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  1. #1
    BlueTrekker
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    Am I overtraining?

    I have been riding with frequency that does not reflect my online handle, on the road 3-4 days a week doing 25-40 mile rides each time. These rides are usually quite fast, at around 20+ mph with a group (or 17-18 mph solo), with faster bursts. I guess I could say that I'm doing 80-100 miles a week.

    Which doesn't sound like much to most of you, I'm sure. But lately, my legs have been feeling heavy and my last ride felt "flat", without a ton of energy. I'm not that tired, but there doesn't seem to be enough spring or bounce in my legs. I was supposed to ride this morning, but I didn't go because I didn't feel like it.

    Is this a sign of overtraining? I wonder because I really don't ride THAT much, but when I ride, I ride intense.

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    You're not riding enough to fall into the classic definition of overtraining but you may have increased your workload too quickly. In that case taking an extra day off now and then like you did is fine.

    In any case, you might add some additional easier rides and some longer endurance rides instead of doing every ride at high intensity.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Yes. Sounds like a classic case of being a little overtrained, or quite simply, you're doing a little more than your body is able to recover from adequately. Just back it down a little and everything will be hunky-dory. At the same time, you might be undereating or under-resting.

    Best advice is "ride when you want to, not when you think you should". Your body will tell you when you're doing too much.
    Last edited by Thulsadoom; 02-25-12 at 11:45 AM.

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Being a little overtrained is called overreaching. Overtrained takes months to get into and months to get out of.

    Greg's advice is good. Don't do the same thing every ride, and rest when you're tired. That last one is hard for many people.

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    Senior Member travelerman's Avatar
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    Still a relative newb, but I have felt better when I do a few days of higher-instensity/low miles (12-15 miles) and a couple of longer rides (30+) on my days' off.

    But then, this comes from a fellow who is seeing an orthopedic specialist in a couple of days to determine if chondromalacia has also produced a Baker's cyst (lump behind my knee), so you might take my training advice with grain of salt.

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    A long ride would be an endurance day. A day off is a day off the bike, or a recovery ride. That's slow and short, just to turn the legs around.

    Good luck with the orthopedist!

  7. #7
    Senior Member travelerman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    A long ride would be an endurance day. A day off is a day off the bike, or a recovery ride. That's slow and short, just to turn the legs around.

    Good luck with the orthopedist!
    By "days' off", I was referring to days off of work - some of us 99% have to do that :-(

  8. #8
    Senior Member rmr1923's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkndwarrior View Post
    I have been riding with frequency that does not reflect my online handle, on the road 3-4 days a week doing 25-40 mile rides each time. These rides are usually quite fast, at around 20+ mph with a group (or 17-18 mph solo), with faster bursts. I guess I could say that I'm doing 80-100 miles a week.

    Which doesn't sound like much to most of you, I'm sure. But lately, my legs have been feeling heavy and my last ride felt "flat", without a ton of energy. I'm not that tired, but there doesn't seem to be enough spring or bounce in my legs. I was supposed to ride this morning, but I didn't go because I didn't feel like it.

    Is this a sign of overtraining? I wonder because I really don't ride THAT much, but when I ride, I ride intense.

    i was just thinking about posting a similar topic, i'm experiencing the same "problem" as you, although my weekday rides aren't as long (usually 20-25 miles, sometimes 15-ish but at high intensity).

    i took some time off the bike over the winter and started back up again mid-January, i'll have a string of "good" days, take some rest, and then the next week or so my legs just feel dead. something i wasn't doing, at first, was watching my diet closely. i'd just eat whatever the hell i wanted to and just figured i'd ride off the calories. i have about 10-15 pounds to lose, so when i noticed i wasn't losing ANY weight over the past month, i decided last week to start cutting back on the eating and that's when i started to get the "dead legs" feeling. i'm trying to find a good balance of fat/carbs/protein, but when looking back on the calorie-counting app that i'm tracking my diet with, i've dropped my daily carb intake significantly (down to about 20-25% of my total daily calories were from carbs). i tried to increase this lately, to anywhere from 40-50% of my daily intake, and my legs feel like brand new... although i still get the occasional day where they just don't feel right. my work schedule this week will more or less force me off the bike until a week from monday, so i'm hoping a week of rest will do me some good.

    are you tracking your daily calorie intake? if so, have you played around with your fat/carb/protein percentages to see if that has an affect on the way your legs feel? i'm still trying to find that sweet spot for my body, i want to have enough energy for my rides, but don't want to take in too many calories and/or carbs that i'm not losing weight as well.

    where in the Houston area do you ride?

  9. #9
    BlueTrekker
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    Thanks guys. I think "overreaching" was the right term to describe my training and how I felt afterward. I haven't been riding enough volume for long enough to get a full blown case of overtraining. But I think I did overreach this past week.

