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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys/gals,

I'm experiencing some inflammation/heaviness in my quads and my general ambition to go riding has slumped the past week or so. I have currently been riding an average of 50-60 miles per week, generally 15-20 miles each ride. I have lately been experiencing swelling in my legs and they feel super heavy just walking around the house.

My training began almost 3 months ago, and I thought by now I would be able to ride longer and faster. I am racing in a few weeks, and would like to be peaking. It seems with only a few weeks away I should be riding daily.

1. Do I need to listen to my body and take a few more days off?
Or is this just a plateau I need to work through?

2. How much have you guys noticed a difference in diet in regards to recovery and inflamed muscles.
 

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You don't mention how many hours you're riding but it doesn't seem excessive to me. Are you following any sort of training plan? 3 months isn't a lot to build on and your fitness for the race is pretty much defined by now, I'd keep riding normally and then taper the week before the race to improve form. Taper is basically riding less hours but still high intensity.

Maybe try a massage roller after rides to help loosen the muscles.
 

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This is not normal-----getting sore sure---but swelling no.

Go see the doctor----you could have a serious issue---blood clot or infection or retaining water for some reason----for examples---I would not mess around given this is not a normal exercise reaction
 

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I'm experiencing some inflammation/heaviness in my quads and my general ambition to go riding has slumped the past week or so. I have currently been riding an average of 50-60 miles per week, generally 15-20 miles each ride. I have lately been experiencing swelling in my legs and they feel super heavy just walking around the house.
You don't say what the schedule is like, but obviously your recovery is lacking so just check off the boxes and see what is left...

- enough protein: 1g per kilo is bare minimum
- other nutrition: veggies, reasonable carbs, enough calories, avoiding junk
- enough sleep: 8hrs or more no matter what
- enough rest: 1 day a week off no matter how young/fit
- active recovery: very important
- mobility: stretching, foam roller

If all the boxes are checked, try ice baths (and think about what might be causing inflammation other than the activity). Otherwise, maybe consider an underlying health issue. A little, or even a lot of, soreness is normal, but heaviness is not a typical way to describe fatigued muscles.
 

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I agree with those above that mentioned both diet and nutrition. They're obviously key factors in this. I would also add hydration as well.

I get similar feeling when I overtrain and don't allow time for recovery. I generally try to get more sleep along with some basic active recovery exercise. Usually just walking or casual spin on the road bike.

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My experience is little more extreme, but I've learned a pattern of massive inflammation and fluid balance issues following a huge race (specifically a 12- or 24-hour race, with 100+ miles). Usually it lasts 24-72 hours and then I'll just spontaneously start diuresing and return to normal.

I've also had some lab work done which was pretty interesting. I got a C-reactive protein (marker of inflammation) about 36 hours after a 12-hour race and indeed it was 4x higher than normal range! (12.8 where normal is 0-3.3) One week later I retested and it had decreased back to 0.6. Normal response to stress and a big clue to rest.

So yeah, things I work on in the days following a huge effort: lots of stretching, easy spinning or walking just to get the blood moving through my legs. An easy massage where the therapist basically stimulates the lymph nodes to move the fluid out.

And the big one is of course the diet: lots of greens, anti-oxidant rich foods like blueberrries, cherries, tomatoes, peppers, etc. I literally dump turmeric powder and garlic on anything I cook. Supplements with folate (NOT folic acid), Vitamin C, magnesium, and amino acids help too.

It's a sign to rest and take care of yourself, but also given your current fitness background, usual diet patterns, age/weight, might also be worth seeing a doctor to rule out any other major medical issues going on. I saw a doc but we ruled out anything scary, just that I ride my bike too much. :)
 

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You don't say what the schedule is like, but obviously your recovery is lacking so just check off the boxes and see what is left...

- enough protein: 1g per kilo is bare minimum
- other nutrition: veggies, reasonable carbs, enough calories, avoiding junk
- enough sleep: 8hrs or more no matter what
- enough rest: 1 day a week off no matter how young/fit
- active recovery: very important
- mobility: stretching, foam roller

If all the boxes are checked, try ice baths (and think about what might be causing inflammation other than the activity). Otherwise, maybe consider an underlying health issue. A little, or even a lot of, soreness is normal, but heaviness is not a typical way to describe fatigued muscles.
+1 on ice/cold bath soak after riding.

