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  1. #1
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    I know there have been previous threads on this topic, but i have some specific questions.

    Over the past 3 months I have been riding a lot more than than i normally do. My program has consisted of intense XC mountain bike rides of 1.5 - 2 hour durations at least every second day. On the alternate days I do approximately 55 minutes of (mainly upper-body) weights and about 50 minutes of walking as well as an easier road ride for approximately 50 minutes. I virtually never have complete rest days.

    Over the past 6 or 7 weeks i have been having what i now realise are classic symptoms of overtraining. These include extreme lethargy/tiredness (particularly of the leg muscles), loss of interests, mood changes and weight loss among other things.

    I understand that I will probably require a long period of rest or reduced activity to fully recover from these symptoms. However, there are some XC races coming up in a few weeks and i wish to recover as soon as possible with minimal or no loss of fitness.


    My questions are:

    In order to recover as quickly as possible, would it be effective to simply reduce the intensity and volume of riding that i do and include at least 1 rest day in every week? Or will recovery require many days of complete rest (eg no physical activity)? Which method is best?

    Is it a bad idea to continue the upper-body workouts while i'm waiting for my legs to recover?

    Also, how long can I expect recovery to take? When can I start strenuous riding again?

    And is it possible to make a full recovery without losing any fitness?


    Any advice/assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member park's Avatar
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    A lot of questions. A race in a few weeks? Do some very easy spinning on the road or mountain bike every other day right up until the race, just lift twice a week and quit walking. If you are overtrained more intensity now won't help. Do the race, evaluate how your legs feel and then formulate a periodized training plan with the help of a coach or Joe Friel's books for upcoming events.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply. Sounds like good advice. Yes, there are a lot of questions there, sorry. I really appreciate people taking the time to read my post and respond. Any other advice anyone can offer?

    Thanks

  4. #4
    carpe napum
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    I doubt you need "a long period of rest" unless there is something more seriously wrong. A couple of days off, then a week of light workouts, then back to a slightly reduced or periodized workout schedule will probably set you up just fine.

    A good way to monitor your rest is to take your resting heart rate each morning before you get out of bed. If it rises significantly you're probably tired, sick, or overtraining.

    Lots of good books and info on this subject available on line, etc.

    Work hard, but have fun!

  5. #5
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jean-michel
    Over the past 3 months I have been riding a lot more than than i normally do. My program has consisted of intense XC mountain bike rides of 1.5 - 2 hour durations at least every second day. On the alternate days I do approximately 55 minutes of (mainly upper-body) weights and about 50 minutes of walking as well as an easier road ride for approximately 50 minutes.



    I virtually never have complete rest days.
    you should always have a complete rest day. don't feel like you're missing out on a chance to make your body better. look what you got yourself into. past the point of diminishing returns



    Over the past 6 or 7 weeks i have been having what i now realise are classic symptoms of overtraining.
    i never would have thunk that!!!


    These include extreme lethargy/tiredness (particularly of the leg muscles), loss of interests, mood changes and weight loss among other things.



    In order to recover as quickly as possible, would it be effective to simply reduce the intensity and volume of riding that i do and include at least 1 rest day in every week?
    definitely, yes.



    Or will recovery require many days of complete rest (eg no physical activity)?
    like the other poster said, i don't think this is necessary. however, since you jacked up your body, i would certainly take a week or more off and use the time you would have been exercising to plan out your new routine.


    Is it a bad idea to continue the upper-body workouts while i'm waiting for my legs to recover?
    with a proper diet, more or less...no. go ahead and do upper body.


    Also, how long can I expect recovery to take? When can I start strenuous riding again?
    i think you should seriously consider some active recovery days thrown into your week in ADDITION to the one day off


    And is it possible to make a full recovery without losing any fitness?
    of course...or else people would be taking one step forward and one step back only to find they never went anywhere!

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys.

    What would be a good example of an "active recovery day?"

  7. #7
    so whatcha' want? bigskymacadam's Avatar
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    i thought one should taper training to lower mileage before an event anyway. this could be a good time to take a day off and lower your intensity so you'll peak during the event.

    Quote Originally Posted by jean-michel
    What would be a good example of an "active recovery day?"
    hehe. today i took the day off work, didn't ride, ate, rested on the couch and watched tivo. (and read bikeforums.net all day)

  8. #8
    Senior Member rule's Avatar
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    A ride around the corner for a coffee is a recovery ride. Tooling around the neighborhood with my six year-old is a recovery ride. You are just trying to get out, spin a bit and get some extremely light riding done. If you sweat, it isn't a recovery ride.

