Sunday morning was tough. It was one of those mornings when you feel flat. Despite my excitement to rejoin the weekly test at the Crazies ride, I just didn’t have the legs for it. When the pack surged, I couldn’t stick with them. When the pack pushed up a hill, I dropped back.
In recent weeks my legs have been strong, my confidence high and my times looking fast. This week, even with a broken bottom bracket, I was able to do huge pulls on my Wednesday ride. So it was reasonable for me to come into the weekend feeling strong.
Prior to meeting the group for the 7am start, I always ensure to do a descent warm-up. This Sunday morning was no different. After a flat day you can’t help but reflect and dissect the ride. Asking questions of yourself, looking for a reason for the sluggish performance. The entire day went by without answers.
The feeling of a weak ride can be frustrating, especially if you’re anxious to get back your bike and prove it to yourself that you’re better than that.. In most cases, tired legs from cycling are the result of overuse, insufficient rest and possibly inadequate nutrition or hydration to keep your legs feeling fresh.
Upon reflection, it’s not that surprising my legs are tired. With two large days at the start of the week. Last Sunday I did an overnight six hour ride on the trainer for EarthDay, then backed it up the next day with fours in the saddle for one hundred kilometres. Add the battle with my bottom bracket and wheel bearings, and a potential insight starts to evolve. Could I have overused my legs this week?
Let’s assume it is a simple case of overuse, so what should I do? As usual, I went into research mode and found a few tips:
- Circulation; Everyone has their own preference on increasing circulation in their legs. Some lay with their feet up, or maybe compression tights. Living in Asia, it’s a personal favourite to seek a massage. The aim here is to clean out any waste build up, and give your legs a chance to regenerate
- Rest; Simple, and often over looked by cyclists ambitious to boost their performance. Instead of jumping back on the bike to prove a point, take some time to let the legs recover.
- Prevent It; Tired legs at the end of a long ride are normal, but you can reduce the feeling of fatigue by making sure you drink enough water before, during and after your ride, and by making sure you get enough potassium to help your muscles recover from the strain of cycling. Bananas, potatoes and sweet potatoes, orange juice and tomatoes are all good.
Sunday’s weak ride is an eye opener for me, and I don’t assume to know the answers. I’ll save myself from further anxiety and take up the discussion with my coach on Tuesday.