Ibuprofen before 18-30 mile races? Good idea? Dumb idea?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Ibuprofen before 18-30 mile races? Good idea? Dumb idea?

    I am just so damn sore sometimes, and Ibuprofen (600mg for 180 pound guy) just works great. I traditionally have no stomach problems, but my back usually hurts (inherited).

    So is there anything wrong with starting to take ibuprofen before races? I have noticed that not only does my back not hurt, my legs and quads seem a little more "bulletproof".

    I do know that Ibuprofen can be some kind of problem if anyone takes to much, but I could easily restrict ibuprofen to once a week maximum.

    PS. This isn't "doping", right?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    I recommend you avoid Ibuprofen use. There will be negligible pain reduction during the race. Natural endorphin release during a race is a much more effective pain reducer. Ibuprofen use may hurt your stomach and intestines during extreme prolonged exercise because blood flow is routed away from your digestive system during such effort, possibly allowing the drug extra access to sensitive stomach lining. Ibuprofen actually inhibits recovery in athletes.

    I would look to bike fit issues if your back hurts.
    Consciousness, that annoying time between bike rides.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lopaka View Post
    I recommend you avoid Ibuprofen use. There will be negligible pain reduction during the race. Natural endorphin release during a race is a much more effective pain reducer. Ibuprofen use may hurt your stomach and intestines during extreme prolonged exercise because blood flow is routed away from your digestive system during such effort, possibly allowing the drug extra access to sensitive stomach lining. Ibuprofen actually inhibits recovery in athletes.

    I would look to bike fit issues if your back hurts.
    Good advice. This is the sort of thing I dont know anything about.

    Regarding back pain, my bike makes it BETTER, which is part of why I ride.

    My bike fit is pretty dialed in as far as I know. Then again, I have never had a "pro" bike fit, but I have been unimpressed with the results on several of my friends.

  4. #4
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    I've done it with no ill effects. not for racing purposes, just if i need to take a little Ibuprofen i do it.

    if your not taking a heavy dosage on a regular basis, and don't have a sensitive stomach, then i don't see the harm.

    I don't think there is much of an advantage as far as bulletproof legs during a ride/race, but Ibuprofen does reduce swelling and that is one of the causes of muscle fatigue/burn, so may help post ride/race more than during.

    some key points for me: if your training rides are harder and/or longer than your races then race day will hurt less. make sure your legs are fresh and ready to go the day of the race. good nutrition during the race helps my energy level a lot.

    bottom line though is: if you thrash your legs for 3-5 hours in a race, your going to be sore.

    Lopaka, could you explain how it inhibits recovery in athletes? or where you got that info? I've known a few pro athletes who use Ibuprofen all the time.

    he said his back problems are inherited, so probably not bike fit.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BENKD29 View Post
    I've done it with no ill effects. not for racing purposes, just if i need to take a little Ibuprofen i do it.

    if your not taking a heavy dosage on a regular basis, and don't have a sensitive stomach, then i don't see the harm.

    I don't think there is much of an advantage as far as bulletproof legs during a ride/race, but Ibuprofen does reduce swelling and that is one of the causes of muscle fatigue/burn, so may help post ride/race more than during.

    some key points for me: if your training rides are harder and/or longer than your races then race day will hurt less. make sure your legs are fresh and ready to go the day of the race. good nutrition during the race helps my energy level a lot.

    bottom line though is: if you thrash your legs for 3-5 hours in a race, your going to be sore.

    Lopaka, could you explain how it inhibits recovery in athletes? or where you got that info? I've known a few pro athletes who use Ibuprofen all the time.

    he said his back problems are inherited, so probably not bike fit.
    It should be noted that I was a frequent user of Ibuprofen to control knee pain in the past, but because of cycling I rarely use the drug anymore.

    Regarding the question of inhibiting recovery, here is a reference.
    Ibuprofen and Running - How anti-inflammatory drugs hurt your training


    Regarding stomach damage, another reference.
    Should Athletes Avoid Ibuprofen? | Men's Health
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  6. #6
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    ok, interesting first link. news to me, though all it really said is that if you use Ibuprofen after a workout it could slightly slow recovery (no big deal). now assuming we are talking about amateur riders who aren't doing races on back to back days at a pro level, very slightly slowing your recovery shouldn't make a bit of difference. certainly not noticeable to me. so if your goal in taking it is to make pain subside then I say take it. it will do it's job with no noticeable side effects.

    again, like in the article, as long as your not abusing it then just take it as needed.

    (I already knew about the stomach thing)

    thanks for the links
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  7. #7
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    I believe the theory is that inflammation is a vital step in the process of strengthening the muscle. With an interruption in the strengthening process, your performance may not improve through training.
    Consciousness, that annoying time between bike rides.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lopaka View Post
    It should be noted that I was a frequent user of Ibuprofen to control knee pain in the past, but because of cycling I rarely use the drug anymore.

    Regarding the question of inhibiting recovery, here is a reference.
    Ibuprofen and Running - How anti-inflammatory drugs hurt your training


    Regarding stomach damage, another reference.
    Should Athletes Avoid Ibuprofen? | Men's Health
    I don't have any expertise on this subject but the Men's Health article, like many that they write, doesn't sufficiently cite their sources. All I see is "...a new study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise." What study? And they go on to say that nine (9) athletes were tested. That sample size is a joke and you can't make any conclusions.

