Tired legs after VO2 workout

Hi folks,
I took about 10 days off the bike recently for holidays etc. Then did a 1 hour VO2 session the night before a group ride. It was my first VO2 session ever and so didn’t realise how tired I would be next day…the group ride day. I totally bonked on the group ride. It was 90km at 28km Average and I bonked from 50km to 85, came back for last 5km😓.
The session was ainslie +2 for 1 hr. my legs now 3 days later are still sore. Especially my quads. They feel like concrete!
I did taku for 30 min and lolita for 45 min since also to spin my legs and it has barely helped. Any suggestions how I make sure this does not happen again? Be ready for next week group ride? And was it dumb to just jump into a VO2 session like that??

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After 10 days off the bike, you are probably going to need a bit of time to transition back into harder workouts. Next time, I’d take a one or two days of endurance or tempo riding before going out and smashing it :wink:


It depends on one’s level of fitness and training load but back to back hard sessions aren’t always a good idea and I’m assuming the group ride was hard when I say that.

You say you bonked, that’s more likely down to eating and drinking, were both workouts fuelled correctly, perhaps something to pay attention too for the future.

If the group ride is hard, then an easier day before hand might be a better bet, but it does depend on your goals.

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Use the calendar and move your workouts around to give you an easier workout before the group ride. A race opener would be more suitable.
Save the VO2 for when you’re recovered as they do sting.


My first session back after a few weeks rowing (where we did a not of technical work, so apart from races, lacking intensity) was bashful +6, a shock to the system. I almost completed the intervals on target (one back-pedal in the second last one). But I could not complete the endurance segment at the end, and struggled with Bays + 1 the next day. I felt ok a day later, and at the weekend did a 132 mile ride with a bunch of Strava PRs.

I’m planning to do it again tonight - let’s see if I do better!

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Thanks for the replies folks.

Looks like I will need to be careful jumping into a V02 session and as someone said stick to the calendar, Coach Chad is to be trusted!:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Any suggestions with trying to turn my legs back into normal rather than the concrete blocks they feel like?
I did some light spinning as I said and some foam rolling. Anything else help?

Try a recovery ride or an easy endurance ride with a couple of sprints, but not full on all out, just 50% effort for 10 seconds or so with a 5 minute gap between them.

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You also might need a complete day off to let your body catch up. Then a day or two of recovery. I’d think about this like I really gave it to myself and now I need a little extra recovery time than normal.

This is a super hard thing to figure out. I’ve had it happen to me during a race series and it sucked bad. Unfortunately in that instance I dug a real deep hole.

Other than foam rolling I also like getting in a Jacuzzi at the gym or a hot bath followed with some stretching and good hydration and eating.

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Being a bit pedantic, but bonking is when you run out of glycogen and hit a complete wall where you can barely turn the pedals. Like a car running out of petrol. It’s a truly horrific feeling, in >25 years of endurance sports I think I’ve only experienced it once. You can’t bonk “from 50km to 85”, when you bonk you basically need to stop completely (you don’t have much choice about this), take on some carbs and give your body enough time to digest them and get that glycogen to the muscles before you can continue.

What you’ve described is “just” fatigue and maybe some DOMS. If this was your first VO2 Max session then next time it won’t be so bad. These types of sessions always take a lot out of you but do them regularly and you do adapt and recover better. You can help that recovery with good post-workout nutrition, sleep, foam roller, but it’s still a tough session and may not be a good idea to back it up with a hard group ride the next day.

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Thanks carstman. Yes I didn’t truly bonk as you say but more like the group had to slow up and our average dropped while they carried me for that 35km. And anything that was remotely like a hill I couldn’t manage at normal pace.

Well I repeated Bashful + 6 tonight as planned. I did better - I did backpedal a bit in one of the intervals, but it was the last one rather than earlier. I did more of the endurance block but still stopped at 1:13, so still no cigar.

I feel like I will do better tomorrow than last Wednesday. I don’t know if I will try again next Tuesday as my A race starts on Sunday 18th - so I need to taper a bit next week.

I do like wearing compression wear on the legs after a hard workout. It may just be psychological but I do feel some relief when wearing them. After rides I do use cupping as taught to me by my physiotherapist. This really does bring relief to the legs.

I also will the next day soak in epsom salts in a jacuzzi tub. I just find it relaxing and soothes the muscles.

As you can tell I do work on being relaxed!!

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