Can we discuss post training/riding leg fatigue please?
When regularly training (5 days/week), how do we listen to the body and guage when an expected amount of leg fatigue becomes more than that and a sign to back off?
Number of days it lasts?
Type of fatigue; deep, dull dead sensation or just stiff muscles. Can we describe the feeling acurately?
Is fatigue that builds and lasts most of the time through a 3 week build cycle, part of the deal and can be totally recovered from during the following rest week?
Or should we be looking to perhaps shorten training sessions and increase rest to gain full recovery from leg fatigue before comencing next session.
Friel talks about walking up to the very edge of the 'valley of overtaining' before resting. How can I quantify where that edge is?
I think that depends on individual. Age, etc.
Is this your first time training seriously, as in keeping training calender, etc?
Anything to compare to last year at this time?
Are you in build 1, 2? I think it is to early in season to have tired legs - I guess pending on climate where you are located.
How long have you been riding, versus training? Training meaning keeping track of workouts, etc? Your history would help. What training week consists of, etc.
Are you making small skips ahead in your training or are you making huge jumps and overdoing it?
I used to follow Friel's Bible closely - but it made me 'stick' to plan to closely. (over extend myself)
Now I tend more towards recovery on demand
Joe Friel - Recovery On Demand for the Advanced Athlete
I am in the "when in doubt - leave it out" camp
I'm 38 and have always been very active with my job as a landscape gardener and years of windsurfing prior to getting into mtb.
1st year of mtb I just rode a lot.
2nd year trained for 12 weeks then did my first race in the September.
3rd year (last year) trained without a plan but by feel, raced about 12 events and did really well. By the end of the season was consistently mixing with all the sponsored riders.
This winter formulated plans, bought Friels bible and adopted the three weeks on, one off aproach. my training week goes:
Tues; LT type work for approx 1hr
Wed; mixed ride with teammates for 2.5hrs
Thurs; off or LT for 1hr depending on how I feel
Fri: as for Thurs. One or the other will be off though.
Sat; fast ride 1.5hrs or something similar
Sun; long ride at easy pace.
Still learning about what makes for a hard workout and jumping all over the place with styles/types of workout e.g. 3 Tuesday nights ago I rode up a local hill 12 times to gain 1000m of ascent, the following Tues I blasted round a road loop on a mega time trial effort for 45 mins, Last Tues night I rode singlespeed (44/16) on the road for 3 hours up some brutal ascents (up to 15% for 100 vertical metres)
Point is I want to enjoy riding my bikes and am at a point where I am making gains through just riding a lot. I also have to take into account that working 8hrs/day outside in all weathers does take it's toll too.
My race season has already started with the first round of xc last Sunday. End of last season I came 4th in a masters race at a well regarded regional event. This series i've gone for the harder super masters cat and scored 9th (about 6mins down on the winner after 1.5hrs). Based on my times I would have been able to win the masters cat.
So I'm making progress, and despite feeling a little wooden legged in the days before last sunday, I'm doing ok. However after the race and the ss session and a group ride on Wed night, my legs are still tired. I'm due a rest week and have not ridden since Wed night and plan on spending this week doing things to regain my freshness (or turn my new muscles into efficient muscles as I see it) by doing lots of gentle spinning both on the turbo and the road.
I feel my biggest hurdle is learning how/when to not ride my bike. I love training and openly admit how addictive it is. I'll admit that training is sometimes dictated though fear of loosing fitness but I do seem to always love it once I'm out. I will bin a session if I'm not enjoying it though, I do have some common sense left!
95% of my riding is done in high spirits and I enjoy racing for the thrill of it as well as results. Simply put I LOVE the feeling of the power I can put down and do excel on hills (I'm light).
Bit of an essay, sorry!
Knowing when to back off and rest is a difficult one. A large part of cycling is about being able to deal with how much it hurts, and then push onwards anyway. Whether you're climbing a hill at maximum intensity or desperately trying to hold the wheel ahead, seeing stars and close to passing out from the effort, you just have to remind yourself no matter what that everyone else is hurting more and you've had worse in the past. Psychologically, that drive and refusal to give in is a major factor in how good a rider you are.
“It doesn’t get any easier; you just go faster.” — Greg LeMond
The flip side of that is a very motivated rider can end up ignoring signs that they could benefit from a rest. Following a routine such as three weeks on and then one week off is a way of attempting to save yourself from that trap. If you wear yourself out too much then it takes a lot more than a single rest week to start feeling good again.
I tend to divide any soreness and pain that I feel from cycling into two types. You have "good" pain - muscle soreness from a hard workout which is to be welcomed. It means you're doing enough to create a training response and the soreness will pass in time. I won't skip a ride just because of that. Once out on the bike it normally goes away.
