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Extreme Fatigue After Riding

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Extreme Fatigue After Riding

Old 08-19-21, 12:08 PM
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jcsimko
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Extreme Fatigue After Riding

I am 53yrs old and have been riding my entire adult life. Up until this year I would typically ride 3-4 times a week and put in at least 100 miles during the week. At least one of the rides was some form of high intensity (e.g., competitive group, interval training). I get that your abilities decline as you get older, but this year I have started to experience extreme fatigue after every intense ride. The fatigue lasts 3-5 days after each ride. In addition, I have experienced headaches both during and after the rides. This has been going on now for 2-3 months. Early on I thought that I wasn't training enough, but I realized that wasn't the case. More riding resulted in more fatigue. Searching the internet I was unable to find anything that exactly matched my symptoms. I saw my doctor today and he is going to put me through a stress test and run some blood work. I wanted to know if anyone has experienced something like this or knows someone who has. I would really like to know what the root cause was. Thanks.
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Old 08-19-21, 12:17 PM
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I'm sorry to hear this. It sounds way beyond a lack of training or general fitness drop-off. I think the only one who can tell you the cause is your doctor so I'm glad you've made the appointment. Good luck.
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Old 08-19-21, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jcsimko View Post
...but this year I have started to experience extreme fatigue after every intense ride. The fatigue lasts 3-5 days after each ride. In addition, I have experienced headaches both during and after the rides.
It's likely you're Overreaching. Been there, done that. For me it sucked worse than the worst cold I've ever had.

And in general (YMMV) 53 is not old when it comes to cycling. When I'm (48 yrs old) at my fittest (FTP of ~230w), a 73 yr old in my group still beats me to the top of every hill, and he hardly breathes during and after the effort.

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Old 08-19-21, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I'm sorry to hear this. It sounds way beyond a lack of training or general fitness drop-off. I think the only one who can tell you the cause is your doctor so I'm glad you've made the appointment. Good luck.
I agree with this. The symptoms you are describing need a Doctor's attention.
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Old 08-19-21, 01:39 PM
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Not adequately hydrating during and after the ride will cause you to feel excessively tired too. It may not even be immediately after the ride and it might last for days before you feel fully yourself again.

You can check for that by weighing yourself before and after a ride. If you are losing a lot of weight via sweat, then simply drink more during the ride.
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Old 08-19-21, 01:47 PM
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Sleep apnea will do that to you. I can think of a bunch of things and age isn't one of them

Let your Doctor do his thing.
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Old 08-19-21, 02:19 PM
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Hard to put a finger on "extreme fatigue" ........ I get that you always "listen to your body" and now you think you have a problem because your "tiredness level" doesn't match expectations.

A good way of avoiding this kind of worry and or disappointment is to actively monitor your abilities with measuring devices.

A clock and an odometer is enough, a HR monitor can help as well. Things like a scale, and a BP monitor can also reveal variability in your day to day or week to week fitness and health.

I've been measuring my efforts with devices for 40 years. I established baselines and maximums for HR. I tracked and recorded weight and power output using devices that could repeat exact performance levels.

Without piecing together the true volume and intensity of your exercise performance and meshing that activity with other life stresses or personal habits - its really hard to say what's going on.

I guess a stress test is an idea, but an echo cardiogram and EKG is the more natural starting point. (along with blood test)

Hope you get to feeling better - but don't compound your problems by stressing about your fatigue.

..
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Old 08-19-21, 02:42 PM
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Sounds like COVID.
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Old 08-19-21, 02:57 PM
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Lyme disease??
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Old 08-19-21, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Not adequately hydrating during and after the ride will cause you to feel excessively tired too. It may not even be immediately after the ride and it might last for days before you feel fully yourself again.

You can check for that by weighing yourself before and after a ride. If you are losing a lot of weight via sweat, then simply drink more during the ride.
Could be low electrolytes too, and/or depleted magnesium. I'd ask the doc to make sure the labs include those (I say this based on personal experience).
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Old 08-20-21, 05:43 AM
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Sounds like a medical condition rather than anything age-related. We do need more recovery time as we get older, but it's not a sudden change and something you should hardly notice from year to year.
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Old 08-20-21, 05:58 AM
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Checking with your doctor and doing tests is the most important and the best approach. Hopefully, the tests will show clean bill of health or something easy to fix.

