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  1. #1
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    what to do with tired legs?

    I've done 9 races in the past 11 weeks: 6 XC races, a 60 miler on SS, a 106mi roubaix style road race, and 5hr adventure race. Maybe its not a lot for some people, but way more racing than I've ever done. I didn't treat any of them as "C" races. My legs are toast.
    I felt strong and in control for the first several races, the last few were the exact opposite. My legs felt nicely recovered the other day, so I tried a long interval; couldn't quite maintain LTHR or finish the whole thing. Hill repeats and hard efforts that I looked forward to a couple months ago, seem completely unappealing now.

    Its not burnout because I still want to race and train, I'm just convinced that I'm doing myself more harm than good at this moment.

    Anybody had similar experiences? How long of a break should I take, or what signs to look for when I'm fully recovered? What can I do to stay in shape in the mean time? Base miles or running?

    I really want to do a big race next weekend, but I'm really afraid that it will just prolong this fatigue and ruin training for later races.

  2. #2
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    You need a day off more than me

    Can't say I've ever had an 11 week stretch like that, but I'd be worried if you kept racing (or alternately, if it was me and I kept racing) that eventually I'd be really burnt out.

    If your legs are that fatigued I'd say just do a few easy days and maybe test it again with your longer interval?

  3. #3
    Brant-C.
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    9 races in 11 weeks plus training during the week!

    dude, you need to rest.

    i would take five days off the bike. then do a sat ride to check out the legs.

    just my $.02.
    I just like riding my mountain bike.

  4. #4
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    My advice is plan some rest after this next race you want to do. Why don't you take it easy on the bike between now and your next race, ride easy just for fun and relaxation, and maybe get in 1 more intense (but short) workout a few days before the race to liven your legs up. Rest will probably help you more than training at this point. Who knows, you might even see a peak in the next race if you rest enough.

    Then go race.

    Then take a week off completely and another 2 or 3 weeks where you ride for fun and relaxation or do some light cross training to let your body rejuvenate.

  5. #5
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    I believe it's a function of the quality and quantity of the winter base; And how intensity and volume is balanced within your plan.

    Last July (after racing crappy in June), I had a stretch where I had 9 races in 7 weeks (mid-weeks races (MTB and crits), a stage race, and a 150 mile RR), and I seemed to fair well and even had a breakout performance during the 4th week. Prior to that 7 week period, I had raced and trained for 3 months (with no breaks), but at a lower race frequency.

    If you limit yourself to pretty easy 1-hr rides most everyday between races, you'll get fresher legs after a few weeks, and just fly at the end of the 3rd-4th week. Also doing a 2-1 "build-easy week" pattern helps as well. Then a person can sustain long periods of training and racing.

    That's been my experience.
    Last edited by Poncharelli; 05-28-2011 at 12:12 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Now that I think back, it could have been an issue of continuing to race hard after my peak had already past. The peak was actually coming early, so I tried to slow down my training and prolong it, which seemed to work out. About midway through april I suppose it was over; recovery was slower, power didn't last so long, and I just didn't feel bulletproof anymore.

    But I still had a bunch of races on the calendar so I took an extra day of recovery and did a little less training during the week. I had a couple races where I felt horrible, but I blamed it on a bad night's sleep. Looking back, I probably should have skipped a race and taken a good long chance to reset, but was just caught up in the middle of the season I guess.

    More than anything my quads just seem to be worn out and not feeling any strength. I can almost visualize it as a linear digression of power loss over the last month. I like the idea of doing short easy rides every day, that should keep some cardio going and not work the quads too much (and I can keep up my bad eating habits). I dont have many races during the summer, just a few and there, so I'm not concerned about training hard or building up until fall, but I do want to feel normal again.

  7. #7
    spec4life???..smh...
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    I just finished the collegiate season where we race 2-3 races per weekend for over three months. I agree with what Ponch said you can do alot to make it as easy on you as possible like a big base and easy work during the week.

    On a typical week i would race sat and sun, then take a easy recovery ride on monday, take tuesday off then a longer tempo ride on wednesday with a few short hard efforts mixed in and a shorter version of the wednesday ride on thrusday, with a recovery spin on friday before racing starts back saturday.

    With that my legs never felt bad for the duration. Just let the races be your intensity.

    That being said after the season I took two weeks off the bike and tries to rest then started back in a build phase...

  8. #8
    Grip it and rip it.
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    Dude, take a break. Your not gonna lose fitness by taking three days off or so, it'll prob be good for you.
    "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional"

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_co2
    How long of a break should I take, or what signs to look for when I'm fully recovered?

    What can I do to stay in shape in the mean time? Base miles or running?
    This is quite similar to butryon's thread about rest days:

    recovery ride vs complete day off?

