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Old 06-27-10, 08:08 PM   #1
Yen
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Recovery from total fatigue after long hard metric

Today is a passive rest day after a very difficult 68-miler yesterday with some members of my group (I'm a 54-year old woman). I agreed to do this ride against my better judgment --- my longest recent ride was 40 miles a month ago, and my standard weekly 40-milers have tapered off due to other weekend obligations. I have ridden a few metrics but not since last year. I work full time and go to the gym several times a week, but my endurance bike rides have been infrequent.

I ended yesterday's ride feeling completely, totally drained. In the last 5 miles I desperately wanted to stop riding. The last mile was grueling. I believe I ate and drank enough during the ride ---- my 2 water bottles were nearly empty (one of them included a little O.J.) and all 3 food bars in my pack were eaten 1-2 bites at a time throughout the ride. On our stop for lunch, I had a double latte and a Nutella banana crepe, figuring the eggs in the crepe would provide a little protein. I believe I did not bonk, but experienced extreme fatigue due to exceeding my current fitness level. The weather was cool and I did not feel overheated.

Last night, I was ready for bed at 7:30 (my usual bedtime is around 10:00). I slept almost 10 hours. Today, my muscles are not very sore but very stiff. I feel less fatigue, but still drained. A very mild headache comes and goes. I am hydrating (water) and eating well. Tomorrow, I plan to take an easy walk (30-45 minutes), or another passive rest day running some errands.

QUESTIONS: I'm wondering how to know when it's time to begin endurance training again after this type of fatigue, and if it is reasonable to take yesterday's mileage into account and put my current baseline mileage somewhere between 40 (my previous long ride) and yesterday's 68 miles. I need to train for a similar ride in early August, a recreational ride of about 88 miles. I want to ride and finish well without feeling completely drained.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Jen
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Old 06-27-10, 08:25 PM   #2
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The best thing to do for the 88 miler is to get as many miles in as you can. Some suggest that however many miles you ride in a week, is how much you can expect yourself to do in a day. As for when to start, your body will tell you. I start again after I don't feel the effects of the previous ride anymore, usually 2-3 days. Starting sooner makes me feel horrible, I have no energy left, and it makes me feel like not riding again for several days, which definitely doesn't help.
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Old 06-27-10, 08:38 PM   #3
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Let your body tell you when it's ready for training again. You'll know. Better waiting too long than not long enough. As far as mileage, I'd start with a 40-45 miler and see how that feels. Again, I think being conservative is smart, as doing too much can really set you back given your reaction to this last ride.

BTW, I don't think 2 bottles is enough for a 68 mile ride. Even though it wasn't hot and you didn't feel dehydrated you may have been and that could be contributing to the fatigue you feel.
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Old 06-27-10, 08:52 PM   #4
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I'm almost 62, and I've noticed some things over the past few years. First and foremost, your body doesn't recover as quickly as it used to. Second, you have good and bad days, but when you have a bad day, it's very, very difficult to get your energy levels up. So you could have had a bad day, simple as that.

Also, 2 bottles of water does not sound like enough, unless you did the whole ride under 2 hours. You may have been dehydrated. If you were averaging around 15 mph, I'd expect you to consume a good 4 bottles of water, i.e. 1 per hour. If you were only drinking 1/2 bottle per hour, you very likely bonked.
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Old 06-27-10, 08:57 PM   #5
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I'm building back up again from nothing and I rode a 100 km ride on Sunday. By the 80 km point I felt like I was getting close to being done. If the ride had ended there, I would have been quite happy. By 90 km, I was tired out, and the last 10 km were a tough haul. But I don't feel too bad today. I think the hot shower, and good-sized dinner yesterday evening helped. Riding regularly on my trainer, walking lots, and doing some weights over the past couple weeks probably helped too. I'm taking painkillers for the headache.

Today my plan is just to do my usual walk, and I might stretch and do a few weights this evening. Tomorrow, I'll be back on the trainer again, and on the weekend I hope to do a 70-80 km ride.

As for when you can begin endurance training again ... I'd suggest doing what I'm doing. Do your walk and maybe some stretching and light weights today, and get riding again tomorrow. Do shorter rides during the week, and longer rides on the weekend. Even 1-2 hour rides during the week can help make a longer ride more comfortable because they add to your fitness level. On Saturday or Sunday head out for at least a 40 mile ride ... then next weekend, try a bit more.
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Old 06-27-10, 09:08 PM   #6
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Thank you very much for your comments.

Regarding the water: You may be right that I didn't drink enough water --- I have been riding long enough to know better.

The more I think about it, I may have been having an "off" day overall. Firstly, I now recall feeling like stopping about a quarter way into the ride when the weather was still very cool, and I had plenty of fuel and water in me. With a headwind, I started riding 12, then 11, then barely 10 mph. Hubby encouraged me to put it into a higher gear so we could catch the rest of the group, but I felt unable to do that..... and this was only 1/4 of the way into the ride! Secondly, 2 weeks ago I had a bad head cold, my first in years, and took a whole week off from everything. My performance yesterday was very poor.

