Looking after yourself between commutes

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Looking after yourself between commutes

Postby Tale » Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:32 am

I've been commuting about 30km a day (a hilly 15km each way) for two months now. I have sympathy with the thread about finding time to look after your bike when you're doing so many rides.

But what about looking after the rider? Apart from showering, what are people's routines when they get to work/home? I'm talking specifically about looking after your body (and perhaps mind) as it relates to commuting. If you're entering an hour-long meeting after a hard and fast bike ride, or even just getting down to work, it's a bit different from being able to relax in a cafe or at home after a hard ride.

I eat a good breakfast, usually wholegrain oat porridge with yoghurt and honey, with a glass of water and sometimes a cup of tea. I know from about 20,000km of touring that porridge is a slow-burning breakfast fuel and does wonders for overall wellbeing. When I start work, I fill a bottle of water and start drinking it, whether I'm at my desk or on my feet. I also find that because my metabolism is burning from the ride, I need to eat something before lunchtime - I've been taking fruit and/or muesli bars with me. A banana is good. There was one busy day where I ate nothing until 2.30pm, and I really felt drained of energy when I stood up from my desk.

I buy a good lunch, keeping to a varied and balanced diet, and drink water with it. I usually have two cups of green tea during the day (I don't drink coffee). In the last hour as my ride home approaches, I drink some water and eat something. Then I belt out the ride home, get home and eat/drink my fill. Because my body is still operating at a high rate, I get hungry at bedtime or during the night, but I try not to eat then. Save it for my morning bowl of porridge.

The most important thing may be a good long sleep. I've been working very hard and sometimes I work from home before my ride or after it, and if I don't allow time for enough sleep it affects my work for days afterwards. The sleep of a commuting cyclist is a good, deep one, and I think that's as it should be. What does everyone else think about all this?
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by BNA » Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:47 am

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Re: Looking after yourself between commutes

Postby Pax » Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:47 am

That is a good healthy sounding routine you've got going there Tale. Interesting to read someoe elses approach.

It sounds like you've put a lot of thought into yours...mine has evolved, but is not too dissimilar frankly.

Good food incuding a very large bowl of natural muesli and yogurt (I have that at work after my 30k commute), good quantities of low-fat food for morning tea and afternoon tea. Lunch is nothing special, tends to be toasted sandwiches. Heaps of water. not too much coffee (though to be fair until this year my days used to include 7 cups of strong coffee and though now it is only 2 cups I DON'T notice any differnence). Dinner: whatever is going (and plenty of it), we tend to be reasonably healthy with our meals at home but not obsessively so...lots of veges, curries, pastas, stir frys etc. Minimal night time snacks (but I'm not obsessive about it).

Two additions to all of that is glucosamine tablets (for the joints) and magnesium (anti cramps for the long weekend rides).

And Yes adequate sleep. For me that means 7 hours sleep...for years I was a 5 or 6 hour sleep person, but I aim for 7 these days. I do suspect that 8 would be better but there is too much fun/necessary stuff to do to waste that much time sleeping :D .
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Re: Looking after yourself between commutes

Postby simonn » Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:29 pm

I have a 50km round trip which I do every day and TBH, after 3-4 months of doing it I didn't need to do anything special. I only have a coffee and OJ before leaving home now and have a cheese jaffle when I get to work. Probably eat more than I used to before this commute, but maybe less than when I had my "F*&k, I weigh 96kg" panic. Generally eat a lot more healthily though, lots of fruit (~4-5 serves/day).

