Getting past the aches and pains?

Gingertimmins
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Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby Gingertimmins » 21 Apr 2017, 11:48am

Hi all, I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on how to stop my legs from aching so much.
I commute daily- about 8 miles each way- and I find by weds/thurs my legs ache like crazy. I'm a chef so being on my feet all day probably doesn't help.
I rode a fixie for 5 years in flat london and was only doing about 8 miles a day. I now live in pretty hilly bristol so about 8 weeks ago I bought a road bike. I'm finding it much easier than in the fixie but I just can't seem to shake the aches.
Rather than me getting used to it I seem to be increasing in speed and pushing harder week after week. Do you think it's a case of me having to reach my peak fitness as I've only been at this for 8 weeks and then I will plateau and hopefully stop aching?
I eat well enough- the cuisine at my work is natural and healthy and I eat for free so I don't think I'm under nourished.
It's probably worth mentioning that I haven't had a bike fit on this bike but I have on previous bikes and using that knowledge plus a lot of reading I have, through trial and error got the fit on my bike so that I'm very comfortable for a couple of hours.

Thanks for the help!


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Si
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Re: Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby Si » 21 Apr 2017, 12:16pm

Rather than me getting used to it I seem to be increasing in speed and pushing harder week after week.


I think that might be part of it! Try riding slower and not taking so much out of yourself, then when you feel less aching you can increase the intensity again but emember to keep having recovery periods where you go easier. And perhaps use lower gears on the hills if you are monstering up them in a high gear (like you might have on the fixie).

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Re: Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby Vorpal » 21 Apr 2017, 12:28pm

A couple of things...

1) I know you said you think the fit is okay & you are comfortable for a couple of hours, but your symptoms can be casued by incorrect saddle position. Are you comfortable for longer? Could your saddle be a little too low? A little too forward? Some people find that as little as half a centimeter can make a significant difference. 531Colin has a nice bike fit guide here http://wheel-easy.org.uk/uploads/docume ... 02017a.pdf

2) Do you have any alternative transport methods? You could try cycling 2 or 3 days a week for a couple of weeks and see if that helps, then working your way back up to every day?

I also agree with what Si said.

edited to add: also make sure that you drink plenty.
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Re: Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby mjr » 21 Apr 2017, 12:50pm

What are you eating immediately after your ride? That can be important to repair the tearing done to muscles by strenuous exercise. I have a vague memory of a similar request about Bristol a while ago but I didn't find it in the search now so I'm not sure how it ended.

Can you vary your route to take an easier route sometimes (classic Bristol example: Colston Street and Park Row to spread the climb over twice the length of Park Street - or cheat and use the lift in the car park!), or a route where you'd actually prefer to waft along gently rather than go ever faster?
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Re: Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby thirdcrank » 21 Apr 2017, 1:10pm

Gingertimmins wrote: ... I'm a chef so being on my feet all day probably doesn't help. ...


I think this must be a big factor. During my working life I had two postings where I had to stand about for hours at a time and I had all sorts of pains in my legs. I'm not talking about being on your feet as in walking miles, but having to stand pretty much on the same spot. While riding hard is painful - and even sprinters have a massage - unless there's something else like the wrong position, I'd not expect your problems to be caused by cycling. On the contrary, I'd expect the exercise to mitigate the effects of being on your feet all day.

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foxyrider
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Re: Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby foxyrider » 21 Apr 2017, 2:43pm

Some sort of support sock will probably help.
Convention? what's that then?

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Gingertimmins
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Re: Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby Gingertimmins » 21 Apr 2017, 4:16pm

Thanks for the replies everyone!

Si wrote:
Rather than me getting used to it I seem to be increasing in speed and pushing harder week after week.


I think that might be part of it! Try riding slower and not taking so much out of yourself, then when you feel less aching you can increase the intensity again but emember to keep having recovery periods where you go easier. And perhaps use lower gears on the hills if you are monstering up them in a high gear (like you might have on the fixie).

I often make a conscious effort to pace myself and not push and it goes well until I get lost in my thoughts somewhere. Then I snap back to reality and I'm cycling hard and fast again. That's not to say I'm not concentrating on the road, just not so much on pace.

Vorpal wrote:A couple of things...

1) I know you said you think the fit is okay & you are comfortable for a couple of hours, but your symptoms can be casued by incorrect saddle position. Are you comfortable for longer? Could your saddle be a little too low? A little too forward? Some people find that as little as half a centimeter can make a significant difference. 531Colin has a nice bike fit guide here http://wheel-easy.org.uk/uploads/docume ... 02017a.pdf

2) Do you have any alternative transport methods? You could try cycling 2 or 3 days a week for a couple of weeks and see if that helps, then working your way back up to every day?

I also agree with what Si said.

edited to add: also make sure that you drink plenty.

Thanks for the bike fit link, I will have a look and revise my fit but I have to say that I have been tweaking for a couple of weeks and the position it is in now seems to be just right. I'm not ruling out that my fit may still be wrong but I can ride with no niggles for a couple of hours. Surely that means it's pretty much there?