"I thought that I wasn't training enough, but I realized that wasn't the case. More riding resulted in more fatigue."
This might indicate the possibility of overtraining:

"Here are nine signs of overtraining to look out for:
  • Decreased performance. ...
  • Increased perceived effort during workouts. ...
  • Excessive fatigue. ...
  • Agitation and moodiness. ...
  • Insomnia or restless sleep. ...
  • Loss of appetite. ...
  • Chronic or nagging injuries. ...
  • Metabolic imbalances.
"
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Old 08-21-21, 05:34 PM
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jcsimco, at nearly the same age as you I encountered the exact same thing. Extreme fatigue after a ride, then within a year it became extreme fatigue during the ride and got to the point where 20 miles was more than I could do comfortably. The doctor reminded me that I am getting older and this can be expected. Not always the norm, but not unusual.
My health is fine, albeit I have slightly high blood pressure and control it will a very low dose of something I forget the name of. Been the same script for 15 years. Cycling keeps it in check for the most part.
Oddly enough at age 60 I figured out the problem. I am getting older. Been either racing, commuting, or touring since I was 15 years old so me and the doc know my conditioning is just fine. The issue is simply intensity. I can't ride like a 20 something anymore, and I should not be attempting to. My body knows what it needs and that is LSD. Long Slow Distance, thus that is what I do. I go any distance I want now without trouble as long as I ride at a pace my old bones are happy with. When pretend to be boy racer, I'm screwed.
Take it easy and enjoy the ride and the health benefits that go along with LSD.
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Old 08-21-21, 07:09 PM
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Yep, many possible causes, including but not limited to sleep apnea, low testosterone, statins, nutrition & hydration, and even training techniques. Covid was mentioned above, and I'm sure it was a joke; but I've been dealing with post-covid fatigue syndrome this year. Only in the last couple of weeks have I started to feel normal again, meaning that my strength is finally starting to come back and I can ride on successive days without bonking. Still not up to doing centuries for time, but it'll come...
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Old 08-21-21, 07:26 PM
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Leukemia, lymphoma, several types of solid organ tumors, cardiac disease. Bad diet, poor sleep habits, extreme stress and intense allergies. Nature, nurture… either way, something is causing it. No healthy person wakes up one random day and experiences a sharp decline in performance due to it simply being the next day. It’s a lot more gradual. Get your medical condition sorted out. Best of luck.
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Old 08-21-21, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Not adequately hydrating during and after the ride will cause you to feel excessively tired ...
Dehydration was my first thought too. One way to check is to weigh yourself before and after your ride. In hot weather, even though I drink during my ride, I can lose two pounds and sometimes as much as four pounds in a 20 mile ride. Water weighs eight pounds a gallon, so that's a net loss of a quart to half a gallon of water. I don't seem to be able to drink enough as I ride to make up for the water I'm sweating out. That weight loss tells me I need to be drinking a lot after my ride to rehydrate. I've felt that fatigue too, but it wasn't rest I needed, but water.
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Old 08-22-21, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
Dehydration was my first thought too. One way to check is to weigh yourself before and after your ride. In hot weather, even though I drink during my ride, I can lose two pounds and sometimes as much as four pounds in a 20 mile ride. Water weighs eight pounds a gallon, so that's a net loss of a quart to half a gallon of water. I don't seem to be able to drink enough as I ride to make up for the water I'm sweating out. That weight loss tells me I need to be drinking a lot after my ride to rehydrate. I've felt that fatigue too, but it wasn't rest I needed, but water.
The guy said he has been riding his entire adult life, typically 3-4 times, averaging at least 100 miles per week. So unless he has suddenly decided not to drink, I wouldn't have thought it would be anything this basic.
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Old 08-22-21, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
jcsimco, at nearly the same age as you I encountered the exact same thing. Extreme fatigue after a ride, then within a year it became extreme fatigue during the ride and got to the point where 20 miles was more than I could do comfortably. The doctor reminded me that I am getting older and this can be expected. Not always the norm, but not unusual.
My health is fine, albeit I have slightly high blood pressure and control it will a very low dose of something I forget the name of. Been the same script for 15 years. Cycling keeps it in check for the most part.
Oddly enough at age 60 I figured out the problem. I am getting older. Been either racing, commuting, or touring since I was 15 years old so me and the doc know my conditioning is just fine. The issue is simply intensity. I can't ride like a 20 something anymore, and I should not be attempting to. My body knows what it needs and that is LSD. Long Slow Distance, thus that is what I do. I go any distance I want now without trouble as long as I ride at a pace my old bones are happy with. When pretend to be boy racer, I'm screwed.
Take it easy and enjoy the ride and the health benefits that go along with LSD.
He's only 53, same age as me. You can definitely over-train, but blaming "extreme fatigue" on age is pretty lame, especially if it happened suddenly.
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Old 08-22-21, 06:26 AM
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Riding 3 or 4 time per week for a total of 100 miles with only one hard ride is not the problem nor is age. I am quite a bit older and ride much more than that and do not have extreme fatigue nor do others my age.

