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  1. #1
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    I think I'm overtrained

    For the past couple of days, I've had a RHR a bit higher than normal (I check it every morning, within minutes of waking up). It's usually between 44-48, but has been 50, 56 and 50 the past three mornings.
    I've also experienced poor sleep and unusual fatigue during the late afternoons (fell asleep for 1-2 hours at 5 pm both yesterday and the day before). No cold, no allergies, no stress or any other such problems that could produce similar symptoms.

    No pain anywhere. No bad moods or irritability. Physical performance seems unaffected.

    I've decided to nip it in the bud, in case this indeed is overtraining, and stay off my bikes completely at least until Thursday, and possibly longer if I feel I need to by then.

    Does this sound like overtraining?

  2. #2
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Overreaching, not overtraining. No need to stay off the bike. Just keep it in zone 2 and cut back on the quantity, too. When I feel like that, I'll usually go for a couple of 1 hour flat rides in zone 2 or else do zone 1 rides on my rollers with 1-legged pedaling intervals - which can't raise your HR! Taking a day off won't hurt, either.

    If it is overreaching, you'll have trouble reaching LTHR. Part of the syndrome. So every few days I'll give it a test and ride hard for a few minutes and see if my HR comes up normally. If not, I cut it out and go back to taking it easy. If your HR comes up easily now, then it's something else. Maybe you're coming down with something or there's another stressor.

  3. #3
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    No pain anywhere. No bad moods or irritability. Physical performance seems unaffected.
    Does this sound like overtraining?

    No.

    RHR will vary, and by itself is not a sufficient indicator of overtraining. Lots of things can affect RHR.
    Can you pass the test?
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    Yes, but coupled with my unusual sleep problems, and the fact that for the past month, I've trained much harder than ever before... No?

    I'm going to take a break anyway, just to be on the safe side. Certainly won't hurt!

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    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Harder training will make you more tired -- but not *overtrained*. Overtraining is usually associated with a (significant) drop in performance, depression, etc. and your post doesn't suggest that is happening. The fact that your "physical performance seems unaffected" to me suggests that the harder training is *working*; that *is* stress, and your body is adapting to it. That's a good thing.

    Sure, a break won't hurt, but it won't help you any, either. I would not take more than a couple of days off unless you are really getting sick or something.
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  6. #6
    Pokes On Spokes JPradun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    I'm going to take a break anyway, just to be on the safe side. Certainly won't hurt!
    Yes, it will. You can safely assume ~4% loss in aerobic endurance and 6% in muscle strength for every week off the bike. Granted, you can make that up in about 4 days, but do you really want to take 11-12 days to return to the fitness you are currently at?

    I have an important peak this year, and 11 days will throw me completely off schedule. Will it throw you off? It sounds like you are overreaching, which is perfect. Keep stressing your body and you will make even bigger gains.
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    NorCal Climbing Freak
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPradun
    Yes, it will. You can safely assume ~4% loss in aerobic endurance and 6% in muscle strength for every week off the bike. Granted, you can make that up in about 4 days, but do you really want to take 11-12 days to return to the fitness you are currently at?

    I have an important peak this year, and 11 days will throw me completely off schedule. Will it throw you off? It sounds like you are overreaching, which is perfect. Keep stressing your body and you will make even bigger gains.
    +1

    As much as overtraining is talked about here, I think most people are likely overrested. It's quite amazing how much stress the body can take, and consequently adapt to. Feeling tired and worn down is not over training, it's a sign that you have been working hard - and that's a good thing.

  8. #8
    Videre non videri
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    Listen, I'm a recreational rider. The only competitions I take part in, are two rather informal individual time trials each year, for fun. The first is coming up in late June. The other in the middle of September.

    By "hurt", I meant my general health and my sleep problems.

    And I seriously doubt I'd even notice a 4% drop in performance!!!

    Also, I've done more miles/hours this past month than in the preceding five combined!

