Why always Quads?

I might have mentioned it once or twice before, but for all those who haven’t heard it: I was a runner and nothing but a runner for the last 2 decades and just recently started to make the transition to triathlon.
I’ve been a proud owner of a Sufferlandrian passport for about 3 months now - or was it 4? Time flies when you’re having fun…

I realised that I can clearly identify one muscle group that gets fatigued by far the most: my quads.
I never had any quads issues during or after a running workout. Now every session that’s tough on the bike is tough because my quads die.
When I lift up my little 13 kg bear girl from the floor, after a workout, it’s my quads that complain.
Glutes are fine, hamstrings are fine, calves are fine… it’s just quads, quads and quads again.

So, my question: Is that…
a) … totally normal on the bike, and I’m just not used to it as a runner?
b) … part of the transition from running to triathlon? I mean, do perhaps runners have well trained glutes but weak quads, and hence I need to get them up to speed first?
c) … caused by a bad postion / bad technique / bad pedal stroke on the bike?
d) … due to a completely other reason, that I cannot even think of?

When I’m on the bike and the efforts get a bit harder, I actually do feel like my stroke isn’t really all that smooth, but I rather have quite an emphasis on the down stroke. And there, I feel like I recruit mostly my quads, not so much my glutes. So I’m inclined to believe c) is the correct answer. Which is something that makes me worry, hence my question.
I’ve completed Elements of Style a few times, and I still don’t really have a feeling for how I can change this.

Thanks for your opinions!

Your seat may be too high. Try dropping it a little bit. It’ll take some time to build up your hamstrings, but you may end up more balanced. I know I have been.

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I’d certainly get a bike fit if you can afford it, or at least google it and watch a few YouTube videos to get you going.

It is amazing how just a few mm too high a saddle or too low a handlebars makes so much difference to ride comfort.

Take a look at this, and the other articles on this site. I’ve found them to be really helpful. Good luck!


E. You are getting old bro.

E is outright impossible buddy! I decided to stop aging this year. Forever 39!

@Chaz Very interesting article. Especially the discussion they had about it. Cheers mate! I’ll definitely consider this.