• 06-30-2010
    BantamSLK
    Daily Commute -- How Do I Recover?
    Hey all, I recently started commuting to work, about 18 miles each way, basically 1 hour to work and 1:15 home (of course the way home has to be uphill :)). My problem is that I want to commute every day, but after a round-trip day, I find that my legs are completely dead the next day, and there's no way that I could make the trip in a reasonable amount of time.

    So my question is, what do you think (other than time, of course) is the best way to recover? Drink a bunch of water? Take in a bunch of protein or carbs or other nutrition? Stretching? Something else altogether? When I was only riding once per day, I was able to pretty easily ride every day (only for an hour or so), so this may just be a matter of getting more into shape, but I figured that trying to speed my recovery would be a helpful pursuit as well.

    Thoughts?
  • 06-30-2010
    jeffscott
    During the ride always ride at a pace that allows you to either breathe easily through your nose, or talk easily.

    At the end of the ride slow to a cool down pace.

    After the ride

    In the first five to ten minutes ensure you rehydrate properly.

    In the first ten to twenty minutes ensure you stretch out properly.

    In the first 2 hours ensure you replace all the calories you spent properly...(if you want to lose weight just reduce eating at some other time).
  • 06-30-2010
    byknuts
    you hit everything on the head.
    stretching's great, more protein for muscle recovery, make sure your glucose intake's good too though, pasta dinners are your best friend right now. proper breakfast is an awesome thing as well. even if it's just peanut butter toast and a glass of milk, SOMETHING for your body to consume is important because you're basically on "empty" when you wake up.
    drink WHILE riding.
    a 40 minute sprint with no hydration is one thing, it hurts, but won't drain you completely.
    2 hours a day of solid cardio with no water intake until afterwards?
    lactic acid's building up every minute of that.

    get a lighter bike!? less effort=easier on your muscle tone.
    hrmmm... weight weenie ss commuter-cross :eekster: :D

    oh, and the short answer to your question?
    how do you recover?
    you don't... you just get stronger! :D
  • 06-30-2010
    ScottR1
    Build up to it
    Sounds like your current fitness level handles one hour of riding per day, and your desired fitness level is two hours per day. You are trying to DOUBLE your riding, that's not gonna happen overnight! Yes, protein + carb replacement + water (after BOTH rides) will help you recover, but rest is the best recovery. Try this - Monday, drive to work, leave your car there and ride home. Tuesday, ride both ways, leaving the car at work. Wednesday, ride in and drive home. Take Thursday off, driving both ways. Friday, repeat Monday. Saturday, you're at home and your car is at work, find a longer route to work and take a two-hour ride to go pick up your car. Take Sunday off. This gives you two rest days per week, and two days when you ride for two hours. After a few weeks, ride both ways Thursday, drive both ways on Friday (rest day), keep your two-hour Saturday ride, and rest Sunday. This keeps two rest days per week, but now you've got three days per week where you're riding two hours. After a few more weeks, make your Tuesday ride home a long ride, or bump up Saturday to three hours. You get the idea, keep getting good food and lots of sleep, and build up to it gradually. By September (if not earlier) you'll be riding in the dark, so start thinking about a GOOD light set, including a really bright tail-light (and a backup tail-light) so you don't get smooshed on your three-hour ride home, woo-hoo! Good luck.
  • 06-30-2010
    mtbxplorer
    All good ideas... You could also try going a bit slower on a round trip day, maybe a gear easier than you normally would, and see if it makes a difference the next day. Vitamin C after a ride also helps muscles recover.
  • 06-30-2010
    BrianMc
    Excellent input. In training to handle longer miles of 500 mile weeks, it is suggested that you build 10% to your longest ride and 10% total miles a week. Suggestions have beem made how you might do something like that, but I thought you might like a recommended training guideline to work from.

    The cool down is very important. So is a warm up. They help you gain fitness faster. It is counterintuitive, but I found it made an amazing difference in rate of improvement.. Even if you have a final climb that is going to increase your heart rate again, try to get down to 60-65% maximum. Do this by feel, if you don't have an HR monitor. A warm up helps, to prepare the muscles to harder duty. Traffic sometimes messes with the warm up and cool down, so for longer rides I have a local circuit with little traffic so I can do this relatively unimpeded. I take 10 minutes as recommended, but I bet any would be better than starting out at full speed ahead and returning the same way.