  9. #9
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    Also, I've done more miles/hours this past month than in the preceding five combined!
    What fun! Way to go. Take a look at your LTHR, see if it's easy to reach. JPradun is right, though. I figure I can go 3 days off the bike without a big performance drop. Every day after that costs me a week to get back to where I was. You're putting that pain in the bank. Don't make withdrawals unless you have to.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
    What fun! Way to go. Take a look at your LTHR, see if it's easy to reach. JPradun is right, though. I figure I can go 3 days off the bike without a big performance drop. Every day after that costs me a week to get back to where I was. You're putting that pain in the bank. Don't make withdrawals unless you have to.
    Listen to yourselves! Pain. Cost. Performance. What happened to fun? Enjoyment? The thrill of discovering new places and seeing familiar places in new light?

    I've no idea what my LTHR is, or how to find out. I don't even ride with a HRM (although I do own one, but it doesn't work all that well - loses contact after about half an hour).

    Don't get me wrong, though! I love getting faster, and if I'm indeed not overtrained, so much the better. However, I'm not taking any chances. I've probably got a crack in a foot bone (I suspect in the fifth metatarsal of the right foot - stress fracture from running 8 miles completely untrained), so it would probably benefit the healing process as well.
    Last edited by CdCf; 05-05-07 at 11:21 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member slim_77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    Listen to yourselves! Pain. Cost. Performance. What happened to fun? Enjoyment? The thrill of discovering new places and seeing familiar places in new light?

    I've no idea what my LTHR is, or how to find out. I don't even ride with a HRM (although I do own one, but it doesn't work all that well - loses contact after about half an hour).

    Don't get me wrong, though! I love getting faster, and if I'm indeed not overtrained, so much the better. However, I'm not taking any chances. I've probably got a crack in a foot bone (I suspect in the fifth metatarsal of the right foot - stress fracture from running 8 miles completely untrained), so it would probably benefit the healing process as well.
    imo, these are/can be fun...

    It sounds like you are set on what you would like to do. Hope the foot heals, I strained the lateral ligament in my right ankle and can't clip-out without serious pain and further debilitation.

    These past weeks off the bike (not training) have indeed not been fun.
    gravity: it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

  12. #12
    Pokes On Spokes JPradun's Avatar
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    It sounds like you just wanted the time away from the bike and an excuse from us as to why you should do it. Alas, I'm going to rephrase your initial word usage to "I think I'm overtrained" to "I think I'm suffering from burnout."

    Rest up, dude. To some people, suffering on the bike is true happiness.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPradun
    It sounds like you just wanted the time away from the bike and an excuse from us as to why you should do it.
    Not at all, but in the light of the answers in this thread, I fully understand why you would think that. In fact, it's tough for me to do this - to stay off my bike, that is. But I really feel I need to take it easy for a few days, since the sleep problems and elevated RHR definitely seemed connected to my riding. Even if it's not technically overtraining. I should add that I do almost no training at low or medium intensity. Virtually all of it is at very high intensity. I like going fast too much to ride slower...

  14. #14
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    It's base that enables you to ride hard without overreaching/overtraining. Without base, you don't have a pyramid and your plan falls over. So to speak. That's why I was saying don't take time off, ride base instead. I know it's hard. But zone 2 isn't necessarily slow. Most trained riders can ride 19-20 in zone 2. Just stay on the flat. If you have any where you live. If not, try one-legged intervals on your rollers or trainer. That will hold your interest for a few seconds!

  15. #15
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    I did a lot of base (as you call it) last year. Probably 80% or so of the total training volume. Improved almost nothing during the whole season.

    An average of ~18 mph is what I now manage on longer rides (say 50-80 miles). But those are what I'd call very high intensity. That is, I'm fairly tired afterwards, and I have to breathe heavy during climbs.

    12-14 mph would be the kind of slow, steady riding I think you mean by "base". 50-60% HR level, or thereabouts. Not sure what that would be in your "zone" scale.

  16. #16
    Pokes On Spokes JPradun's Avatar
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    50-60% of your MHR is your resting HR. Zone 2 is closer to 60-70% HR...although a true "base," ala Coggan, is 69-83% of your LT HR. I think that converts to about 70-75% of your MHR. Even that will take some concentration at times approaching 2-3+hrs.

    Also, the reason you didn't get better last year is because all you did was base. In the classic analogy, base is like the bottom of a pyramid. The more you build, the higher the peak. If you build a lot and only stop half way up, of course your performance wouldn't be as high as if you set a training schedule that let you hit a peak.

