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Are Sore Legs Due To Age?

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Are Sore Legs Due To Age?

Old 11-24-19, 07:37 PM
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bpcyclist
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Are Sore Legs Due To Age?

Hey, guys and gals. I'm 55 and I ride about maybe 160 miles a week. That is broken up into one ride of about 65 miles or so on a weekend day and the rest spread out over usually 4 other days. 2 rest days, 1 after the long ride, the other in the middle of the week. My biggest climbs around here have around 2000 ft. of elevation gain and the max grade so far, since I started RWGPS a few months ago, was 15.4%. Still a lot of what I do is pretty flat.

My bike is a more aggressive geometry recent-make BMC (SLR02). It is not exactly light with the factory Aksiums, but once it gets going, it can move. I only recently started using Ulysses (along with RWGPS) to get a better sense of my speeds. It is hard to tell without something like a good speedometer app, as I live in town and there are a ton of stop lights and stop signs. Can't just look at total time and distance. Anyhoo, Ulysses is cool. It looks like, based on this app, anyway, that I am probably averaging about 14.5 mph over all routes and all terrain when moving. My max speed on flats was 31 mph--can't tell you what it is on descent yet, cuz I have to put my phone away so I don't crash. Just ordered a phone mount I seem to like (Nite Ize--looks extremely secure, unlike the Quad Lock. Just my take.). So, I will be able to know more about how fast I am going on different terrain soon.

Okay. So, the problem is that my legs have recently become super sore, sort of continuously. Even after a day off, they hurt like mad. Quads almost exclusively. Hammies are fine. Calves are great. Had the bike professionally fit. I do not really hurt while cycling, for whatever reason. Just barely the slightest bit sore while in the saddle. But just getting out of a chair in my apt.is a chore. It hurts. And I have a high pain tolerance. I walked on a tibial plateau fracture for three weeks before we figured out what it was.

But I am concerned. Do you think I am doing something wrong on the bike? Do I need to pay the 8 zillion dollars for another 10-hour fit? Any and all counsel is greatly appreciated. I am at a loss. Thanks a million!
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Old 11-24-19, 07:44 PM
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You need more rest.
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Old 11-24-19, 07:53 PM
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I would probably take a week off . Let your muscles recover. I rode smiler distances as you when I was your age and had sore legs a lot. If your are doing this much month after month, you just might need more than one recovery day.
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Old 11-24-19, 08:18 PM
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If you're at all like me, and think that "ride less" is simply not an acceptable solution, you need more protein. One to two grams per kilogram of body weight per day.

I went through the same thing, sore quads all day, every day, even on and after rest days. Upped my protein quite a bit, particularly after bigger rides/efforts. Significant difference.
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Old 11-24-19, 08:24 PM
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Rest to start and I suggest you need to improve your recovery schedule for your current mileage and ride/rest schedule. IMO definitely you're current schedule doesn't allow sufficient recovery.
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Old 11-24-19, 08:48 PM
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Try beef jerky, for protein replacement, unless you're vegetarian or vegan. I crave it after a long hard ride. "Don't swallow nothing but the juice". I'm 67, eat mostly vegetables (live with a vegetarian), and we ride 47-50+ miles a few times a week. I crave the jerky a few times a week.

After a ride I'm often tired, but never sore. Make sure you're hydrated, and heat the post ride hot tub to 102 degrees F.

150-200 miles per week is not out of your ball park, unless you're half dead. And remember, half dead is not completely dead. Ride for life, live to ride. Eat. Sleep. Ride. That's my recipe.

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Old 11-24-19, 08:57 PM
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Maybe one day just do easy spinning. Try self-massage or a foam roller, working toward the heart. Make sure you stay hydrated.

How long have you been doing that kind of mileage? I stayed pretty sore for a while (months) when I first started doing longer rides with lots of climbing. That was in the 80s. Now I get a little sore after a hard effort but it's not really a problem. I'm 65 and I ride about as much as you do.

I was just telling the young people on our 65 mile ride yesterday how I remember being 55.