    Man, I'm glad I skipped yesterday's ride. Because today, I went on a hilly 45 miler with my group, and I was dropping almost everybody on the hills (save for the cat 4/5 racers in the group). In fact, I was looking back and finding nobody behind me until they came up the crest of the hill. Wondered if either they were taking it easy, or my legs found more power than it has ever before. First time I didn't ever shift own to the granny gear on those hills, either. Group remarked on my hill climbing and asked me what the heck was going on, LOL.

    I'll make sure to recover for a few days from TODAY's ride, too!

    rmr1923, I ride with a group from the Planetary Bike shop and Bike Barn and we do circuits around the Houston area, often going through the Discovery Green and stopping there for water. And you?

  10. #10
    Senior Member rmr1923's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkndwarrior View Post
    rmr1923, I ride with a group from the Planetary Bike shop and Bike Barn and we do circuits around the Houston area, often going through the Discovery Green and stopping there for water. And you?
    i've been doing mostly solo rides, occasionally my wife will go out with me, sometimes we'll group up with some friends that ride, but i haven't done but a couple group rides (mostly on the west side of town). i live about a mile from Terry Hershey Park so i do most of my riding there and at George Bush Park. i'm only in my 2nd "season" of riding and find myself wanting to make it more than just an occasional hobby, which is what it was at first. i'm not so sure about racing yet, thought about either later this year (depending on what condition i'm in) or next year trying some short crits to see if i like it.

    i've seen flyers at Bike Barn advertising their monthly rides, sounds like they go out of town and find some more scenic routes than you tend to find in the city. we're moving to Kingwood this summer and i've already found a couple cycling clubs up in that area that do weekly group rides, one of them with the occasional police escort.

  11. #11
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    As for overtraining, just questioning it is enough for you to back off.

    Quote Originally Posted by rmr1923 View Post
    i was just thinking about posting a similar topic, i'm experiencing the same "problem" as you, although my weekday rides aren't as long (usually 20-25 miles, sometimes 15-ish but at high intensity).

    i took some time off the bike over the winter and started back up again mid-January, i'll have a string of "good" days, take some rest, and then the next week or so my legs just feel dead. something i wasn't doing, at first, was watching my diet closely. i'd just eat whatever the hell i wanted to and just figured i'd ride off the calories. i have about 10-15 pounds to lose, so when i noticed i wasn't losing ANY weight over the past month, i decided last week to start cutting back on the eating and that's when i started to get the "dead legs" feeling. i'm trying to find a good balance of fat/carbs/protein, but when looking back on the calorie-counting app that i'm tracking my diet with, i've dropped my daily carb intake significantly (down to about 20-25% of my total daily calories were from carbs). i tried to increase this lately, to anywhere from 40-50% of my daily intake, and my legs feel like brand new... although i still get the occasional day where they just don't feel right. my work schedule this week will more or less force me off the bike until a week from monday, so i'm hoping a week of rest will do me some good.

    are you tracking your daily calorie intake? if so, have you played around with your fat/carb/protein percentages to see if that has an affect on the way your legs feel? i'm still trying to find that sweet spot for my body, i want to have enough energy for my rides, but don't want to take in too many calories and/or carbs that i'm not losing weight as well.

    where in the Houston area do you ride?
    High intensity which you say you do and anaerobic work burns more glycogen which you get from carbs. You were out of fuel or "bonking" so the speak. As you get fitter, you use carbs more efficiently and can store more.

    Quote Originally Posted by wkndwarrior View Post
    Thanks guys. I think "overreaching" was the right term to describe my training and how I felt afterward. I haven't been riding enough volume for long enough to get a full blown case of overtraining. But I think I did overreach this past week.

    Man, I'm glad I skipped yesterday's ride. Because today, I went on a hilly 45 miler with my group, and I was dropping almost everybody on the hills (save for the cat 4/5 racers in the group). In fact, I was looking back and finding nobody behind me until they came up the crest of the hill. Wondered if either they were taking it easy, or my legs found more power than it has ever before. First time I didn't ever shift own to the granny gear on those hills, either. Group remarked on my hill climbing and asked me what the heck was going on, LOL.

    I'll make sure to recover for a few days from TODAY's ride, too!

    rmr1923, I ride with a group from the Planetary Bike shop and Bike Barn and we do circuits around the Houston area, often going through the Discovery Green and stopping there for water. And you?
    For that hill could've just been physiological or you've become more efficient in pedaling or climbing allowing a higher gear.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkndwarrior View Post
    Man, I'm glad I skipped yesterday's ride. Because today, I went on a hilly 45 miler with my group, and I was dropping almost everybody on the hills (save for the cat 4/5 racers in the group). In fact, I was looking back and finding nobody behind me until they came up the crest of the hill. Wondered if either they were taking it easy, or my legs found more power than it has ever before. First time I didn't ever shift own to the granny gear on those hills, either. Group remarked on my hill climbing and asked me what the heck was going on, LOL.
    Last November I tried to put some structure around my riding, as well keep a training diary. For riding 14-15 hours a week with two rest days, I found I needed a solid 8 hours of sleep per night. Prior to November, I was probably riding 6 hours a week at the most, and sleeping 6 hours a night.