    But, as of now, you are building a pyramid with no base, which is a recipe for a weak overall pyramid and an eventual topple effect (that is, burnout or overtraining late in the season).
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPradun
    50-60% of your MHR is your resting HR. Zone 2 is closer to 60-70% HR...although a true "base," ala Coggan, is 69-83% of your LT HR. I think that converts to about 70-75% of your MHR. Even that will take some concentration at times approaching 2-3+hrs.
    50-60% of my MHR is definitely not my RHR. My RHR is around 47 (+/-3 usually) and my max is around 190. 50% of 190 is 95 and 60% is 114. However, I meant 50-60% of my "working heart rate":

    ((MHR-RHR)*0.6)+RHR = 133

    I still have no idea what my LTHR is or how to find out, but I suspect it's painful.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPradun
    Also, the reason you didn't get better last year is because all you did was base. In the classic analogy, base is like the bottom of a pyramid. The more you build, the higher the peak. If you build a lot and only stop half way up, of course your performance wouldn't be as high as if you set a training schedule that let you hit a peak.
    Why set me up to peak, when I have nothing to peak for? I want to be decent all year round, not outstanding for a week in July...

    Quote Originally Posted by JPradun
    But, as of now, you are building a pyramid with no base, which is a recipe for a weak overall pyramid and an eventual topple effect (that is, burnout or overtraining late in the season).
    We'll see if there will be any season for me this year. I've got a job that takes away almost all the time I can ride in during this summer. Don't like riding at night. The little time left for riding will have to be high intensity. Only 1-2 hours at a time, at the most, will be the norm through June, July and August. I'll probably ride a total of maybe 1000 miles over those three months.

  18. #18
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    I've also experienced poor sleep and unusual fatigue during the late afternoons (fell asleep for 1-2 hours at 5 pm both yesterday and the day before). No cold, no allergies, no stress or any other such problems that could produce similar symptoms.

    Does this sound like overtraining
    ?
    It sounds more like undersleeping. This would account totally for the afternoon fatigue--the classic symptom of poor sleep.

    The RHR can also be an indirect result of sleep disturbance. During the night, HR varies dramatically depending on the stage of sleep you're in. If you wake up during a period of Higher sleep HR, your RHR will reflect this. If you're a well-trained sleeper, you'll wake up naturally, and your HR will be lower. To be suddenly jerked out of sleep by an alarm clock could certainly raise your HR.

    The only way I know of to control for this would be to lie quietly in bed for several minutes before you check your RHR, and some books recommend this.


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  19. #19
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grebletie
    +1

    As much as overtraining is talked about here, I think most people are likely overrested. It's quite amazing how much stress the body can take, and consequently adapt to. Feeling tired and worn down is not over training, it's a sign that you have been working hard - and that's a good thing
    .
    Yeah, this makes sense to me.

    It seems like it's very difficult for most of us to actually overtrain. With a full-time job and family responsibilities (not to mention BF time ), there aren't enough hours in the day for most of us to train, let alone overtrain.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    It sounds more like undersleeping. This would account totally for the afternoon fatigue--the classic symptom of poor sleep.
    Agreed, but it's the ol' chicken and egg thing, ya know. Which is the cause and which is the effect? (Although, of course, the egg was first, since the layer of the first chicken egg couldn't have been a chicken itself! )

    Seriously, though. Of course the afternoon fatigue was caused by poor sleep, but the poor sleep was in turn caused by something else!

    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    The RHR can also be an indirect result of sleep disturbance. During the night, HR varies dramatically depending on the stage of sleep you're in. If you wake up during a period of Higher sleep HR, your RHR will reflect this. If you're a well-trained sleeper, you'll wake up naturally, and your HR will be lower. To be suddenly jerked out of sleep by an alarm clock could certainly raise your HR.
    If I let myself sleep until I wake by myself, I can't get to sleep at the same time the following night. My natural daily rhythm is about 25-26 hours. I have to sleep less than 100% to become tired at the right time at night. However, this is something I've had to do since I was 7-8 years old, and this is not a problem for me. My current sleep problems are caused by something else entirely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    The only way I know of to control for this would be to lie quietly in bed for several minutes before you check your RHR, and some books recommend this.
    My RHR lying in bed is usually 4-5 bpm higher than my RHR while sitting up. Yeah, I'm weird!