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Old 11-24-19, 09:04 PM
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I would try all the solutions mentioned above. Taking a couple of additional days off isn't going to hurt you and if it works, you'll know you have to rethink your downtime schedule. Also, try upping the protein. If this is the problem it should fix you right up and then you'll know that it's diet. Heck, maybe it's both.
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Old 11-24-19, 09:12 PM
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Sore legs are not due to age but due to the refusal to age. I agree with many of the above posters who suggest a spin day and/or a day off. Hydration is good! At any age muscles need time to recover - and, in fact, repair and rebuild - give them a chance.
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Old 11-24-19, 10:45 PM
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If your legs hurt on the bike, like most of the time and not just from heavy loading, you need more protein in your diet. That's diagnostic. If they hurt off the bike, like the next day or in bed, that's normal. The older one gets, the more they hurt. In my late 50s and early 60s, I rode hard and long enough, rather like you're doing, that I sometimes had to take serious painkillers to sleep. Not recommending that particularly, just FYI. They really screw up your guts. Not OK. OTOH, more rest means less training and more seeing the other riders disappear in the distance. You get what you pay for. But for sure it gets worse with age. I've rather given up the serious pain thing because now, no matter what I do, they disappear in the distance, at least when I'm riding tandem, which I do almost all of the time.

More rest is really more indicated by heart rate reaction to exercise. If your HR just won't come up, take a day off. But if your HR is normal, get all the pain you want.

So 2 CFB mottos to live by:

If it didn't hurt, I wouldn't be doing it.
In the PNW, there are only 2 types of riders: the wet and the weak.
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Old 11-25-19, 08:51 AM
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you need to ride more not less. You're body will adjust
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Old 11-25-19, 08:52 AM
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go slow on some days
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Old 11-25-19, 09:11 AM
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You might also try to work in some fast walking, at least 3 miles or 1 hour at a time, between cycling episodes if possible. I don't know exactly what it does but it does seem to work out the soreness. Before I returned to cycling, I started walking in Feb. of '17 and continue today. What I noticed when I started cycling again was no particular soreness during or after the ride, but it did hurt to walk at the fast pace required to get anything out of it, at least for the first 15 mins. The two exercises seem to complement each other. In bad weather I go to the mall (yes, I'm a geezer/mall walker) so I'm always either walking or riding.
I try to get in neighborhood riding two or more times a week for an hour, then I go on a ride with a buddy on a paved trail in our area. The trail (Capital Trail) is 50 miles long but so far we're working up to 20 miles (10 out, 10 back), starting at a more central location and going for an hour each way. So you can see that what I'm doing is hardly cycling at all compared to what you're doing but I still think the walking between cycling events might benefit.
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Old 11-25-19, 09:11 AM
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In that the soreness is due to how well our legs are conditioned for the particular effort, no not due to age.

But yes, it's due to age in part because the older we get, the harder it is and longer it takes for that conditioning. And the more quickly we lose it, unfortunately, because age also means that longer recovery is needed. So we'll get sore more often, for longer periods, when we push outside of the comfort zone. I don't think it's anything to be concerned about - as long as we can avoid injury, we just push through it after a day or two.
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Old 11-25-19, 09:35 AM
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Your legs are sore because the muscle is broken down. We get stronger by the muscle healing and re-building after it has been broken down (recovery), not by continuing to break it down through hard workouts. As you progress with your training, your muscles will adapt and your fitness/endurance will increase enabling you to push harder for longer.

Yes nutrition and rest plays a big role, but right now you need to recover.
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Old 11-25-19, 10:30 AM
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It would seem like a couple of days of rest per week would be enough...until it isn't. As I got better at cycling, my mental focus increased. I could put in more effort for longer periods of time. At some point, there is an equilibrium where one needs a rest week not just a day off or one will not recover enough.