  9. #9
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jean-michel
    Thanks guys.

    What would be a good example of an "active recovery day?"
    i don't mean to get out of answering this directly, but check the link below for a very general description (less than a page). an active recovery day can really be totally dependent on what you're current program entails. psychologically, they're good as well for preventing athletes from thinking a day of rest "is getting me no where"

    http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/t...verecovery.htm

    very generally: you should definitely have one total day of rest and probably 1 or 2 days of intense bouts followed by a day of "active recovery" per week

    i am being vague on purpose to allow you lattitude in incorporating these ideas into what you are doing. just know it is utilized in training regimens and see what you come up with.

    let us know if you need more specificity

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    Could an active recovery day from riding include say an hour ride of low intensity and about 45 mins of upper body weights at the gym? Or would that be too much?

  11. #11
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jean-michel
    Could an active recovery day from riding include say an hour ride of low intensity and about 45 mins of upper body weights at the gym? Or would that be too much?
    personally, i think it might be borderline too much. as long as you can consistently keep your bike ride at a low intensity. my thought is that artifical gym equip might be better, and maybe even reduce the times a little and see how it works for you after awhile. i am thinking more like an hour or so total of light cardio and the weights you mentioned.

    don't forget, its not supposed to feel hard. it may even feel "beneath" you to go at these levels. remember, there will still be metabolic things going on inside of you even if it doesn't feel hard. (ie perfusion to tissues, etc) you'll certainly be getting more out of it than watching tv.

    i am certainly not the authoritative figure on this. i am just trying to give you some sound advice and make sure you're aware of some options. you will have to give changes an honest chance. a good way to tell if you are getting anything out of it would be a simple general assessment of your most intense rides. ask yourself if you feel as though you performed worse or better?? they won't always be better! we all know its hard to gain improvements once you're already "there". that is why you need to keep fine tuning things like recovery and diet, etc.

    another thought...i would do an activity totally different than cycling. if you at in the gym do something like the elliptical, rowing , or steppers for the light cardio. giving the cycling motion a rest to avoid burnout, no matter how much you love cycling, you can burn out.

    your suggestion of a ride outside leads me to believe it will be hard for you to give active recovery a chance. the temptation will be too great, i think, to push yourself if you are outside. that is why i am thinking it might be best to totally remove yourself from the cycling. since it is at a low intensity, you're not going to lose anything because your doing a non-cycling specific activity.
    Last edited by mx_599; 02-17-06 at 08:17 PM.

  12. #12
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jean-michel
    I know there have been previous threads on this topic, but i have some specific questions.

    Over the past 3 months I have been riding a lot more than than i normally do. My program has consisted of intense XC mountain bike rides of 1.5 - 2 hour durations at least every second day. On the alternate days I do approximately 55 minutes of (mainly upper-body) weights and about 50 minutes of walking as well as an easier road ride for approximately 50 minutes. I virtually never have complete rest days.

    Over the past 6 or 7 weeks i have been having what i now realise are classic symptoms of overtraining. These include extreme lethargy/tiredness (particularly of the leg muscles), loss of interests, mood changes and weight loss among other things.

    I understand that I will probably require a long period of rest or reduced activity to fully recover from these symptoms. However, there are some XC races coming up in a few weeks and i wish to recover as soon as possible with minimal or no loss of fitness.


    My questions are:

    In order to recover as quickly as possible, would it be effective to simply reduce the intensity and volume of riding that i do and include at least 1 rest day in every week? Or will recovery require many days of complete rest (eg no physical activity)? Which method is best?

    Is it a bad idea to continue the upper-body workouts while i'm waiting for my legs to recover?

    Also, how long can I expect recovery to take? When can I start strenuous riding again?

    And is it possible to make a full recovery without losing any fitness?


    Any advice/assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    There is overtraining and then there is over-reaching.
    Overtraining cannot happen on the bike alone. Less than 6% to 8% of your day is spent riding (working out) >> overtraining also is the cumulative effort of what is happening off the bike. Are you stretching getting that message from a loved one, do you sit at your job or active, do you eat to fuel or eat to eat, do you get enough sleep, have a mentally stressful job, etc. If you are not recovering with diet and rest the other 22+ hours of your day you have no chance.
    Your next ride begins as soon as you get off the bike from the ride you just completed.

    You need to be a tourist during active recovery. Look at the scenery. Active recovery is also a mental break. I don't like my HR to go above 115 on recovery days. obey the HR.

