How to best recover after long commute to work

Hi all

Due to my car being off the road, I am forced to ride the 23 miles to and from work. 120 TSS each way. It is a fairly flat route with some climbs, but you have to pedal the whole time, if you know what I mean. Not too much traffic as they are rural roads in a farming county of England. No recovery descents though! Last year when I was fresh, it’d take just over an hour each way for context. I used to treat it as an ITT! Work can either be all day at a desk, or 14k steps around the factory.

This is my 4th week of doing it, and I am exhausted. I have coffee and some crumpets before I set off, bagels with chocolate spread and peanut butter, then a flapjack when I get in at 0730. Then at 1000, another bagel as I am hangry by that point! Peanut butter and jam sandwiches at 1230, then a coffee and a flapjack just before I set off home at 1600. Big evening meal as soon as I get home, loaded with veg and carbs. Bed at 10 for 7 hrs.

I have started with protein shakes before bed and when I get into work to aid recovery as my legs are shot. I usually take 1h20 to get into work now, trying to keep it steady.

I am hating riding outside at the moment, and I relish the time when I can get back on the turbo and have Chad shout at me!

Any tips on recovering better, eating better? Supplements? I usually ride long distance events, but this is unrelenting and wearing me out

Thanks for reading!

I have a similar 1+ hour hilly commute I ride 4/5 days per week 9 months of the year. You need to stop treating them at ITT. 80% of them should be Z2 or below. I run a 50/34 11-36 combo on that gravel commuter. The morning ride is almost always a Z2 ride and 2-3 times per week I’ll do SST or VO2max intervals on the way home. Any more than that and you will run yourself into the ground regardless of recovery.


Minor quibble, but if it’s possible for you to do in an hour, shouldn’t it be 100 TSS or less each way? Obviously lots of work regardless.

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OK maybe I wasn’t clear enough, last year it would take an hour.
Now I am trying to ride slower and it takes 1:20 / 1:30.
Still, it’s the constant fatigue. Can food, or food timing help reduce that? Legs feel dead and the second I push above the FTP range, oh the pain!

My mistake, well spotted! 120 TSS each day.

You don’t need to be so caught up on the type of food. Just make sure you eat enough, and to get the most out of it, it should be mostly carbs and protein.

What I’d do is to try and actually write down how many calories you eat each day, I’ve used MyFitnessPal every time I’ve counted, and it works like a charm.

Maybe eat something on the bike, it’ll take your mind off the riding it self, and who doesn’t like to eat.

I commute 22 miles a day with approx 1500ft climbing.

I’m still experimenting but, as others have said, make sure you have plenty of easy days and make sure those days are easy enough.

If you have a heart rate monitor, consider trying an HRV app to plan which days are hard and which are easy. If you’re pushing too hard on days where you’re already fatigued then you may just be building and extending your fatigue.

I don’t think food should play too much of a part in this as long as you’re eating fairly healthy and eating enough. Do you know how many calories you’re burning and eating?


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That’s what I am planning. I think I need to just go even slower! Trying to keep power in the Zone 2, which is not always easy!

I’ll look at the HRV, I think my Garmin head unit has it.
Going to try eating on the bike too. I think I am too used to my old style of riding, plugging out a 200 mile ride where I had my on bike routine sorted, and then knowing I’ll not HAVE to ride for a few days afterwards. Now I am getting 10.5 hours rest between each ride.

7 hours! New baby in the house, as soon as mum and baby get into bed, so do I. I am not brave enough to ask for more!

Started to write it down and use MFP. I was severely lacking protein.
Coffee and an oaty cake just before I ride helped this morning!

I was actually suggesting it for when you arrived at work. My idea of a silly joke. :sunglasses:

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That was actually my first thought! :rofl: Under my desk is starting to look rather cosy!

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Everywhere looks cosy for a new Dad!

Btw do you have a power meter for outside? If so, what is your average (not normalised) power for these rides?

I’d be having a protein shake as soon after the ride as possible, I’d mix it with water not dairy as this helps it get in the system faster.

Just started that, thanks. Didn’t know about the milk slowing it down, handy for the pre-bed drink!

That’s a typical ride. Looking at it closely, I could probably slow down a bit more…
Average power is 150 - 198w, depending on wind direction I suppose.
I’ll try and take it easier this week and see.
I have put on over an inch on my quads though, every cloud and all that!!

It was actually 120 TSS each way.

120 TSS in 1h 20m is an IF of 0.95. That’s far too much intensity to keep up twice a day, 5 days a week.

Even at 1h 30m it’s an IF of 0.89.

1200 TSS/week just from commutes is alot.


You guys are making me scared for my start of cyclocommuting season next week.

I guess i’ll start easy with 1 commute to (23k) and one commute back. But on top of that, i also start trailering the kids 5 km, uphill for 1km of that (and omg do they feel heavy) on the daily.

So sadly, that part of the commute will be “hard” no matter what, but it’s over quickly.
We’ll see how the body reacts next week.

The main thing I’m getting from this (and from your more recent rides) is that even after reducing the intensity, you’re still burning 1500-1800 calories every day on the bike. That’s up to 18 Warburton’s crumpets on top of your generic daily calorie needs.

Secondly, it seems like all your meals are getting quite unhealthy apart from the veg in your dinner. You’re having peanut butter and jam sandwiches when you’ve still got 4 hours to go before getting on the bike.

So what I’d suggest first of all is actually counting the calories that you’re eating and when. Your morning commute is early, so a quick coffee and crumpet is probably as much as you can manage. I’d then suggest having a bottle of energy drink on the bike which will make the ride easier and add 250ish calories. Then you make up the rest when you get in with the bagels etc, or a bowl of porridge if your workplace allows.

This should mean that you’re not so hungry at midday and can have something lighter and healthier for lunch.

Then I’d move the peanut butter / jam / flapjack to about 1-2 hours before the ride home, and then another bottle of energy drink on the bike. Then you can get home and also be able to have a lighter, healthy dinner.

Last thought is to maybe have some carbs with your protein shake before you go to bed, so you’re not completely glycogen depleted when you set off in the morning.