    That's not to say I necessarily disagree with all of what they wrote. In fact a couple years ago I used to consume way too much ibuprofen due to back pain from an injury about 15 years ago. With a good core routine, stretching, and a lot training I rarely take the stuff now.

  9. #9
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    I know an ex pro football player who took ibuprofen before games, and now takes it before skiing or other strenuous adventure. I've been through this debate before.

    My opinion is that if it improves performance by delaying inflammation, but delays recovery a little bit, then it has obvious uses.

  10. #10
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    yeah but if you take it occasionally to alleviate pain after a hard ride, then the swelling has already occurred.

    Pro athletes, cyclists included, take ice baths, or stand in a big bucket of ice water to reduce swelling and help flush lactic acid from their muscles after a hard workout, and it works! in that respect it's sort of the same thing.

    your assuming someone is taking it during or after every ride, constantly. i would consider that excessive use. not to mention there is no quantitative data in that article that says what percent it affects your recovery. is it 1%? .03%?
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by economatic View Post
    With a good core routine, stretching, and a lot training I rarely take the stuff now.
    Core routine: This IS something I do know about. The book "Core Advantage" by Tom Danielson and Alison Westphal is one of the most important things in my life. The correlation between how my back is, how my bike ride is, and how my day goes is 100% with how much I stick to the regimen of exercises. I recommend it to anyone who rides a bike.

  12. #12
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    A lot of guys will eat a gel with caffeine before a race, the caffeine (not a huge amount) is believed to take the edge off the suffering part, I believe that's true. I used to go to a chiropractor (yes, I know many view chiros as total quacks) who believes ibuprofen is a 'muscle weakener', - I don't know if there's any truth to that, but that stuck in my head. My wife get's bad intestinal symptoms if she takes ibuprofen, which she believes was triggered by too much use years earlier, not a huge amount, she just has sensitive insides, and believe me you want to avoid those type intestinal symptoms. Sometimes I need to take one the night after a race, my legs keep me up. Re your back; I was getting a really sore lower back during races and was thinking I needed a full susp bike, then I realized a 'not weak' back would help, so I've been doing a 10min workout routing 3-4 days a week for over a year now, -my back feels much better during long races. What's your core/back exercise routine like?

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    Since NSAIDS tend to deposit in your liver you can use the supplement NAC to help flush the liver. No proof this will prevent any long term damage from NSAID use so YMMV.

  14. #14
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    For preventing muscle soreness from exercise, check out L-Citrulline Mallate.

    I started taking it because it aids Nitrous Oxide production/bedroom performance, and noticed I no longer got sore after long rides like before. I researched that angle and found reputable sources including Bicycling Magazine that say it works.

    L-Citrulline is a necessary bodily chemical, found naturally in watermelon.

    I take about 16 grams per day of Hard Rhino brand 1:1 L-Citrulline Mallate powder daily. It is available from Amazon.com in bulk. Give it a week to take effect.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    Re your back; I was getting a really sore lower back during races and was thinking I needed a full susp bike, then I realized a 'not weak' back would help, so I've been doing a 10min workout routing 3-4 days a week for over a year now, -my back feels much better during long races. What's your core/back exercise routine like?
    This has proven to be the one exercise of the 20 minute routine that seems to make the biggest difference. I have no idea why, but if I skip this one I will know it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shLXc2EQBH8

    I am so glad to hear that a short simple routine helps your back also. I would never have believed it if I had not experienced it myself.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by squareback View Post
    So is there anything wrong with starting to take ibuprofen before races? I have noticed that not only does my back not hurt, my legs and quads seem a little more "bulletproof".
    There is a real possibility of liver and kidney damage from NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen) if you're dehydrated -- something common for racers. I'm not THAT type of doctor, but my friend who is THAT type of doctor (MD) scolded me heartily some years ago when I commented on my having doped up with ibuprofen for the 25K trail race we had just completed. It's hard on the liver and kidneys and athletes have been hospitalized and semi-permanently disabled for taking it when not properly hydrated. Studies cited in both the linked articles also indicate that ibuprofen does not improve athletic performance or perceived comfort if taken prior to or during an endurance race, and in fact it led to increased biomarkers of things you typically don't want to have happening. Ibuprofen is to be used (if so desired) when at rest and properly hydrated.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by misanthrope View Post
    something common for racers. I'm not THAT type of doctor, but my friend who is THAT type of doctor (MD)
    Since your name is misanthrope, you must be a psychologist