  21. #21
    Pokes On Spokes JPradun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    50-60% of my MHR is definitely not my RHR. My RHR is around 47 (+/-3 usually) and my max is around 190. 50% of 190 is 95 and 60% is 114. However, I meant 50-60% of my "working heart rate":
    I meant resting HR as in resting HR between intervals...I should have used "recovery HR."

    Other than that, this is from cyclingnews.com:

    Periodization versus 'always fit'

    So I've been thinkin'...(and maybe this is the problem). I am a 37 year-old cat 4 racer with no aspirations other than to race and do well, have fun and be fit. I often wonder, as I plan my preseason workout, whether I will truly benefit from a periodized plan. In short, is too much made of this method of training for the 'average' racing athlete?

    At the skill/age level that I and other average racers perform, would we stand to gain more 'usable' fitness by engaging an 'always fit' plan? If my goals for the season are not specific, but rather, general (show up and race well, attack, chase, maybe place top ten at most races), does training to say, peak for regionals, mean that I loose more potential opportunities to do well at other times during the year? Given that so many factors play into a 50 mile race on a given day, and there that is no time trial or hill top finish the next day to influence the overall outcome, do we as day racers actually do ourselves a disservice by periodizing our training?

    If I were to quantify this idea it would be, something like: I get 'always fit' to about 80-85% of total potential vs. peaking once or twice at 95-100% of my total potential, do I gain or loose potential to do well when factoring in all the other influences on a cat 4 race?

    Juan

    Scott Saifer replies:

    You apparently are mixing the concepts of periodization and peaking. Periodized training means focusing on different aspects of fitness at different times, working on things that take the longest to develop the longest before the season and things that develop more quickly or just need tuning close to your season. With an appropriately designed periodized training plan, one can be fairly strong for much of a season to peak for a short period.

    I'll grant you your percentages (80-85% always versus 95-100% at peak and lower otherwise) and ask you a simply question that will allow you to determine whether you need a sharp peak or a broader, season long peak: Can you get the race placings you want at 80%, or do you need 95% to place? If you are happy with what you can do at 80-85% you don't need to peak.

    Here's another way to think about it. If you are still making progress in your fitness and competitive results, don't mess with peaking. Just set up a periodized plan to have you ready to race when the races are available. If you are not making progress and are not satisfied with your current placing, think about doing a cycle of extra training, tapering and peaking.
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    Yet again the focus is training for competing. I don't race, other than ITTs twice a year for fun, with no chance of even placing in the top half of the field (we have not "cat" classifications here, so all male riders compete against each other, only divided into broad age classes (<18, 20-30, 30-40, 40-50, et c) so my "season" is simply the time of year where the weather is warmer and the roads are clear of snow/ice. That's why I'd rather be decent for 5-7 months than great for a week.

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    feeling tired means you're working hard and thats a good thing... ? Yeah I suppose that is true. But it also means you need to rest. Roody, you mentioned most people don't have the time to overtrain. I don't agree. Increased intensity in training requires adequate recovery. Intensity is relative. Just because high intensity for one of us amateurs is nothing compared to a pro, doesn't mean we are incapable of overtraining. By increasing intensity from what you are normally used to, you are stressing the body and consequently the body will need rest.

  24. #24
    部門ニ/自転車オタク NomadVW's Avatar
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    Yes. If you ramped up mileage that fast in one month, you very well could be overtrained.

    No. I don't think you are.

    You're not worried about peaking, so taking time off isn't going to interrupt your plan, so if you feel like taking time off, do it. You've been riding long enough that you're not going to go from being "fit" to "unfit" in a week off the bike if that's what you want.

    Now, if you were training for an event - race, ride, whatever - then all this would be different but since you're a recreational rider, it doesn't matter. Heck, take a month off the bike and change training completely - pick up swimming or running. Come back to biking when you feel like it.
    Envision, Energize, Enable

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