    You are putting too much emphysis on being in tip top shape 3-5 weeks out of an event. It may help you sleep better knowing that your conditioning is peaking this far out of a race, but it won't happen for you raceday if you dwell on this setback. It's like a test. You've done the homework (you can't fake fitness) but will you be relaxed enough on raceday to perform like you should?

    One thing i've learned from racing. Everyone is tired at a certain point in the race. Everyone has done their miles. There are small mental cues and knowing what to do when things don't go according to plan (do they ever?) that can separate success at certain levels.
    You're fine. Do well.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  13. #13
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    Well it's been about 5 weeks of significantly reduced activity and i have seen no improvements in my condition. I still feel unbelievably tired (especially, but not limited to, the legs) no matter how much i sleep, or how little activity i've done. I've been feeling this way for about 3-4 months now.

    Lately I've only been riding about once a week (with reduced intensity), have reduced weight training (upper body) to twice a week and i've been having at least one complete (as in not even leaving the house) rest day per week. The only other exercise i do is walk to and from uni 5 days a week (about 20-25 mins each way). I've seen a doctor and a blood test has ruled out glandular fever. The doctor suggested I take a high dosage of multivitamins. This has not improved my condition. I've come to realize that this cross country racing season is a write-off. I've read about other people who have experienced the same sort of thing continuing for months and even years.

    I guess my advice to other young people (i'm 19) is that more is not always better. I realize that now, and realize that rest days are a necessity no matter how motivated you are.

  14. #14
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    you are still only on the bike for 10% of your day. I'd look into what you are doing off the bike for the other 90% of your day to see where you are overextending yourself.

    Your recovery begins as you get off your bike from that day's ride.

    nutrition, massage, sleep, mental relaxation....
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  15. #15
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    For the 3-4 month period over the Summer when i did a majority of this training i was doing nothing strenuous at all for the remainder of the days. The rest of the day would usually consist of relaxation, eg reading, playing video games etc. The only other thing worth mentioning is that i worked 10 hours a week (2 x 5 hour shifts) stacking the dairy/freezer sections at a supermarket. I had very few stresses and my sleeping patterns were very regular (at least 8 hours every night).

    RiphRaph, you seem to be implying that riding for only 10% of your day is insufficient to cause persistent fatigue. I disagree. 1.5 - 2 hours of high intensity mountain biking everyday (with no rest days) is still a very high exercise load.

  16. #16
    Eat. Lift. Ride. Drink. Sinfield's Avatar
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    What does your diet look like?
    How much sleep are you getting nightly?
    How much stress/ hours are you putting in at work?
    Are you supplementing with an antioxidant/ multivitamin.

    Your body is pretty good at letting you know what's going on with it. When I'm training hard, every 5 weeks or so I will take a week to deload. I'll drop the weights in the gym, sleep more, and keep eating the same high level of calories. More sleep and more food can do wonders for pulling you out of the hole. So can vitamins, especially since overtraining takes a hell of a whack at your immune system, and getting sick on top of overtraining can really do a long term number on your body.

  17. #17
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    I know that for running you need to calculate your milage increases carefully. You cannot increase it too fast or you will entertain injury and incur symptoms of over training. I would bet the same rule goes for the bike. You mention that you started this intensity 3 months ago- maybe you needed to work up to the intensity a tad longer. Maybe if it was stretched out into 5 months you might have been fine... but dude- you can still race man. There has to be a method of recovery out there- read some books or visit Chris Carmichael. Or go join a bike club that has many established riders- I would bet a bunch of them have done the same thing you did before. One of my friends has once as well.

    Good luck !

  18. #18
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    jean-michel, you know your body better than anyone. If you are listening to the ques your body is giving you then much of this can be avoided. In an otherwise normal, healthy person you should be able to take care of these intense loads.

    being 41, working 50+ hours a week, having 3 kids and a wife and still getting in 5000 miles a year and racing and working out in the off season, i can definitely say that if you pay attention to the other 90% of your day, then the 10% seems way easier.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  19. #19
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    Well, I'm not professional at this, but here's my advice.

    I think you need to get back on the bike more, but at a reduced intensity. A very reduced intensity. For me, I'm starting to really hurt at about 160 BPM, and my max is around 171 BPM. If I'm doing active recovery, I don't go above 110 BPM.

    I'd suggest 3 days a week for an hour or so each, and back of from the weight training. Look at what you're eating - less refined stuff, more fresh food.

    You could also have a bit of virus. It's not uncommon to get something where you get a little run down but don't feel really sick.
    Eric

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