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Legs get tired before the rest of me does.
#1
Hi

Been out on some good rides recently as the weather in uk has been lovely and sunny, the thing I find is my legs get tired before I am out of breath and sometimes I have to stop to get the energy back to continue.

I've been eating a lot of bananas before going out on a ride as I heard they help prevent cramp, also been trying to build up the length of rides gradually so I can get used to doing greater distances.

Just wondered if anyone has any good techniques to build up the stamina in the legs?
Cannondale, handmade in USA............................................Refined in Surrey, England
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#2
(04-20-2010, 03:14 PM)surreypete Wrote:  Hi

Been out on some good rides recently as the weather in uk has been lovely and sunny, the thing I find is my legs get tired before I am out of breath and sometimes I have to stop to get the energy back to continue.

I've been eating a lot of bananas before going out on a ride as I heard they help prevent cramp, also been trying to build up the length of rides gradually so I can get used to doing greater distances.

Just wondered if anyone has any good techniques to build up the stamina in the legs?

You are going to think I am being a smarty pants but I am not. Try leg stretches before you venture out. Put both feet together, lock your knees, bend over letting your fingertips touch your toes. Stay until the back of your legs feel stretched. Come back up put your left foot over your right then do the same thing (do note you may not be able to touch your toes. Then back up and put your right foot over your left foot, down and touch toes. That is what I do before a long ride. However if my legs are sore I will stop get off the bike and stretch again. After I get back I am usually beat but still before sitting down I will stretch again. As far as energy I drink coffee, not good because it is known that caffeine dehydrates the body. Multivitamins are good. I only take one per day. Also a little secret I do sometimes after a ride or before is take a walk or jog for about 3 blocks then walk back. That is all I can offer for now.

Bill
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#3
Bill is on the right track. I had the same problem years ago, and my friends (An exercise physiologist, and a physical therapist) offered the same advice I read a million times and so often ignored. Stretching and a warm up.

A warm up may consist of 2 minutes of jumping jacks for some people, while others (Like me) need a 1/2 mile jog to warm up first. Warm up, warm up, warm up. You'll have to experiment and see what works best for you.

Believe me, it'll work. You'll have more energy than you ever thought. Multivitamins will help will everyday health, but I don't believe they help specifically with cycling performance. Read this to make up your own mind: http://www.cptips.com/vitamin.htm
Dedicated scholar of bicycles
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#4
Also know that caffeine does not dehydrate, especially if you are used to it. The amount of liquid lost is not increased, you just have to go earlier.
+1 to the warm up and the cool down.
Also: If it is early in the season and you didn't cycle through winter (which is great fun if it is cold enough = no rain) you are simply out of shape. Of course the muscle mainly used will tire first.
Energy: if you ride longer than one hour you should refill water and perhaps energy, depending on how hard you ride and what you are used to. I carry a gel (on longer rides > 3 hrs), Snickers or a muesli bar, gummy bears (they come in little bags) plus some money.
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#5
Good advice on energy supplements. You can also make your own: http://www.active.com/mountainbiking/Articles/Make_Your_Own_Homemade_Energy_Gel.htm

I missed the caffeine comment. Caffeine has shown to INCREASE performance when taken in moderation and taken a half hour before riding. Don't overdo it though. One cup is MORE than enough for a ride.
Dedicated scholar of bicycles
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#6
Nice find jr14! Now I just have to find out what "blackstrap molasses" is...
Yes, caffeine has been shown to moderately increase performance, though not too much. It is on the monitored substances list of the WADA, so it looks as if it has some effect but not much (not being outlawed, usage is just monitored). I seem to recall that it was forbidden for a while, though.
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#7
Hey lads I agree with the stretches, you should stretch. Caffeine is a stimulant of the mind, it will not put energy into your muscle's it tricks the body into thinking you have energy which is fine in small dose's but too much is a no no, there are caffeine gels on the market. Definitely if your on the bike for more than an hour you need to supplement yourself before during and as important after training, I wouldn't go outside the door training without my energy supplement's. SIS (science in sport) are probably the best energy drinks on the market and are used by all the top cycling teams. I work in wholesale of these products in Ireland and would recommend SIS PSP22 for before and during exercise and SIS Rego for after training the latter replaces protein and carbs which are burnt off during exercise helping you recover more quickly making you better equipped for tomorrows session. Sip on one bottle from 1 1/2 hrs before training and carry one or two bottles depending on the length of ur session with u. Surrey pete your in the UK, so if u go to chainreactioncycles.com in their nutrition section they have all these SIS products for sale. The 1.6kg tubs are roughly £19 and will give u 32 500ml bike bottle fill's. They will make a big difference to ur training. SIS also do gel's and bars but just try the drinks first!
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#8
Well thanks guys on the caffeine information, what I wanted to hear Big Grin . I love my coffee but yeah not alot of it. Nice info on the homemade stuff.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#9
I'm not a coffee or tea drinker. A beer drinker on occasion though. I hope this isn't a repeat but, if you are having cramps, legs or otherwise, you might just need some water.