You then have "bad" pain - joint pain, major saddle soreness, foot pain, hand issues (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) etc. That sort of pain on an ongoing basis is a warning sign that something is wrong so I'm more likely to try and have a few days off to recover if that occurs.
The distinctive sign for me that I need some time off isn't muscle soreness. When I start waking up feeling dizzy and lightheaded in the morning I know that I've had enough and it's time for a rest.
"Dizzy and lightheaded" are you sure that not something to get checked out, or simply dehydration?
really tough to say - everyone suffers differently and its hard to compare sensations.
i'd say the key thing is to remind yourself what it feels like to be fresh every so often by ensuring you recover fully. then you have a basis for judging how well you've recovered during training.
personally my indicator for when i'm getting overtrained is when i struggle to sleep - if i let that get on top of me it becomes a downward spiral but so long as i'm sleeping well i know i'm not over stressed and of course the sleep means i do recover well. but other people might find they sleep better the more fatigued they get, i think you need to learn your own limits and how to judge them
there are various formulas around based on resting heart rate in the morning eg if you wake up and your hr is 5% more then normal dont train, but i found its too difficult to replicate "resting" state consistently for that to work.
the best advice i can give is try heading out on the bike, warmup, then start to ramp it up. if you try to work hard and it doesn't really happen then you're cooked and should back it right off. the trick is that you might feel like you're working hard but just not quite getting the results you should from it. thats where having a measure like hr or power helps - you'll see that you're close but no cigar. if you get a few days like that then you need a proper week or so break.
good question, sorry i can't give a good answer but hopefully those thoughts help
If nothing else this thread will highlight how there is no prescribed formula for work/rest. That in itself will encourage me to trust my decisions rather than blindly follow a generic plan.
I have to start by agreeing with pk1 that my indicator of 'overdoing' it is hard time falling asleep, restless sleep. Can you say when last time you felt 'fresh'? In ambitious self-coached athletes, the hardest part is usually 'holding them back' from doing to much - myself included. Sometimes that is the problem with a 'plan' - I tend to stick to it no matter what - I go more by recovery on demand.
I followed Friels 'bible' last season.
What 'build' period are you in now?
What did your winter 'base' consist of?
Your last month of 'base" - what did it consist of and hours?
When months does your season start and stop?
How many long are your races - time wise? time between races(1 a month, 2 weeks apart, 1 a week. etc)
I personally do not like to go into race with fatigue and train thru races like Friel talks about doing with "C races".
This is what Friel responded to me via email when I asked him about 'peaking' - I have a limited schedule like you.
I’d suggest treating them like B races for a number of reasons. That means about 3 days of reduced training prior to each. I hope to hear that you do well. Good luck!
For me before races I recover/taper (I read it in his bible or blog).Spinning along with workouts shown. Thurs 3x1.5m Race pace effort - Fri 2x1.5m effort - Sat 1x1.5m effort - Sun Race. I know there will be some local "Lances" who will respond saying I am detraining, etc. But this works for me. I have podium results. I feel 'great' going into races, my legs are fresh, and I recover quickly after race (usually train hard 2 days later).
I am not sure how 'physical' your landscape gardener job is. Looking at your weekly schedule I see 38 yrs old, a lot of intensity along with being on your feet with work. Group rides I have participated in are 'hammer fests'. I am not try to be critical - just trying to help with observations from my experience.
You've picked up on a lot of pertinant points.
I'll own up; I don't have an off season, I don't specialise in types of racing, I enjoy riding too much to just train and I train too much.
I tend to race for 3 or so events in say a 6 week period, then go back to gentle, endurance type riding before building over approx 3 months to another race block. This is only based on a year of experiences though.
I want to keep trying lots of different types of event because it is fun.
Feb-end March It'll just be xc
April-July I'll be doing tons of 'base' style riding and racing (non competitively, just want the experience) at a 24hr, and possibly trying a 200mile off road point to point 24hr target.
Aug-Oct will be back training for xc (the Autumn series) culminating in the Brass Monkeys events over the Winter.
At any time an event of 1.5-6hrs will catch my eye and I'll do it because it looks fun.
Go on tell me I need to do fewer events and prioritise more!
Oh and I also want to lean to do big tabletops and then gap jumps (I can do small ones) on my 160mm travel hardtail. And I want to spend long spring/summer days shredding singletrack, doing all day rides and generally messing about.
Rather than following detailed plans (for instance I'm kind of in Friels build blocks but don't nearly go into enough detail about training sessions to say which part of the build period and I'm treating races as training for the future as well as goals in themselves), I think I need to train by feel for this coming year.
I'm doing ok and advancing well so perhaps don't need to get really specific at this point in my racing career. This is why I think that assessing fatigue could be the key to moderating unstructured training.