As for alternative transport.... unfortunately the bus is my only option and as anyone living in bristol will tell you, you can't rely on them for anything. I have used the bus 3 times and 3 times I have been late and unfortunately my line of work doesn't allow for lateness.

mjr wrote:What are you eating immediately after your ride? That can be important to repair the tearing done to muscles by strenuous exercise. I have a vague memory of a similar request about Bristol a while ago but I didn't find it in the search now so I'm not sure how it ended.

Can you vary your route to take an easier route sometimes (classic Bristol example: Colston Street and Park Row to spread the climb over twice the length of Park Street - or cheat and use the lift in the car park!), or a route where you'd actually prefer to waft along gently rather than go ever faster?

I usually have a bowl of muesli and a berrocca type drink as soon as I get in (normally do some pull ups and push ups before, if I can be bothered) and pretty soon after the muesli I eat whatever sandwhich I bring home from work- usually a cheese ploughmans. Probably not the best post exercise food.
My route now is as easy as can be...I think. Do you know Bristol? Most of my route is along the B2B railway path so it's pretty flat and I've adjusted the route so that although adding about half a mile each way, I avoid the hills or tackle them over a longer but but lower gradient.

thirdcrank wrote:
Gingertimmins wrote: ... I'm a chef so being on my feet all day probably doesn't help. ...


I think this must be a big factor. During my working life I had two postings where I had to stand about for hours at a time and I had all sorts of pains in my legs. I'm not talking about being on your feet as in walking miles, but having to stand pretty much on the same spot. While riding hard is painful - and even sprinters have a massage - unless there's something else like the wrong position, I'd not expect your problems to be caused by cycling. On the contrary, I'd expect the exercise to mitigate the effects of being on your feet all day.

Indded. most of my job is stood in the same couple square meters, taking very small steps. My leg muscles never get stretched out at work which I think may be a problem but I do stretch after each ride and I do try to get my legs loosened up before leaving work (not always possible as I just want to get out of that door!)

It's now the weekend so I'm going to relax my legs off the bike and next week I will focus on pacing myself and report my progress as the week goes on!

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Re: Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby Vorpal » 21 Apr 2017, 9:20pm

You could try stretching when you get to work? Or even leave yourself enough time to stretch, then sit down for a cuppa before you start?
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Gingertimmins
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Re: Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby Gingertimmins » 22 Apr 2017, 9:10am

Vorpal wrote:You could try stretching when you get to work? Or even leave yourself enough time to stretch, then sit down for a cuppa before you start?


The cup of tea idea is a really good one, I normally arrive at work and get straight in with it but a few minutes chill would probably be of benefit.
I actually recently found out that there are showers in the complex in which I work so perhaps I skip my home shower and have a nice hot one at work which may help? I just need to figure out towel logistics as I dint really want to carry one around


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Re: Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby Vorpal » 22 Apr 2017, 8:35pm

Gingertimmins wrote:
Vorpal wrote:You could try stretching when you get to work? Or even leave yourself enough time to stretch, then sit down for a cuppa before you start?


The cup of tea idea is a really good one, I normally arrive at work and get straight in with it but a few minutes chill would probably be of benefit.
I actually recently found out that there are showers in the complex in which I work so perhaps I skip my home shower and have a nice hot one at work which may help? I just need to figure out towel logistics as I dint really want to carry one around

A hot shower might well help. Can you keep a towel at work? Do they have a laundry service? Ask if shower towels can be included? Otherwise just keep one there & swap it out every week or two.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

ossie
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Re: Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby ossie » 23 Apr 2017, 10:30pm

Reduce your commuting / cycling days until you've built up....

4 instead of 5.....Not sure its anything to do with diet / food ..its simply your body adapting to the hammering you are now giving it and that doesn't happen overnight............ 3 months time you will probably be marginally comfortable with it.

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Re: Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby 531colin » 26 Apr 2017, 7:59pm

There is something wrong here.
An 8 mile commute should be just a walk in the park. you don't need recovery drinks, or anything special.
My legs are telling me right now that I've been out on the bike.....but I have done something like 60 miles, 1100 metres climbing, and 2 tracks....dropped off on the A66 just south of Barnard Castle, and cycled back to Harrogate....all done on tea, a scone, and a cheese sandwich.
And i shall be 70 in a couple of months.
Unless you are doing your 8 miles like a maniac, it should be easy. How long are you taking for 8 miles? (you can plot distance and climbing on a free website called "cycle.travel")....this is (more or less) mine to-day...http://cycle.travel/map/journey/35977
You say your bike is comfortable for a couple of hours....then what?...what about all day?
When I used to stand up all day building and mending bikes, my legs would ache sometimes. It started at the feet, and worked its way up like rising damp...an odd sort of business, it hurt but at the same time felt numb. I got some instep supports....these days I would probably do exercises, worked for me a year or three back when I got pain from fallen arches....which is pain in the ball of the foot.
what do you get?

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Re: Getting past the aches and pains?

Postby rmurphy195 » 10 May 2017, 8:26pm

If 8 miles commuting is causing a problem - select lower gears so you can just twiddle the pedals without putting in lots of effort. If you go slower then so be it, simply match your speed to ease of pedalling.

After following 531Clins fitting guide that is, esp as regards saddle height and position.
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