And there have even been times when my chest felt like I was having a heart attack, but quickly went away after a cup of water. It has worked many years for me. More than likely it was just extreme heart-burn or something similar.

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a doctor so don't take this advice too seriously. But it's worth a try. Smile

Steve
Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
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#10
Yeh , I need coffee to start of my mornings. However coffee is a diuretic. Like beer you can rent it but not own it. :-))

AS per bananas yes they are a good source of potassium. Which helps muscles recover. Baked potatoes with skin, sweet potatoes, avocados and many other veggies are great too, meat is also. Some have more potassium than bananas.

Generally speaking you cannot work out in one sport to do good in another. Stretching is good.

Bike riders and swimmers while in great shape have fragile bones. The best way to preserve bone and muscle strength is weight training to point of failure.This gets your skeleton to build up.I find a good circuit and free weight training keeps me out of chiropractors office. Also stretch and load calf muscles. This helps your foot. Make sure to include resistance and weight training in your workout.

As per sports drinks the magic ingredient in most of them is caffeine. Read the label.
Never Give Up!!!
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#11
(04-25-2010, 06:52 PM)GeorgeET Wrote:  Bike riders and swimmers while in great shape have fragile bones. The best way to preserve bone and muscle strength is weight training to point of failure.This gets your skeleton to build up.

I'd like to see a report that says all swimmers and bikers have fragile bones. I'm not trying to be mean here, but that is patently false.

The sport you participate in has nothing to do with bone strength or density.

The amount of calcium you ingested as a child has the most to do with adult bone characteristics. And with women (mostly), the amount you ingest as an adult keeps osteoporosis away.

As an example, my wife and I both drank ENORMOUS amounts of milk as children, and as such, have VERY strong, dense bones. We are both bikers and swimmers, since we do triathlons.

By your definition, we should both be breaking bones at an incredible rate since we participate in both activities.

This statement is factually wrong. Please read http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/calcium.asp and scroll down to the Calcium and Health section, that has the most info about this.

And weight training has NOTHING to do with bones. It has everything to do with the muscles that surround the bones. Muscles are connected to bones with ligaments and tendons. Do not think for one second that weight training will build your bones.

Only calcium and a few other nutrients have to do with bone density. Strong muscles can and will prevent skeletal injuries, by allowing the muscles to absorb the forces that would otherwise break the bone. Think of it as a cushioning system for the skeletal system. They work WITH one another to promote good strength, but they do not AFFECT one another in development.

Please read http://webschoolsolutions.com/patts/systems/skeleton.htm and http://webschoolsolutions.com/patts/systems/muscles.htm to get a better grasp of how the body's systems interact with one another.
Dedicated scholar of bicycles
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#12
Well we are both oversimplifying the issue, calcium is good as is any exercise. However a combination of forms is needed

I read several studies indicating that weight and resistance training is tops for maintaining skeleton and muscle strength. Calcium alone will not be enough. Feel free to do some research.

Recently there has been some accidents in biking and swimming with athletes braking bones from falls.

It was said that weight training should be added. Witness the heavy sports athletes that involves impact such as football, they all weight train.