I have had a couple of incidents like what the OP describes. I think I had Covid in the Spring of 2020 and what he describes matches what I felt, it kicked my butt for months. Really weak and no recovery.

I once went to my Doc and explained that I kept having coughing fits on my bike and my power had declined significantly, FTP from 285 to 220 watts with no change in training. He brushed me off saying the power meter is probably miscalibrated. I told him my coach told me to see an MD. I explained I have three power meters and I confirmed my lousy performance with a stopwatch on hills that I have climbed for decades. That I was a EE with decades of measurement expertise did not persuade him. He looked at me and said, "You are the healthiest person in my practice, get out of here". Eventually, I was waking in the middle of the night with breathing labored and had to sit up to breath. It took 14 months for asthma to be diagnosed. When my asthma is not under control, my power and recovery are both poor. I doubt this is what the OP has but it is a possibility.

If I was OP, I would go to as many different specialists as possible. Age is NOT the issue. Something medical is going on.
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Old 08-22-21, 08:11 AM
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Over exertion will do it all by itself and is not always easy to recognize. So is a lack of sleep.

I ended up being hospitalized twice for over exertion and the last time was serious with a diagnosis of Rhabdomyolysis with kidney failure. . With an honest self evaluation I came to the conclusion that I get so self absorbed that I could not guarantee that it would not happen again. Bottom line was I needed a seriously strong shift in direction. Not what I wanted at all and was unwilling to give up on what I considered fun. My answer was an e bike that allowed me to could carry more stuff for good support and still keep my heart rate under stupid.
That change opened up new exciting horizons like Fat Bikes and Dirt Touring and more away from technical single track. I could not be happier and have not been hospitalized since.
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Old 08-22-21, 11:54 AM
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I think OP needs to take a break from his bike for a week or two.
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Old 08-22-21, 04:27 PM
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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your replies. I wanted to post an update.
  • While not a great sleeper, I do take my sleep seriously and have a good consistent sleep routine.
  • I make sure that I am properly hydrated and have adequate energy sources any time I exercise.
  • I have also been getting headaches and feeling of exhausted when I lift weights
  • I have not ridden my bike since 8/12 and have not lifted since 8/17 the headache and exhaustion have diminished some, but still persist.
  • My test results for ECG, Chest X-Rays, Thyroid, Folate, B12, Metabolic Panel all came back normal.
  • I will post again after the stress test and next doctor's visit
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Old 08-22-21, 05:18 PM
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I'm just the opposite. I feel better after a ride (my work commute is 25mi r/t), and I ride at ~19-20mph riding speed, even though I'm a 'senior citizen' at 63+. I found that I feel better after a vigorous ride 45+ years ago when I was in college! I feel that it helps burn the toxins out of my system! Oh, and it is not simply a 'runner's high' since the overall good feeling 'high' lasts for a day or two afterwards.
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Old 08-23-21, 05:16 PM
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Jcsimko, I went through the entire battery of tests. Everything under the sun was tested, everything came back normal. The only thing that worked was to slow it down, and ride at a level commensurate with my body. Everyone's experience is unique, and there is no universal diagnosis. My solution may not be your solution, however I am very happy with the way things are going, and I am enjoying the ride more now than ever before.
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Old 08-23-21, 08:25 PM
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You should generally be able to keep up the pace at 53, but lots of things can get out of whack as you age that will throw wrench in that plan.

When I was your age (just about 53) I noticed I was getting chronically tired. For about a year I assumed it was just "old age". But a friend of mine was recently diagnosed as celiac and I compared symptoms and I had many of the same things. So I went on a gluten-free diet and the fatigue .. stopped!

I doubt celiac disease is what your problem is, but there are many conditions that can take a big bite out of your energy. And they can be very hard to figure out. I never, ever would have solved my problem if I had relied on my doctor (who completely pooh-poohed the idea). More recently I had some back problems and this also led to fatigue (tingling+numbness+fatigue). That one at least had a clear symptom and PT pretty much solved it. By then I had ditched my previous doc, and the new doc was really on top of it.

Many other good suggestions to check out are mentioned above. I personally know people with lyme and low testosterone who also hit a fatigue wall. Look into all the ideas mentioned above, research more online, make a list of potential ones to consider and take them to your doc. Don't forgot that you are your best advocate .. don't just sit and wait for your doc to solve your problem, it might never happen.

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