    If you're feeling very tired and really need a complete break then you have to be realistic about what that means. It doesn't mean going out for a run or doing extra base miles on the bike, that's just adding to the problem. It means eating a good diet to provide your body with the nutrients it needs and doing very little. You don't need to do anything to stay in shape whilst you recover from all the hard days you've done previously. If anything, that's going to slow your recovery. You're not going to lose fitness even if you take almost an entire week completely off (assuming that it isn't complete bed rest). Longer than that and you'll start to detrain however.

    For a break bcaronongan's suggestion is a good one. 4-5 days of little more than sitting around watching TV, followed by a couple of gentle rides at the weekend to see how you feel. For the week after if you're still a little tired add some gentle rides during the week including some openers but avoiding long sustained efforts or intervals to reach about 50% of your normal weekly volume. The week after that back to normal training.

    Some signs to look for that you're fully recovered should be more enthusiasm for riding, improved sleep quality, feeling stronger on the bike and a good heart rate response during hard efforts.

    If you're following a structured plan (eg: 3 weeks on, 1 week off) then you wouldn't take a complete week off every 3 weeks. Some gentle rides during the recovery week are normal and can be helpful. Suggesting 4-5 days of rest here is because of the 11 consecutive hard weeks in a row that you've done previously. A week off the bike followed by a gentle week is in response to that as cumulative fatigue can really build up over time. "Rest as hard as you train" is a good saying.

  10. #10
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    All good advice, but no one mentioned this: REST HARD!!!

    -8 to 9 hours of sleep
    -Do some self massage. Lay in bed and prop your legs against the wall, and go at it!!
    -Last couple of weeks, I found a dude who does professional massage, half hour for 30 bucks (close to the house). It really does wonders. Just lower back and legs. Maybe you can find a better deal at the local massage school.
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  11. #11
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    I take recovery pretty seriously, I don't follow a strict weekly plan and I've never been scared to take a few extra days off if I need them. I took nearly a full week taper and recov around the 60 miler, just seemed like a good idea.

    In March I wasn't doing much intensity during the week between races, but later in April and May I thought I needed to step it up and do harder and longer efforts (peak type training). For some dumb reason I thought I could get myself to peak again in late May, but in hindsight I never did much rebase/rebuild.

    The more I reflect and analyze the more I get out of it, unfortunately it took me writing down and seeking advice from other in order to really look at it objectively. I certainly learned a lot this spring about top form conditioning and luckily I have it all in my training log to refer back to.

  12. #12
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    A foam roller is your friend. I got one from a PT, and they really work well to relieve muscle soreness. They help with flexibility as well. Good nutrition, and some rest will help also. Good luck.

  13. #13
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    Not to derail, or steal the OP's thread, but I figured this was on-topic.

    How do you know when your legs are "overworked" or tired? I mean, this is my first season training, second racing. My legs haven't really felt 100% fresh all season. For example, when I go up the parking ramp after work, I can feel it in my thighs as I take the steps.

    When riding, I have this period where I can "feel" it in my legs, but shortly after (a climb or something) they come around and I have no issue. My racing has gone pretty well, except for an event or 2 while ill.

    So, my question is, should my legs feel fresh, or unworked? Maybe at the end of a rest week or something? Am I not resting enough during the week, which is typically 2 days off the bike.

    My season is really just getting started, and I don't want to fizzle out mid-season.

  14. #14
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    No your legs shouldn't feel fresh unless you are having a rest week or tapering for a race. Its normal to start a training ride with slightly tired legs. But you shouldn't be sore and worn out all the time either. Kind of a fine line of keeping yourself worked but not over worked.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_co2 View Post
    No your legs shouldn't feel fresh unless you are having a rest week or tapering for a race. Its normal to start a training ride with slightly tired legs. But you shouldn't be sore and worn out all the time either. Kind of a fine line of keeping yourself worked but not over worked.
    I'd pretty much agree with this. When I was training solidly last summer my legs never felt awesome (tired walking up stairs, and when I started workouts), but the power came around and I was able to get through consistent intervals week after week, especially after an easy/extended warm up. Going in to most races I felt pretty good.

    Usually at the end of a rest/easier week my legs would feel the worst - kind of like Monday afternoons when I take the day off Just start to feel packed up and ready to go.

    If your legs are coming around and there for you, and the rest of your body doesn't have full on fatigue and no mood issues, I'd say you are likely doing just fine.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by miss rides a lot View Post
    I'd pretty much agree with this. When I was training solidly last summer my legs never felt awesome (tired walking up stairs, and when I started workouts), but the power came around and I was able to get through consistent intervals week after week, especially after an easy/extended warm up. Going in to most races I felt pretty good.

    Usually at the end of a rest/easier week my legs would feel the worst - kind of like Monday afternoons when I take the day off Just start to feel packed up and ready to go.

    If your legs are coming around and there for you, and the rest of your body doesn't have full on fatigue and no mood issues, I'd say you are likely doing just fine.
    Thanks for the info. That is exactly how my legs feel.

    Yes, the legs do "come around" but I wasn't sure if that was overtraining. The rest seems fine. As for the mood issues, that depends on who you talk to, but no worse than normal!

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