Here is the first of many info links on google.

http://www.wellnessletter.com/html/fw/fwFit03StrengthTraining.html

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112028857

BTW is there any way to follow a link and than get back to the same page on this web site??
Never Give Up!!!
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#13
Well Its Sunday here in USA ,so I had some time. I do not know where you guys are as location is not in FAQ. Here is another tid bit I found in brief time.

http://www.active.com/cycling/Articles/Broken-Bone-Breakdown.htm?page=2

"One last piece of this conversation is cycling's impact on bone density and osteoporosis. In a 2003 study, researchers found that 50-year-old men who rode for 20 years had 10-percent less bone density than their non-cyclist counterparts.

It's tough to say whether this caused the carnage at the Giro, but clearly prevention is paramount. Doctors typically recommend taking in adequate calcium and vitamin D, performing some weight-bearing exercises, and of course, trying to keep the rubber on the road."

As a soccer player and runner in HS and College my legs still have good strength many years later. I do need more aerobics. However if you weight train to max with about 15 seconds rest in between sets that too will keep your heart rate up and build up aerobic system. Riding the bike is great for fun and good aerobics and endurance. Especially here on Venice Beach CA, with all the beautiful ladies on their roller blades.

Many comparative studies I read always put old fashioned staid weight training in the top group. No I will not do anyones homework.
Never Give Up!!!
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#14
My understanding has always been that overly fairly long periods, impact sports and stressing the bones (a la weight training) will tend to increase or at least preserve bone density. jr14's point about strong musculature supporting the skeleton is also true, but you can affect your bones as well. The effects just take years, not weeks/months like muscles. BTW, if you're a triathlete, I assume you are running also which is an impact sport. That all said, the idea that cycling will give you "fragile" bones seems silly. Fragile compared to what? Any routine vigorous activity is going to keep you in much better overall health than a sedentary lifestyle. It's not like cyclists are going to start spontaneously shattering. Reports of people crashing and breaking bones doesn't like all that odd to me. And if pro's seem to have an unusually high rates of breaks I would guess it may be more related to their extreme weight loss, training regimens, odd diets, and questionable substances. Top level athletes actually are typically abusing their bodies to extreme degrees. Their performance is amazing, but they are not "healthier" than the average active person. They typically do long term damage to their bodies during their active years. Football players may have strong bones, but look at how many of them get knee replacements in their 40's.

A little regular weight training would probably do most people some good. But it's not like you're going to crack in half if you don't.

Then again...I'm no doctor.
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#15
Man This is getting silly . No one said people will fall apart and break their bones from bicycling. All that was said is that weight training is recommended to sustain and improve bone and muscle strength. Diet and supplements alone will not do that. Bicycling alone will not do that. This does not mean you should give up biking (I am not) it just suggests weight training is good for building stronger bones.

Did you look at any of the info in the links given? I am not a doctor either but these people are.

Here is the first of many info links on google.

http://www.wellnessletter.com/html/fw/fwFit03StrengthTraining.html

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112028857
Never Give Up!!!
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#16
Lads that's some conversation but it doesn't do anything for surreypetes tired legs!!!!!!! BTW only the off the shelf rubbish sports drinks contain caffeine taureine etc, i.e REDBULL and all the other rubbish. The real sports drinks contain pretty much carbohyrates which is delivered to the muscles helping them to not tire out as quickly helping us train harder and for longer when used as part of a healthy diet!
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#17
Ye 10-4 to that. However the bottom line IMO is if your legs get tired you need to work out more. No legal supplement alone will do that for you.
Never Give Up!!!
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#18
Exactly its a combo of everything HEALTHY BALANCED DIET, THE RIGHT SUPPLEMENTS AND VITAMINS, CORE AND WEIGHT TRAINING and HIGH PEDAL CADENCE are all the ingredients needed to go further faster and for longer!!!!!!!Smile
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#19
Blimey that all got a little bit in depth for my liking, Thought I would wait until it calmed down a bit before I replied lol.

Dannymac, took your advice and purchased some of the SIS energy powder that you mix up in your drinks bottle, have yet to try it as only bought some this morning, got it from tesco as the big stores seem to do quite a lot of proteins and powders these days.

Going give it a try when I next go out.

cheers for the advice.
Cannondale, handmade in USA............................................Refined in Surrey, England
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#20
Cool I didn't know tesco stocked SIS, but there u go. It's Probably only a matter of time before it hits the shelves in tesco Ireland as well then. Let me know how u get on or if u need any advice on SIS let me know I know the stuff like the back of my hand!!!!!
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