I'm wondering if I recorded my percieved level of fatigue every day whether I could produce a meaningful graph that would tell me whether I was ok to train hard again that coming day/evening.
Really appreciate your input. I came to this forum because I knew I'd get sensible answers rather than howls of derision!
Sometimes we know the answer to the question all ready - we just need someone 'outside the box' to confirm it.
A big 'eye opener' for me was when I ran track. The 'coaches' at my school would run me till my legs would be heavy and my results inconsistent. In the off season I would run as an 'independent' at big meets with my Dad as my coach. One time my Dad 'tapered me' - just doing strides, easy runs - week leading up to race I was scared I was not prepared due to lack of training load leading up to race. Needless to say, I ran quicker than week previous setting a PR (personal record).
Joe Friel - Five Fundamentals of Training
Here's a post on my training plan - with my time available - I focus on intensity - at least 48 hrs between hard workouts.
Preparing for first MTB race of the season
If you like to ride a lot - this may help
Sweet Spot Part Deux | FasCat Coaching :: Cycling Coach for all Cyclists
Keep me "posted" on how you are doing
Last edited by scottz123; 02-24-2013 at 06:30 AM.
Has skills-will travel
I use this as well! I also target 8+ hours of sleep every night.
Originally Posted by pk1
I see that ur problems mostly lie in those statements. For me, the training schedule there has bit too much intensity and not enough aerobic volume. Also, so much week after week of repeated intensity plus staying on your feet all day and I could see how recovery could be an issue. Load is load.
Originally Posted by grawp
Ok going through the week:
Monday night: I have no problem with being off. Usually tired from work and happy to eat and get an early night.
Tuesday night: I finish work early on a Tues to pick my daughter up from school. I spend the rest of the afternoon kicking around with her so am usually well rested by the evening. I love my 'big' session on Tues night; going out and doing lots of hill reps, or smashing around on the SS. I call it Lactate Tuesday and duration is usually around 1-2 hours. I want to keep this.
Wednesday night: Is Team Training night. We usually do about 25-30miles on the road (on mtb's) at tempo pace. It's important I keep doing this as it's when we maintain our team unity and I am key motivator in getting everyone out.
So those are pretty well cast in stone.
Could you guys help me structure the rest of my week for me?
Races are always on Sundays and I'm happy to treat them as workouts (there's still so much to learn with racing - I was getting whupped on the singletrack rather than the climbs last race so need to practice that more)
I've just been out this afternoon and set out a 3.5mile off road course that is rooty, twisty, with some good climbs and descents, in fact similar to the terrain and length of my race courses. I'm thinking I should regularly ride this.
And can I put in a ride any time I want between these sessions if I keep it at a super easy effort i.e. zone 1-2?
It's a sensation as though my blood sugar levels are low. No energy and unable to concentrate or think clearly at all. Trying to ride a bike in that state is a waste of time, close to being dangerous. There's a regular pattern that this only happens after several consecutive weeks of solid riding and it goes away after resting. It could be blood sugar levels, maybe low iron levels, something like that. Because of its regularity I know it's time to stop.
Originally Posted by sbsbiker
Along with details of the route and conditions I always enter notes of how I felt during a ride in my training diary - Going Well, Felt Ok, Bit Tired, Very Tired.
There are some different tests to try and predict overtraining. One would be the Polar OwnOptimizer test that's built into some Polar heart rate monitors.
How to Interpret OwnOptimizer Results | Polar Global
1 - Good Recovery or Recovered
2 - Normal State
3 - Training Effect
4 - Steady State
5 - Stagnant State
6 - Hard Training
7 - Overreaching
8 - Sympathetic Overtraining
9 - Parasympathetic Overtraining
This is an extract from 2009 where I was doing the Polar OwnOptimizer heart rate test fairly regularly (post ride in the evening). You can see how it roughly tracks the amount of volume in the day with a higher score after a long ride than after the shorter rides. I only did it for a few months because I didn't feel it was that effective as a guide. Even after a week off I wouldn't see a 1, the majority just being 2 or 3. I'd also get the occasional random result such as the two 6 results also.
"Rest as hard as you train"
My routine for recovering is to try and have a whey protein shake (mixed in 500ml of water) as soon as I get in, along with a proper meal once I've got changed and had a shower. If possible I'll try and go to bed for an hour or so. That helps you recharge and gives your immune system a chance to build itself up again.
After having a shower I rub this cream into my joints (lower back, hips, knees, ankles and feet). It's anti-inflammatory and works really well for reducing any joint soreness post ride.
Wiggle | Natures Kiss Herbal Relief Rub 90g | Muscle Rubs
Ferrous sulphate (iron) tablets can be helpful too if you're feeling run down.
Last edited by WR304; 02-24-2013 at 03:23 PM.