    This last week the kids were home all week and I pushed most of my riding into the late evening on the trainer, after they went to bed. I was going to bed much later than normal, and getting 6-7 hours of sleep max. By the second day of the week, I was completely wiped out and had no desire to go near the bike (which I haven't had the feeling of since jumping into 15 hours a week). Swapped around a rest day, got at least 8 hours of sleep, and felt 110% the next day.

  13. #13
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    I haven't been around these forums a whole lot, but when you train expect to feel flat every once in a while however if its for a couple days in a row, then you might not be recovering. A wise man once said "there is no such thing as overtraining, just under recovering." If you are training for a specific purpose remember to make your hard days hard and your easy days easy. Many people either ignore this or neglect its importance.

  14. #14
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    Generally it takes 48 hours to recover from a hard effort. That's a long day, a hard day such as sprints or intervals, or a couple back-to-back medium days. You need recovery in between. That can be a day off or an easy day of spinning (30 minutes or so).

    There's no magic time to develop true over training. So be aware of the classic symptoms - chronic fatigue, lack of desire to train, can't sleep soundly, anxiety, morning herat rate higher than normal, frequent colds, etc. It's important to back off as soon as these start to appear.

    I've developed over training several times over the years running, mostlt from very high miles and too much concentrated speed work. I've recovered in a couple or three weeks when I recognized falling into the trap early. I've also pushed myself past the warning signs and it took three months and more to get back to normal.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  15. #15
    Senior Member rmr1923's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tavish View Post
    I haven't been around these forums a whole lot, but when you train expect to feel flat every once in a while however if its for a couple days in a row, then you might not be recovering. A wise man once said "there is no such thing as overtraining, just under recovering." If you are training for a specific purpose remember to make your hard days hard and your easy days easy. Many people either ignore this or neglect its importance.
    that's something i had trouble with last year (making my "easy days" easy). i'd go out with the intention of just riding 10, 15, maybe 20 miles at a light pace, then i'd get around other cyclists and my competitive nature kicks in and i push it too much without really realizing i was doing it. didn't take long for me to develop IT band syndrome and that wasn't pleasant at all. i've since learned my lesson, in fact sometimes i'll take an entire week off the bike and on days that i'm inclined to work out, i'll do some upper body exercises at the gym at work.

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    . i'm trying to find a good balance of fat/carbs/protein, but when looking back on the calorie-counting app that i'm tracking my diet with, i've dropped my daily carb intake significantly (down to about 20-25% of my total daily calories were from carbs). i tried to increase this lately, to anywhere from 40-50% of my daily intake, and my legs feel like brand new... although i still get the occasional day where they just don't feel right.
    The scientific consensus is that ideally you need 7-10 g/kg/day of carbs if you are engaged in intense training. Go lower than 5 and your endurance performance will suffer.

  17. #17
    Senior Member rmr1923's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eugenek View Post
    The scientific consensus is that ideally you need 7-10 g/kg/day of carbs if you are engaged in intense training. Go lower than 5 and your endurance performance will suffer.
    thanks for the info, and that sounds about right when comparing my better rides with my diet journal. in my riding journal i make a short note about the "quality" of my ride.. like if i ran out of energy at some point and little bits of info like that. on the days that i had my better rides, i consumed about 400-450g of carbs (my body weight is ~80kg), and on the "bad" days only about 200g so i can already see a direct relation there. that's still just about 5-5.5 g/kg of carbs but i don't ride for extended periods of time (rarely more than 2 hours) and i'm not a racer or anything like that, i just do it for recreation and fitness.

  18. #18
    Newbie HuskerJef's Avatar
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    Lots of trainers will say to take every 4th week easy, and never ride hard 2 days in a row. As an older guy, I take it easy every 3rd week.

    Of course, if you are a really fast, competitive rider built unlike most humans, you can do more than most of us.

    Remember that rest is integral to getting stronger. Without rest days or rest weeks, you cannot get stronger but you can wear yourself out.

  19. #19
    BlueTrekker
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskerJef View Post
    Of course, if you are a really fast, competitive rider built unlike most humans, you can do more than most of us.
    I'm not that fast, although some guys in my group are... they're so fast and powerful it boggles my mind, and I have to hang on for dear life if I don't want to get dropped. So, no, I don't do it 2 days in a row, and I've been taking every 4th week off - partly by choice, partly by bad weather and scheduling conflicts. So I guess it's been working out okay so far

  20. #20
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  21. #21
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    I overreached last week. I put in 170 miles and by the final ride (40 miles) I was toast. It's now been 48 hrs since that ride and I feel better but, I need another 3 days of chill riding. I did a sweet, slow 10 mile ride Sunday and today I commuted 8 miles. I did cancel my tennis class tonight -too sore. I'm overweight and unprepared. Thanks for posting your question -got some great info from this thread.
    I love to commute and ride. Keeping a positive focus.

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