If I needed to guarantee being 100% sorted for a meeting or something first thing, I would just ride a little slower. One thing I have been amazed about is that how much extra effort has to be put in to get to work only a few minutes faster.
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Re: Looking after yourself between commutes

Postby casual_cyclist » Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:16 pm

I have been eating a lot more fruit and salad and am eating a lot less junk food. I drink plenty of water during the day and have an ISO drink after a long ride. +1 to more sleep. I really suffer both in energy for cycling and work performance if I don't sleep enough. I have noticed that how if feel before my ride has nothing to do with performance. I really didn't feel like riding in on Tuesday and set off with a heavy heart. It took less than 30 secs of riding before my mood swung around to the opposite and I posted my best commute time (which I beat the next day :D ). Not being in the mood for riding has never lasted more than a couple of minutes into the ride.
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Re: Looking after yourself between commutes

Postby Tale » Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:22 pm

simonn wrote:Generally eat a lot more healthily though, lots of fruit (~4-5 serves/day).


I think that's a very good idea. I gain a new appreciation for fruit when I tour or commute. It's much better than eating a processed energy food.

One thing I have been amazed about is that how much extra effort has to be put in to get to work only a few minutes faster.


Heh. I'm caught between the necessity of doing some work from home before I leave, the necessity of arriving at work on time, and the necessity of getting enough sleep. So my commute tends to be as fast and hard as I can go. I think I'm putting in that extra effort most mornings, so I'm probably having to compensate for it more when I get to work.
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Re: Looking after yourself between commutes

Postby trailgumby » Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:37 pm

Depending on whether I've pinned it on the way in, or I've been forced to be more sedate due to traffic, I'll have a recovery drink of 3 heaped teaspoons of Milo in a glass of skim milk, and a piece of fruit. I usually need some fruit about 4-5pm or the tank is empty for the trip home.
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Re: Looking after yourself between commutes

Postby twowheels » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:49 pm

i found it a good idea not to head straight for the shower. better to have a bit of a recovery period, use the time getting computer up & running and sorting out desk a bit, and have something to eat during this time. found that if i went straight to the shower & got changed I would start sweating profusely in my work clothes. giving myself a recovery period slowed everything down, after having shower i felt relaxed & alert.
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Re: Looking after yourself between commutes

Postby Big Jonny » Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:42 pm

Tale wrote:What does everyone else think about all this?

Sleep is good for me and the sleep of a commuter is deep and just, I find that Im eating more often and smaller amounts and having a good whole grain breakfast (oat based) drink lots of fluid and cut out the coffee, I was amazed the difference it makes. I have a fruit snack an hour before the journey home with a glass of water and this helps with the speed as well as not being too drained when I get home. I tend to eat light at night as I get a staff meal at the restaurant every day usually pasta or risotto. Stretching is also good I started doing it last winter after a shower in the morning I stretch whilst still warm and I find the trip is much better and less seizing up during the day, the same when I get home. bad back is gone and a lot less pain in the legs.
The hills must be the killer for you.
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Re: Looking after yourself between commutes

Postby casual_cyclist » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:40 pm

twowheels wrote:i found it a good idea not to head straight for the shower. better to have a bit of a recovery period, use the time getting computer up & running and sorting out desk a bit, and have something to eat during this time. found that if i went straight to the shower & got changed I would start sweating profusely in my work clothes. giving myself a recovery period slowed everything down, after having shower i felt relaxed & alert.

That used to happen to me too but I just got paper towels (flat) and put them in my shirt. I binned them after 10 mins and didn't have a problem after that. Since I have started losing weight I have been less sweaty too.
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Re: Looking after yourself between commutes

Postby funsta13 » Sat May 02, 2009 5:18 pm

I only do a 26k commute 4 days a week, I don't do anything special other then a good stretch before each departure. I learn't after a month or so to sit at my desk and cool down for 1/2 hour or so before having a shower.
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Re: Looking after yourself between commutes

Postby Boognoss » Thu May 07, 2009 9:23 pm

funsta13 wrote:I only do a 26k commute 4 days a week, I don't do anything special other then a good stretch before each departure. I learn't after a month or so to sit at my desk and cool down for 1/2 hour or so before having a shower.


+1 to the cool down before shower and dressing. Nothing worse that continuing to sweat in fresh work clothes :x .
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