I raced last year for the first time, so thus training for the first time last year. I was always a very rec rider, taking breaks after every hill, taking breaks every time I was out of breath, lol. So racing was a way for me to get in better shape and better biking shape. My training was very disorganized in the sense that I had no plans, except one. Put more time on the bike each week/month than I normally would and don't take breaks. I still wasn't riding at some of the hours that a lot of people on here are doing but again, for me it was a lot more.
What happened to me a few times is I would do easy rides with people who were nowhere near as fast as me. A few times I literally felt like I had nothing in my legs. One ride in particular was the week of a race, went with a buddy who wasn't riding fast at all and I was absolutely turning myself inside out just trying to keep what would normally be a easy-med pace. After about 8 miles (on the road) I told him I was sorry and I had to turn around and go home because I just knew I was gaining nothing by being on the bike and if anything would ruin my legs for the race.
So for me personally I have better feel for when I'm just a little tired, maybe haven't eaten enough that day, unmotivated, or whatever and those types of feelings I can deal with and I push through. But when my legs just have no power at all I know it's time to shut it down. There is a big difference between your brain telling you that your legs don't want to push any harder and that feeling that your legs have nothing in them.
I would recommend following:
Originally Posted by grawp
-thursday, 1.5-2 hour solid zone 2.
-Friday, short ride with 8X20s 100% sprints, spin easy in between sprints.
-Saturday and Sunday, 3 hours total ride time for each day using solid zone 2. (example, Sunday warm-up and race, ~2 hours. Then follow up with 1 hour zone 2 to get 3 hours total)
Takes some discipline to ride another hour or two after a race, but that's what i usually do.
Thurs and Fri look like a good prescription.
Your last point isn't a problem. I've already started riding for a while after I race. I figured that it'd help my muscles calm down after all that effort, it also helps me calm down too!
Can I presume that if I wanted to do a nice long ride at the weekend (6-10hrs zone 2, with lots of food and the odd stop) then if I only rode on the one day and rested on the other then I'd be ok if I didn't do it every week?
I've seen some riders do that, but more because they were preparing for a long endurance event (10-24 hour races).
Originally Posted by grawp
But you can get a lot of the physiological benefits of zone 2 riding (training body to use fat for fuel, increase capillary bed in the working muscles, etc.) by just riding around 3 hours. These are benefits that most riders don't fully develop because of time constraints.
When i look at the training schedules of some of our top local pros or roadie Cat 1's (non-endurance racers), it's seems they try to have an even, consistent distribution of ride time (2-3 hours per day, 3-5 hours on weekend days).
Where I ride, there is no way I could stay in Z2 off-road. I live in the midwest - rolling terrain. But, just one good climb or technical section and there would go the Z2 ride
Originally Posted by WR304
Sorry should have said zone 2 road ride. I go out on my race mtb quite a lot on the roads. It makes a change when it's so muddy in winter.
Hello, me again!
Going right back to the roots of this discussion.
After finishing a hard 2.5 week block of tough training including an xc race on the final week, a stupidly severe Turbo fartlek session and 3 hours singlespeeding up the biggest hills in my area, my legs had a deep ache in the muscles. They'd been aching for the week prior to the end of the block and I'd vainly tried to rest them a bit before the race. To clarify, when riding I felt fine and my legs were working great, but the deep ache all the time I was off the bike was sending warning signals to me that something was wrong.
It's been exactly 8 days since I last seriously trained.
Rested completely for first 3 days,
Day 4 I rode 1.5hrs at super easy spinny road pace + 1hr at taking it easy but few efforts off road pace.
Day 7 rode a sensible 2.5hrs on the road at zone 2 or below.
Day 8 my legs have stopped aching, maybe just a touch (10% of what it was) of a deep ache as I type this.
What do you make of this?
Appreciate your efforts guys. I've made some serious changes to my future plans based on your input so far.
When you say you rested for three days you were still working 8 hours per day on your feet as a landscape gardener though? The problem with having a physical job like that is that it will slow down your recovery from cycling training. You have to factor the day job into your cumulative training load.
If you were riding full time then you'd do your training for the day, sleep, get up the next day, do your training for the day, sleep, get up the next day, train and so on. That maximises your recovery so that you're fresher for the next session.
If you're working hard all day, and then training, you're not getting the benefit of that extra recovery time between training sessions. Over time that lack of recovery will catch up with you. If you look back beyond the most recent 2.5 weeks of training how much recovery time did you take over the last few months? 3 weeks on 1 week off is sustainable for a bit, but eventually you need more than a single rest week to pick yourself up again.
If you're tired then 1 week of resting may not be enough. Especially when you take your job into account it may be that you need a fortnight plus to recover from a hard block of training.
Rest as hard as you train.
Sensible words but hard to hear.