I'm not a doctor but…
Cycling injury, recovery and health issues.
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Still new to riding. Only been riding about 3 months. My legs are stinging after my rides on the weekend. I don't do my warm up stretches very well and I do bugger all warm down stretches at the end of the ride (I'm just too tired to do them at the end of a ride) Can someone give me some advice on the best way to do the warm ups/downs without completely wearing me out! I assume this is what's causing the pain in my legs.
What I think you are talking about is DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). It's normal - warmups and stretches won't help much.
Google it - there is plenty of information on the web.
It's this kind of soreness that the adage "no pain, no gain" is referring to.
The best thing you can do is to go for a gentle ride to loosen up.
Last edited by RonK on Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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keep in mind also that you can get general or well localized muscle tightness and 'stinging like' pain from sciatic nerve irritation. This is more common than most realize with the forward bending position adopted on road bikes. you can experiment by elevating your handlebars for a week or two and seeing if it eases your leg symptoms.
The latest is DOMS is associated with microtearing of muscle, and consequent inflammation. You'll note some pain after long rides doesn't kick in until the next day, and is worse 2 days later. If lactic acid build up was the cause, peak pain would not occur 2 days after the event.
It's hard to say without knowing exactly what you are doing and how hard you are riding whether or not warm up/cool down will help with the problem. My warm ups vary depending on what I'm warming up for (road race, crit, time trial, etc.), but from the sound of it you are just looking for a general warm up and cool down routine for a recreational ride. Just spend ten minutes in the small chain ring spinning the legs at 90+ rpm, start off easy and gradually increase the pace (changing gears, but still in the small ring), basically you want to gradually increase blood flow to the muscles etc. in the legs, you should have worked up a light sweat by the end of the 10 minutes but you shouldn't really be out of breath. Cool down is basically warm up in reverse, chuck it in the small ring and spin the legs, gradually decreasing the pace and bringing the heart rate down (don't finish your ride with a max effort sprint ). Have some recovery food/drink as soon as you finish the ride and then have a stretch, I'm sure there are plenty of stretching routines out there in internet land that you can find. A foam roller is good for a bit of self massage to help with muscle soreness and recovery.
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Thanks for the tip. I'm basically riding every Saturday and Sunday mornings for about 1.5 - 2 hours. Around 40kms per ride. Just wanting to make sure I don't cause myself and major injuries.
Go for a 15-20 minute walk after your ride to give the muscles something different, at low intensity, to do. It'll help reduce soreness the following day.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
Regarding warmup, I don't have one. I just start riding - BUT my location means that I can't physically push for more than 1-2 minutes at a time before backing off and coasting a bit. I also just maintain a gentle pace of 30 (rather than a hard 40-45) until I reach a set of lights in 1-2 kms. I am finding the key to warming up is actually stopping after warming up to let your body get itself together. I'll ride 20 minutes to the start of the ride, then gasbag a bit and then we'll go within 5 minutes. This allows your body to get the blood everywhere, instead of desperately pumping to the quads and knees. Makes for a more efficient warmup. I find the lactic burn is terrible if I don't get that brief break (running late ).
Cool down is easy enough. Get out of your big ring for the last few streets home. If you've got a HR monitor, get that rate down under 120 while still pedalling. Do a gentle 120bpm recovery ride tomorrow. Sorted.
Ignore the DOMS. That's a sign you didn't eat enough protein and carbs and stretching to recover. If you need proof that some stretching helps, don't stretch your left side. Don't eat after the ride. LOL pure agony the next day.
How do they manage to keep their upper body so still over the hurdles Awesome to watch.
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