If one needs rest, one should take it. If ones legs are sore and a couple of days per week is not enough, try a week off the bike. A protocol used by many athletes that train hard is 3 weeks on and one week off.
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Old 11-25-19, 10:42 AM
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Sore legs are normal if you ride a lot. I would not ride less, your fitness will go down, but I would incorporate more recovery in between the hard efforts.
I would massage the legs after every hard ride or use a foam roller. If you ride a lot you may need to do it daily. I would also use recovery rides(very important!) in between the hard efforts and after the massages . As soon as you feel your legs starting to hurt after they cool down after the massage(sometimes overnight) I would go for a easy ride for up to 1 hour. Recovery rides should be moderate, not slow, but I would avoid big climbs, just get your hart rate up.
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Old 11-25-19, 05:19 PM
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Whoa ... I've never experienced this. Maybe fatigued legs at the end of a very hard ride, but not sore ... as in painful. I did have the experience years ago of going on a hike and working so hard, my legs stiffened up so bad, I could walk but not run ... but that was what I would call leg stiffness, not leg soreness.

Ordinarily, the best thing for fatigued legs is to an easy spinning ride, or even better ... some other activity like walking or swimming. If you legs don't loosen up after that and even a days rest does not improve things, I would see a doc about it.
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Old 11-25-19, 07:00 PM
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Okay, everybody. This has been hugely helpful. Thank you all so much.

Someone asked how long this has been an issue and it got me thinking. I used to rarely ride more than 35 miles at a time until, I don't know, maybe 4 weeks ago? A month and a-half maybe. Probably. But I lengthened my 'long' ride to maybe 50-80 miles on the weekends. I just figured, hey, I'm in fairly decent shape. I can climb and ride for a couple hours without issue. What's another hour or two? Those long rides are comfortable for me, I am not sore during the ride. But I am tired at the end, which I almost never am if I've only ridden like, 35-40 miles, say. Those long rides, I feel them in terms of fatigue right away.

The other issue is without question protein. Did not even consider it. I am woefully short on protein on my almost-vegan diet. For some reason, I not long ago (6 months maybe?) started becoming grossed out by animal protein. Totally unappetizing. Yuk. Rancher's grandson from West Texas. He is rolling over. But I did nothing to supplement that lost protein, because I am an idiot. So, today I spent an inordinate amount of money on various protein sources and will get to them at 1-2 gm/kg/day, as advised.

In younger years, I ran a few marathons and ultras. No talent, just persistent and determined. Anyway, glad some folks brought up recovery activities because I always had recovery walking and runs in my plans during those marathon days. I really think it helped me. Over-training even for ultra runners is a real thing, IMO. I now live in a highly urban locale and ride my bike everywhere. But it is totally walkable, so I can switch that around no problem.

So, I've got my to-do list, thank you all very much. I'll update this thread when there is something new to report. Thanks again, folks--
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Old 11-26-19, 11:00 AM
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Make sure you are doing good pre and post exercise stretches. There are several different ways to do a quad stretch, so research it. Don't pull your lower leg tight into your butt as you'll do damage to your knee capsule.
Do ice after workouts. Get a styrofoam cup and fill it with water and freeze it. Tear off the top inch or so of the foam and use the ice to massage your quads. Start at the knee and push UP to remove swelling out of the legs. Keep the ice in contact with your skin, but only put pressure while pushing up from the knee to your hip. 20 minutes of massage is max.
Another thing you can try, which while I don't believe in too many ergogenic aids, is to try a pill called "Sports Legs". Surprisingly I have found this works quite well. It just helps reduce the buildup of lactic acid which can often be the cause of muscle pain. If all these don't work THEN I would try another bike fit to see if the first fitter got it wrong.

