Hard time sleeping after workout due to legs being on fire


I’ve found these topics related to difficutlies falling asleep after a hard workout

However, they seem to focus on the feeling of being wired after a workout. That’s not the problem I’m experiencing. Instead, I feel plenty tired and am ready to sleep, but once in bed my legs still feel like they’re on fire. This would be 1-2 hours after finishing the workout. It’s not pain as in bad pain, but rather a nagging feeling that they suffered through a great workout. It is bad enough that it’s keeping me awake though or even wakes me up during the night. By morning the feeling is gone and I’m all good, apart from some heaviness in the legs which I think is normal after a heavy workout.

This mostly happens after sweetspot/threshold workouts with longer intervals (I’ve got eclipse 3x20 programmed tonight). Wearing compression socks after showering before going to bed helps a bit, but those do not cover the knee joint :cry:

Any insights into potential causes? Hydration?
Any suggestions for alleviating? Stretching/yoga, foam rolling, cold bath, HTFU, …?

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If compression socks help, Look at getting a pair of Skins, they are compression for full leg :slight_smile:

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On a more serious note, perhaps try some light stretching after your workout. Also, what’s your pre-workout hydration and in workout hydration/nutrition look like?



no specific pre-workout hydration other than making sure I drink enough water while at work (typically ~2 litres per day - desk job). During a 1-hour workout I typically drink 750ml water with an electrolyte tablet (PowerBar, the non-caffeinated ones, yes I made that mistake earlier :wink: ). For longer workouts I bring an extra bottle of water. Depending on how I feel during the workout I might take a gel. All my workouts are typically 1-2 hours after dinner, so I usually go in well-fed :smile:.

NSAIDs work for me. Ibuprofen specifically. Probably not a good long term strategy that.

Maybe try a longer cool down?!

Compression socks as @WildWill mentioned might help as well :man_shrugging:

If you did workouts in the morning, would you have the same issue w/your legs on fire?

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I’ve found that eating carbs and protein after the workouts helps greatly. Also being well carb fueled in general beforehand workout is a good practice. I pre-make a post ride shake to make easy.

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No, definitely not to the same extent with early morning workouts. So along the idea that the rest of my day is essentially cool down (i.e., I keep moving), I could see how a longer cool down could work. Evening workouts end with shower, recovery shake (potentially some stretching but not consistent), couch, bed.

yes, I always go for a recovery shake after a workout. Depending on whether I feel hungry, I either do protein only or protein + carbs

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I picked up earlier that they reduce muscular adaptations to training? Didn’t check the source but it should be out there

+1 on that, works great for me

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I get this too, doesn’t matter what I do (hydration, nutrition etc) If I’ve had a big ride (only happens from outdoors rides as they are generally the hardest / longest) that night my legs are just as you’ve described.

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Maybe try a leg pillow? A more natural, supported position may help them relax.

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I have this issue as well and it’s quite painful. What helps me (not a cure, but helps) reducing my ftp by a few percent, longer cool down, and vigorously stretching after the workout and again before bed.

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I know it is old school and largely assigned to cycling myths but it worked for me back then: put your legs up after the workout. Not on the sofa but literally up the wall while you lie on the floor. 10 to 15 minutes was enough. I usually only needed it for a few early weeks.

I don’t buy the lactic acid draining reasoning too much though it might. I always thought that the lower blood pressure in the legs opened things up a bit. Pure bro science, but it worked for me and an easy try.

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I have to say, I’ve implemented your legs way up suggestion after my last workouts and complaints are remarkably less! Might be anecdotal, but I won’t loose any sleep over that :wink: (pun intended).

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