had my hybrid with MTB gearing. After a few weeks, when my stuff arrived, I took the hybrid and found I didn't need all those gears. In fact, it took me longer on my hybrid because I used lower gears & went more slowly. I had gotten used to it on the road bike just by riding it every day.

Well done & keep it up :D
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Merry_Wanderer
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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby Merry_Wanderer » 19 Jul 2013, 12:54pm

Deckie - My commute to the Railway Station is only 5.5 miles each way and flat with one minor hill. I do this on a Brompton. I've found cycling to be harder in the heat and that I'm more fatigued afterwards.

I'd follow the others' advice and just monitor yourself. If you're still fatigued when the weather is cooler then you could make further investigations :-)

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby [XAP]Bob » 19 Jul 2013, 2:25pm

I'm just cycling slightly more calmly - I only do one section as a minor time trial
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dodger
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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby dodger » 19 Jul 2013, 6:51pm

You may not be giving your body enough rest time. Stop cycling every day and that will allow your muscles to repair.

crossy
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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby crossy » 20 Jul 2013, 12:40pm

Maybe its a case of hills not getting easier just quicker.

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al_yrpal
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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby al_yrpal » 20 Jul 2013, 1:15pm

One of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes is constant tiredness. Get yourself checked.

Al
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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby byegad » 21 Jul 2013, 8:26am

dodger wrote:You may not be giving your body enough rest time. Stop cycling every day and that will allow your muscles to repair.


Yes that was my first thought. I have a friend, who is far fitter and faster than me who rides 3 or 4 times a week, the weekend plus a couple of weekday evenings. He decided to commute 35 miles a day and was fine for 4 0or 5 weeks, then got tired legs as the OP described. Reducing his commuting to four days a week and not riding one day/weekend allowed his body to recover and no more tired legs!
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Deckie
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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby Deckie » 22 Jul 2013, 11:47pm

Thanks for all the replies!,

Thanks for your concern Al, I did get myself checked out recently at my wife's incistence and they said I'm fine (phew!)

A couple of days not riding in, combined with cooler weather & it did feel much better again today, so probably a case of over doing it just yet...

So, question number 2: How do I build up my stamina and ability doing the same ride? Do I need to do some longer rides or take the longer route into work a few times? (8 1/2 miles)

I do want to carry on cycle commuting as much as is practical, but I want to continue enjoying it too.
Richard & Joules JoGLE for Marie Curie - 14 to 28 May 2010
http://www.richardjoulesjogle.blogspot.com

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531colin
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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby 531colin » 23 Jul 2013, 8:58am

It could be simply a question of pacing yourself. If you're tired to-day from yesterdays ride, you went too hard yesterday. You can ride all day every day, otherwise you can't tour.....but you have to be sensible with pace.
I grew up long before cycle computers and heart rate monitors....the trick is to ride at a pace where you can have a conversation, or whistle a tune.

There are riders who attack hills and cruise on the flat, and riders who crack along on the flat and go gently up the hills...I don't know if the difference is physiological or psychological.....high mileage groups seem to me to do the latter. I like scenery, not miles, so my rides tend to be hilly. If I'm fit, I can still attack the odd hill, if I'm not fit, I ride very slowly!

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Deckie
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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby Deckie » 23 Jul 2013, 2:20pm

On the tandem we definitely take the hills steadily, letting the gears take the strain. I did the same on our 24 hour challenge (I borrowed my son's Merida Race Lite 905, excellent bike with a better range of gears!). The problem is that my Giant doesn't have low enough gears to allow me to sit back & take it easy when the hills kick up to 1 in 4!

I'll just have to moderate my effort on the flatter areas rather than try to push on too much. The ride usually takes 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the weather & how I'm feeling.
Richard & Joules JoGLE for Marie Curie - 14 to 28 May 2010
http://www.richardjoulesjogle.blogspot.com

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531colin
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Re: Why I'm feeling like this...

Postby 531colin » 23 Jul 2013, 6:41pm

If your bike is over-geared for your current level of fitness, you have 2 choices.....you have to either attack the hills, or walk up them.
If attacking every hill, every trip, is making you feel permanently tired and drained, I think you need to consider doing something else....
that can be restricting your cycle commuting to 2 or 3 days a week, or walking the worst of the hills, or commuting on the tandem, or gearing the bike down a bit.......theres probably more.....