Link for Sport Legs. Or just search on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Sportlegs-Spo...4787277&sr=8-4
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Old 11-26-19, 12:07 PM
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I'm having the same pain. I've determined that I need more rest. At almost 72 I ride every other day. If I ride on consecutive days I'm sure to feel it the next day.
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Old 11-26-19, 04:44 PM
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When I do a long hard ride such that my legs hurt afterwards, I find that I'm in a bit of pain the following day, then often worse the second day and then substantially improved by the third day. This obviously means that muscle recovery from a hard ride takes at least two days for my 65 year old body. I'm guessing that you are interrupting your recovery periods with more muscle-damaging stress thereby re-injuring yourself and never completely recovering. This type of thing is a major reason that many athletes do cross-training with sports that use different muscle groups than their primary source. This isn't rocket science...if it hurts when you do something, stop doing that and try something else.
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Old 11-26-19, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
When I do a long hard ride such that my legs hurt afterwards, I find that I'm in a bit of pain the following day, then often worse the second day and then substantially improved by the third day. This obviously means that muscle recovery from a hard ride takes at least two days for my 65 year old body. I'm guessing that you are interrupting your recovery periods with more muscle-damaging stress thereby re-injuring yourself and never completely recovering. This type of thing is a major reason that many athletes do cross-training with sports that use different muscle groups than their primary source. This isn't rocket science...if it hurts when you do something, stop doing that and try something else.
Yep. I think whatever could have been done wrong, has been done wrong on my part. Other than effort--that part, I have down. Oh well. Started today a nice, easy 18-mile spinning type thing. It felt really weird, I must say, and was constantly having to rope myself in and slow down. So accustomed to riding a certain way, I guess.

Am currently drinking a protein drink, not half bad--pretty expensive, though. But since I am no really eating meat anymore, I gotta get it somewhere. Progress, not perfection.
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Old 11-26-19, 05:38 PM
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My secret to good legs is Spinach Salads.

Direct correlation.
Don't eat a spinach salad = Legs Hurt
Eat spinach salad = Legs Don't Hurt.

Nothing else seems to make a difference. More protein, less protein. Protein after, no protein after. Salt, No salt.
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Old 11-27-19, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist
..... But I am concerned. Do you think I am doing something wrong on the bike? Do I need to pay the 8 zillion dollars for another 10-hour fit? Any and all counsel is greatly appreciated. I am at a loss. Thanks a million!
Lots of good information here that may or may not solve your problem so I'll put in my two cents worth. It also may or may not solve your problem. Since I retired in 2011, I have been riding about 6 days a week and riding between 40 and 60 miles per ride. Unfortunately, this year has not been a very good year for riding and my normal 10,000+ miles/years has dropped to just over 7,000 miles to date. At 73, I'm quite a bit older than you and still able to do my mileage without any pain in my legs.I don't do any of the things suggested above other than make sure I'm well hydrated and drink electrolytes as needed. One thing I did notice is that a few years ago, it started getting harder and harder to pedal my bike to obtain the same output that I was doing previously and that led to occasional tired legs after rides longer than 60 miles.

This will probably cause a firestorm of pros and cons on the subject but last year (for Father's Day) my wife got me a set of titanium jockey wheels with ceramic bearings. This made a noticeable difference on the amount of effort needed to pedal the bike. So much so that I also replaced my bottom bracket bearings to ceramic and it was the best thing I ever did. Before the naysayers get started, you don't have to spend tons of money on ceramic bearings unless you opt to go with Ceramic Speed bearings. I purchased two Enduro,ceramic hybrid bearings from Wheels Mfg for $70.00/set. They're Grade 5 ceramic bearings with titanium nitrite coated races. While my wife spent quite a bit more on the SLF Motion jockey wheels, I ordered a pair of ceramic jockey wheels for my backup bike from OmniRacer for $49.95 (also Grade 5 and titanium nitrite coated). While these aren't quite as smooth as the SLF Motion jockey wheels, they made a noticeable difference on the backup bike.

In October, I completed my 6th Cross Florida Ride of 220 miles. It consisted of a 60 and back to back 80 mile days and over 3,000 ft of climbing over the length of the ride. For Florida, that's a lot of climbing. At the end of the ride, my legs felt as they did before I started the ride on day one. Pedaling is easier and smoother with less fatigue on the legs to obtain the same results that I was getting prior to changing bearings. My backup bike has a Hawk Racing bottom bracket on it; and while it's an awesome product, and they claim their BB is just as good as ceramic, it doesn't even come close.

This is my experience and you can take it for what it's worth but it's also something to consider, and maybe try, if nothing else seems to work for you.

PS: After getting ceramic bearings for my bike, I put a ceramic bottom bracket and a set of ceramic jockey wheels on my wife's recumbent trike and she has been thanking me ever since. I bought hers from OmniRace.
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