    Good Luck.

    Brian.
  • 06-30-2010
    mtbxplorer
    Timely article on the role of protein vs. carbs in recovery for male vs, female cyclists:

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/0...w-about-women/
  • 06-30-2010
    BantamSLK
    Thanks guys for all of the advice. I think part of the problem is that I treat it too much like a race, even now after only doing the ride a couple of times I'm already watching the clock to see how fast I can do it, rather than stretching it out and really enjoying it (and performing the best that way too). Especially given my aspirations are more to become a better distance rider, this is a great chance to work on that...

    I think my plan is mostly to (a) slow down and (b) try to slowly work from 3 days/week (M/W/F) up to 4 and eventually 5, slowly and gradually.

    Thanks again for the great advice.
  • 06-30-2010
    Normbilt
    How Old are You? Not That it matters

    I ride pretty damn close to everyday year around

    A: Stretching Does Help

    B: I drink a glass of this every night when I get Home
    https://img1.qbp.com/6SPsvm45/prodl/EB5003.jpg

    C I eat dinner after or during my Recovery Drink

    D. I take my Vitamins Complex B Before I go To Bed

    E I eat Cheerios or Oatmeal for Breakfast
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4681089414/" title="Breakfast of Norm by normbilt, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4063/4681089414_e156e295b0.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Breakfast of Norm" /></a>

    My Commute is 30-31 miles in the summer with 40 miles when I go to the bank before work
    My Commute is 27 miles in the winter. I live 40 mile northwest of chicage. we have had some nasty winters lately

    I'm 54 and ride a Fixed Single Speed to work 98% year around
  • 06-30-2010
    Leopold Porkstacker
    I never eat breakfast, however, the night before I eat lots of carbohydrates and fat (pasta loaded with extra virgin olive oil and sometimes bacon too), and I always (every day, all day long) drinks lots and lots of water. I do stretch for about 20 minutes before each ride, whether it be a fitness ride, commute ride, or a recreation ride. Stretching is essential.
  • 07-01-2010
    woodway
    I commute 18.5 miles each way. Low point is in the middle so it's hills both ways for me.

    When I started two years ago, I could only manage 2, maybe 3 commutes/week because, like you, my body just could not take a back to back commute.

    After two years, I have built up to riding every day. All the advice given here is really good. Unfortunately, I don't really follow any of it. I stretch only ocasionally, eat whatever looks good and try to maintain or beat my typical commute times every day. I think you just need to give it time and build up to it.
  • 07-01-2010
    nachomc
    I recover with something high in carbs, sugars, waters...beer :D
  • 07-01-2010
    Dogbrain
    All good advice. I'd just like to add that IME slowing down even a little bit can have a huge impact on how you feel at the end. The resistance to motion (friction in your bike plus wind drag) is related to your speed squared (v^2). This means that it takes substantially more energy to increase from 14 mph to 16 mph than it does to increase from say 8 mph to 10 mph. When I had a 7 mile commute, an additional 5 minutes was the difference between huffing and puffing and sweating vs. breathing casually through my nose.
  • 07-01-2010
    BantamSLK
    So I tried to take a bunch of the advice today and my commute was worlds better. I added 15 minutes to the commute in the morning and at night, but I felt 100% better. It also was much more enjoyable, to just be out enjoying a ride rather than trying to race to work. One of the keys for me was to just keep spinning up hills, rather than really trying to mash.

    If I didn't have the day off tomorrow I would definitely be riding in again! Thanks again for all of the help. :)
  • 07-02-2010
    Jonesy33
    I'm no fitness expert or anything and being the simpleton that I am, I try to de4-complicate things...
    Ride everyday, on your off-day, plan for much more time, and ride at a much slower pace... something where your breathing is at a normal pace, or just a hair above a normal breathing pace.
    That and do all the healthy eating and taking care of your body stuff people outline above, and you'll be fine.
    You don't need a day entirely off from cardio to recover, but you DO need to keep all your effort below a certain level for a day to recover.
  • 07-02-2010
    Schmucker
    Glass of milk.
  • 07-21-2010
    jetta_mike
    When I went through phyiscal training lactic acid hurt like a mother...it'll pass as your body adapts to it.

    One think I feel helps wit recovery is a daily dose of glutamine. Some say it doesn't work but I can tell if I go for a big ride and have missed a day or two.