A few years ago I was training for a 29k mountain trail running race, and beyond 2.5hr long runs, my legs had DOMS, so I did cold baths (our tap water is pretty cold and ice wasn't needed) and it reduced my pain and recovery time. Start with running the water cold, sit in the tub for ~15minutes, see if that helps.
 

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Turmeric

My experience is little more extreme, but I've learned a pattern of massive inflammation and fluid balance issues following a huge race (specifically a 12- or 24-hour race, with 100+ miles). Usually it lasts 24-72 hours and then I'll just spontaneously start diuresing and return to normal.

I've also had some lab work done which was pretty interesting. I got a C-reactive protein (marker of inflammation) about 36 hours after a 12-hour race and indeed it was 4x higher than normal range! (12.8 where normal is 0-3.3) One week later I retested and it had decreased back to 0.6. Normal response to stress and a big clue to rest.

So yeah, things I work on in the days following a huge effort: lots of stretching, easy spinning or walking just to get the blood moving through my legs. An easy massage where the therapist basically stimulates the lymph nodes to move the fluid out.

And the big one is of course the diet: lots of greens, anti-oxidant rich foods like blueberrries, cherries, tomatoes, peppers, etc. I literally dump turmeric powder and garlic on anything I cook. Supplements with folate (NOT folic acid), Vitamin C, magnesium, and amino acids help too.

It's a sign to rest and take care of yourself, but also given your current fitness background, usual diet patterns, age/weight, might also be worth seeing a doctor to rule out any other major medical issues going on. I saw a doc but we ruled out anything scary, just that I ride my bike too much. :)
Ditto for turmeric as mentioned. However, one thing to note is that is does not absorb as well in food form, and absorb better in supplement form. Preferably, a form that is hydro-soluble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So to redirect my questions, I might not be experiencing inflammation as much as "pump" when riding. It seems like my legs get pumped and tired on the first few miles of my ride. I took the road bike out last night after a week long hiatus, and definitely felt slow. My average speed was actually my fastest ride of the year, so maybe the week off did me some good.

Maybe this confirms Greg Lemond's famous quote, "It never gets easier, you just get faster" :)

This is my 4th year riding, and I typically do a few races in the Summer. I'm hoping to race in a few weeks, so I was very apprehensive to take an entire week off. I feel reinvigorated, reenergized, and more amped up to be back on the bike.

If I am planning a 21 mile xc race in about 8 weeks, how many hours/rides per week should I be aiming for? (Sport/Comp class-Cat2)

Also, how many miles per ride to get max benefit without having to take another break? (I know I need to "listen to my body", but my head tells my body to suck it up and ride anyways)
 

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If I am planning a 21 mile xc race in about 8 weeks, how many hours/rides per week should I be aiming for? (Sport/Comp class-Cat2)

Also, how many miles per ride to get max benefit without having to take another break? (I know I need to "listen to my body", but my head tells my body to suck it up and ride anyways)
I think that all depends on your goals and expectations, most of the people who do well are the ones who prepare the best. Lots of people are happy just to finish, hopefully not last but if so no big deal.

You can get to a pretty decent fitness level by training 6-10 hours a week (mileage is mostly irrelevant) but you need to use those hours wisely. I'd recommend a little internet research and/or maybe post another question in the training/xc forum for the optimal 8 week countdown. Definitely need some high intensity riding that replicates racing and try to get at least one ride a week that's as long as your race (about 2 hours?) with minimal or no breaks.

I wouldn't take another week off, your race is in 8 weeks? That's more than a few by most definitions.
 

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Compression gear has made a big difference for me during rides and for post-ride recovery. 2XU gear is my go-to. I've tried cheaper compression but you definitely get what you pay for. I wear 2XU while riding, and the leg sleeves while sleeping after a long ride or training session. Post ride I also do 30 seconds of very hot water followed by 30 seconds of very cold water 3x in the shower to help with recovery. As others have mentioned, nutrition post-ride is also a big factor.
 
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