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Burnt out last night - did I over train?

cowboyjoncowboyjon Posts: 89
Been riding since last summer so I guess most folks on here would class me as a beginner. I'm 39 and in reasonable shape, though for a cyclist I guess I'm pretty big at 6'2" and 220lbs, I'm aware this has no effect on my indoor training unless I choose to race.

Over the last 2 months I've steadily ramped up my training. I like to limit my sessions to between 50 and 60 minutes but I've gradually added in more days each week until just recently I managed to train 8 days in a row where my previous best had been 4 in a row.

At the start of last week I began Zwift's TT tune up plan, shortened to 5 weeks long and for that first 5 sessions the plan was a piece of cake, bordering on too easy if I'm honest.

The second week the plan has ramped up what seems like a huge amount with last night Cruise Intervals #2 absolutely killing me - I only managed two thirds of the workout before having to quit.

Last nights crappy session was the first real downer I have had after feeling like I was gradually improving for months now and it came after my first rest day in 8 days, which has puzzled me.

My legs felt great all day yesterday with the rest but when I started cycling (albeit a touch later than usual at 8.30pm) I knew for whatever reason I just didn't have 'it'.

My sleep and nutrition has been steady. I know it sounds insane but it's almost like that rest day actually set me back somehow.

I guess my question for everyone is, 'have I over trained and need more rest or should I soldier through and jump back on the bike tonight?'.


  • cld531ccld531c Posts: 517
    Why are you 'training' so hard anyway? Only you know what's best for your body but if you are desperate to get back on tonight, why not try an easy session and see how you feel?
  • singletonsingleton Posts: 1,689
    You need to learn to listen to your body - otherwise you definitely will over train and get sick or injure yourself - and then you will be off training for a lot more than 1 day.
    Remember one vital thing - training doesn't make you fitter, recovering makes you fitter.
    Training puts a load on your body and your body will adapt to that load during recovery - but you need to give it time to recover.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    edited January 2019
    If I read this right, you did 8 days straight for the first time ever and now wondering why you are tired?

    Also, overtraining isn't something you can do in 8 days. Overtraining is a pretty serious, long term condition from continual non-functional overreaching.

    Functional overreaching - doing training, getting tired, recovering and adapting
    Non-functional overreaching - doing too much training, not enough recovery so your body never quite adapts, just gets beaten down
    Overtraining - Continual state of non-functional overreaching for extended period of time, can take years to come back from.

    "Recovery" is a funny thing, often you feel worse before you feel better. Constant stress and trianing keeps your body in a "primed state" where it releases natural "pain killer" hormones. when you ease up the level of these hormones drops and your body starts adapting to the stress. During this time you become a lot more sensitve to the effort level, it feels harder as your body isn't primed for it. It's why getting a taper right is such a balancing act, you want your body to have adapted to all the training, but you ALSO want the body to be primed for the event/effort.
  • Great reply Joey!

    Yeah, 8 days in a row then a scheduled rest day THEN I felt worse training the next day.

    I felt fine while doing the 8 days in a row, otherwise I wouldn't have done it. I only stopped for the rest day because towards the end of the previous training session I felt like I was beginning to push things a wee bit tooo much.

    Looking at what you have said, I'd say I have slipped (barely) into the non functional overreaching category.

    Perhaps I'll take another rest day today after all.
  • webboowebboo Posts: 3,171
    If your body is not used to doing a large block of training such as 8 days in a row. Once you stop it goes in to rest mode and wants to stay there, this might be why you feel censored after a rest day.
    Also if you look at the pros in long stage races, they always do a ride on the rest days.
  • Sounds about right webboo.
  • What you need is load management. External load is the work you are performing. Internal load is the impact the work has on your body. A decreasing internal to external load ratio indicates improvement. You can measure internal load using RPE and average work interval heart rate. If RPE goes up while HR goes down, then fatigue is present and suppressing your HR (lower than normal heart rate). Similarly, if HR goes down but cardiac drift goes up, fatigue is present because suppression disproportionately impacts HR in the first half of the workout. What's awesome about drift is that it can give you magnitude of fatigue as well.

    This is what it looks like when you track these over time:


    Here is some info about the internal:external load ratio ==> viewtopic.php?f=40121&t=13100387
  • ... pckn?hl=en (Elevate, formerly known as Stravistix) will give you an idea of if you are overtraining... A "form" figure more negative than -30 for more than a day or two is not too good, -10 to -29 is considered beneficial for an improvement block.

    It will retrospectively look at your riding data, ideally with a heart rate monitor and a power meter. You can now adjust data like weight, FTP, LTHR for date bands (Strava's own Fitness and Freshness can only use your current weight, FTP etc. to look at previous rides IIRC, which can be incorrect by some margin over a long period of time).
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
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  • Thanks for the replies chaps, you've given me plenty to think about.

    I decided to take another rest day yesterday but I'll be back on the bike today!
  • gsk82gsk82 Posts: 2,782
    I've done sufferfest training programmes the last 2 winters. It's still surprising to me how easy they are. There's a rest week every third week, sessions at below 100% that aren't recovery sessions, recovery sessions. It even says in the guidelines that you should aim to do 75% of it and not be a slave to it. These are designed by top professional coaches.

    You dont need to do as much as you think. Don't be so obsessive. It's a hobby, you're supposed to do it because you want to, not because youve slipped in to feeling obliged without realising it.
    "Unfortunately these days a lot of people don’t understand the real quality of a bike" Ernesto Colnago
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