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by misanthrope View Post
    There is a real possibility of liver and kidney damage from NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen) if you're dehydrated -- something common for racers. I'm not THAT type of doctor, but my friend who is THAT type of doctor (MD) scolded me heartily some years ago when I commented on my having doped up with ibuprofen for the 25K trail race we had just completed. It's hard on the liver and kidneys and athletes have been hospitalized and semi-permanently disabled for taking it when not properly hydrated. Studies cited in both the linked articles also indicate that ibuprofen does not improve athletic performance or perceived comfort if taken prior to or during an endurance race, and in fact it led to increased biomarkers of things you typically don't want to have happening. Ibuprofen is to be used (if so desired) when at rest and properly hydrated.
    So make sure to stay hydrated. Sort of important to performance in a race anyway...
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLd View Post
    So make sure to stay hydrated. Sort of important to performance in a race anyway...
    If the story about what happened to Skaggs, who is likely a better and more experienced endurance athlete than anyone on this board, doesn't make it clear you're playing with fire if you do ibuprofen while racing, then ask your physician what they think. Furthermore, I expect that despite their best intentions that the majority of mtbers are dehydrated based on clinical standards by the end of a race.
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

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    Quote Originally Posted by squareback View Post
    I have noticed that not only does my back not hurt, my legs and quads seem a little more "bulletproof".
    Then why stop there.... EPO makes your legs even a bit more bulletproof Seriously... Get your back in order, not with ibuprofen but with proper training and therapy and that's it. If main thing are "bulletproof legs", then as I wrote, there are better things to get them even more bulletproof
    Primoz

  21. #21
    zrm
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    I would say if you're using Ibuprofen pre ride regularly as a means to keep going rather than an occasional post ride/evening aid for pain/swelling relief you need to look more at what is causing your issues.

  22. #22
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    Don't do it.

    Stress Tested | Outside Online

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/1...ofen-use/?_r=0

    The Cure for Sore Muscles? More Movement. | Outside Online

    "Instead of popping pills, Nieman says, the best way to avoid excess inflammation and soreness during endurance exercise and racing is to fuel properly."

  23. #23
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    I didn't realize the potential risks of taking ibuprofen while dehydrated. Noted, and thanks for sharing.

    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    I would say if you're using Ibuprofen pre ride regularly as a means to keep going rather than an occasional post ride/evening aid for pain/swelling relief you need to look more at what is causing your issues.
    I agree. This is just my opinion I'd say it is better to treat the cause rather than symptom. I apply this logic to many things and I'm sure my wife gets tired of hearing me rant about it.

  24. #24
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    Men's Fitness stated a while back, the best known natural inflammatory is cannabis. So.... that's what I've been doing after a race along with a few bottles of IPA.

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    common as it is taking nsaids before any event where you risk bruises or something worse - is a very bad idea.

    reason for this is that they mess up coagulation of blood. this is easy to observe during surgery where someone with nsaid or worse their ancestor salicylic acid in their system tend to keep bleeding from small vessels just about everywhere. it just doesnt stop as it should. if you get an injury when biking you really want that blood-cloth functioning.

    so take your nsaid after the ride. ibuprofen has a pretty quick onset anyway.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by kais01 View Post
    common as it is taking nsaids before any event where you risk bruises or something worse - is a very bad idea.

    reason for this is that they mess up coagulation of blood. this is easy to observe during surgery where someone with nsaid or worse their ancestor salicylic acid in their system tend to keep bleeding from small vessels just about everywhere. it just doesnt stop as it should. if you get an injury when biking you really want that blood-cloth functioning.

    so take your nsaid after the ride. ibuprofen has a pretty quick onset anyway.
    Exactly. Ibuprofen not only thins the blood, making blood coagulation significantly less effective, but causes vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels) which compounds the problems from bleeding.

    There are other types of pain relievers which are more effective for this purpose. Ask your doctor or PA.

  27. #27
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    Every one has different needs and thresholds for most drugs so definitely ask your dr. Mine (dr) is a close personal (ya THAT way). She's always been the take it post exercise if you need it but recommends waiting til later on when your more hydrated (she's aware many of us pound a few beers after a strenuous ride) and are dehydrated. Alcohol sure doesn't help.

    Any issues like back pain are best fixed in the gym!! Conditioning makes a world of difference during a ride and also in speed of recovery.

  29. #29
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    Hydration and nutrition before, ibuprofen after, once there's no more risk of bruising/bleeding.

    I have taken it before exercise (digging ditches) if there's only a low chance of injury and it's been brilliant.

  30. #30
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    I suffered back issues and... probably will again by the time I get back on to the bike. Bike fit is fine. What worked for me was core strength, my back was sore because my core wasn't lasting the ride.
    How are your abs?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by kais01 View Post
    common as it is taking nsaids before any event where you risk bruises or something worse - is a very bad idea.

    reason for this is that they mess up coagulation of blood. this is easy to observe during surgery where someone with nsaid or worse their ancestor salicylic acid in their system tend to keep bleeding from small vessels just about everywhere. it just doesnt stop as it should. if you get an injury when biking you really want that blood-cloth functioning.

    so take your nsaid after the ride. ibuprofen has a pretty quick onset anyway.
    I take baby aspirin (81mg) every day. Does this apply ?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by squareback View Post
    This has proven to be the one exercise of the 20 minute routine that seems to make the biggest difference. I have no idea why, but if I skip this one I will know it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shLXc2EQBH8

    I am so glad to hear that a short simple routine helps your back also. I would never have believed it if I had not experienced it myself.
    How any reps do you do per set and how many sets? Much thanx.


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