My legs are noticeably stronger while climbing, but my endurance has slipped due to fewer long rides.
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Old 06-27-10, 09:10 PM   #7
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Machka -- thanks, that sounds like a good plan. I think I may be doing something wrong in my routine and I need to find what it is.
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Old 06-28-10, 02:40 AM   #8
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BTW, I don't think 2 bottles is enough for a 68 mile ride. Even though it wasn't hot and you didn't feel dehydrated you may have been and that could be contributing to the fatigue you feel.
Absolutely agree with this. Everyone is different, and of course you don't tell us the size of the bottles, but but riding at any pace I get through 600 - 750ml per hour.
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Old 06-28-10, 09:07 AM   #9
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Absolutely agree with this. Everyone is different, and of course you don't tell us the size of the bottles, but but riding at any pace I get through 600 - 750ml per hour.
I use the 21oz. CamelBak bottles. I may have been short of water for a 68-mile ride, but that doesn't explain why I felt "off" after only 1/4-1/3 of the ride. My hip joints felt stiff, I felt pain in my left calf (there seemed to be some sort of impingement in the left groin from the saddle), and I just felt out of my game.
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Old 06-28-10, 10:59 AM   #10
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On long rides, the rule of thumb is to ride at least 70% of your target distance in a training ride before the event. For 88 miles that would be about 62 miles for a preperation ride. Another rule would be to be able to reel off a ride of half of your target distance pretty easily. For an 88 miler, that would be 44 miles. Another thing about endurance events is the more aerobic exercise you get on nearly a daily basis the better. It builds a base. It does not have to be a whole bunch either. I have a friend who started to do 30 - 45 minutes of fast walking on a steep incline in the mornings. His weekend cycling got a whole bunch easier.
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Old 06-28-10, 12:17 PM   #11
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On my tandem metric century yesterday, after a 3 week layoff, my legs felt weak going up a tiny incline about 100 yards from the start. We just kept riding. But years of endurance riding came through for us and we finished exhausted and crampy, but still going strong. I had to lay the bike down and step over the top tube to get off. But then we were pulling at 20-24 the last few miles. We drank about 3 bottles between us and ate about 700 calories each. We were a little dehydrated and hungry. Couldn't have kept the fueling that sparse for much longer, but were OK for that fairly short ride.

So yes, the deal is miles or hours depending on how you want to measure it. Starting tomorrow, put in some miles every day, except take a day off before your long weekend endurance ride. You might want to ride your bike instead of going to the gym, or ride your bike and go to the gym, even better. Be careful not to overdo it, and take a day off if you don't feel like getting on the bike again.

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Old 06-29-10, 10:53 AM   #12
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On long rides, the rule of thumb is to ride at least 70% of your target distance in a training ride before the event. For 88 miles that would be about 62 miles for a preperation ride. Another rule would be to be able to reel off a ride of half of your target distance pretty easily. For an 88 miler, that would be 44 miles. Another thing about endurance events is the more aerobic exercise you get on nearly a daily basis the better. It builds a base. It does not have to be a whole bunch either. I have a friend who started to do 30 - 45 minutes of fast walking on a steep incline in the mornings. His weekend cycling got a whole bunch easier.
Thank you; I'm going to consider my current base mileage to be somewhere between last weekend's ride (66+ miles), and the previous long ride a month earlier (40), and build from there. I will go on the group ride tomorrow morning --- an easy/moderate ride w/ some climbing, and work toward the 40-mile ride on Saturday to which I will add a few extra miles at the end.

I do treadmill intervals at home and the gym, including hill intervals. My focus this month in preparation for the big ride in Colorado will be endurance training. Thanks for the tips!
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Old 06-29-10, 10:56 AM   #13
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On my tandem metric century yesterday, after a 3 week layoff, my legs felt weak going up a tiny incline about 100 yards from the start. We just kept riding. But years of endurance riding came through for us and we finished exhausted and crampy, but still going strong. I had to lay the bike down and step over the top tube to get off. But then we were pulling at 20-24 the last few miles. We drank about 3 bottles between us and ate about 700 calories each. We were a little dehydrated and hungry. Couldn't have kept the fueling that sparse for much longer, but were OK for that fairly short ride.

So yes, the deal is miles or hours depending on how you want to measure it. Starting tomorrow, put in some miles every day, except take a day off before your long weekend endurance ride. You might want to ride your bike instead of going to the gym, or ride your bike and go to the gym, even better. Be careful not to overdo it, and take a day off if you don't feel like getting on the bike again.
Thanks for your reply. I still believe I ate enough calories --- 3 food bars (totaling at least 600), plus breakfast (1 crepe with sliced banana and Nutella, and a double latte). One of my water bottles had a little O.J. I know what I feel like when I'm low on fuel, and I didn't feel that way. Then again, maybe I did, and I just didn't recognize it.
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Old 06-29-10, 01:09 PM   #14
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skip to my answer: 1 day off

I felt like that Sunday. It was very hot and humid here. I did 30 miles in the morning and then 26 at the end of the day. I was tired mi-day after assembling a dresser for my daughter and then had some coffee and a snack. I started to feel motivated and had to get in a ride and so I took off. Wow, I was surprised how strong I felt and how fast I rode. It was a great little 26 miler. So 56 for the hot humid day. But when I got back I was tired I could barely breath and definitely couldn't even sleep. I think I was truly exhausted. Maybe it was heat exhaustion? The 2nd half of the 2nd ride wasn't even so hot. Anyway ... I took the following day off and am just commuting 26 miles today. An easy 13 miler in each direction. Tomorrow should be cooler and I should have no trouble with the 26 again. But I totally needed yesterday off to recover.
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Old 07-01-10, 10:51 AM   #15
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Thanks for your reply. I still believe I ate enough calories --- 3 food bars (totaling at least 600), plus breakfast (1 crepe with sliced banana and Nutella, and a double latte). One of my water bottles had a little O.J. I know what I feel like when I'm low on fuel, and I didn't feel that way. Then again, maybe I did, and I just didn't recognize it.
For dehydration, I use this metric: how long after the ride did I pee? For the ride I mentioned, it was 1.5 schooners of beer, a cup of coffee, and about 2 hours. So I was definitely dehydrated, but not enough to affect my power, or at least not noticeably.
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