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If I feel like I want to die after the interval, did I do it right?

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If I feel like I want to die after the interval, did I do it right?

Old 12-08-10, 06:52 PM
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If I feel like I want to die after the interval, did I do it right?

These days I'm trying to get out to ride a day or two a week, but that's only on the weekends and weather permitting. So most weekdays I go to the gym and ride stationary bicycles (upright, bent, and sometimes spin cycles) or (on easy days) elliptical devices.

Because I can't stand the boredom and weekday time is limited, I only "ride" for 50 minutes and to make the most of that time, I do a lot of intervals. 1, 2, or 3 minute intervals, depending on day/device/mood/etc.

Very commonly, after a few intervals, I have this terrible feeling of malaise just after I finish an interval. It lasts about 10 interminably long seconds where I have this unbelievable feeling that my HR is too high and that I have to get it down. I don't quite feel like I'm going to pass out, but I instinctively raise my arms above my head and pant my lungs out, with a terrible feeling that I'm just not getting enough oxygen. I try to make sure that I breathe as effectively as I can through this transition, but no matter how I breathe, this begins to happen after, say the second or third interval (In a typical workout I'll do 4-6, depending on the duration and intensity).

Interestingly, this happens at heart rates near my MHR, but there are other times when I can sustain the same HR without this feeling. Also, it does not happen during the interval, no matter how hard I am pushing, but in the few seconds after the interval, when my effort is diminishing - my HR goes up 2 or 3 BPM after the interval is over and I feel like sh*t for a few seconds.

This has happened many times, so I tell myself that my heart is up to it and it's the price for an HTFU interval workout, but is that true?

So, is it

(a) I'm doing it right - I'm getting the most out of my workout?

or

(b) I'm pushing too hard and either harming myself or risking harming myself?

???
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Old 12-08-10, 07:29 PM
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If there is any possibility that the answer is (b), then you might want to discuss this with a healthcare provider. You may indeed be fit as a fiddle but if you have the feeling that you might die, then you might benefit from being assured that that is quite unlikely.

Curious to see if others chime in to say "Hey! I always feel just like that after a hard workout!"
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Old 12-08-10, 08:22 PM
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What are your goals for your workout? Are you training to race, or doing this for fitness and the "joy" of it. How long have you been cycling? Do you have a preworkout snack?

You might be overtraining, or working too hard for your fitness level. Intervals are hard, but they shouldn't hurt you and make you feel like sh$#.

Do you get a preworkout snack of a mix of carbs and protein? If you don't get a preworkout snack about 30 minutes before your workout, you might be depleting your body of the glycogen needed to energize your muscles and your blood sugar level might drop dangerously low.

You might also want to try lowering your interval times to 30seconds hard/90seconds active rest and see if you can do that. If that feels better, work from there up to the time that you want. A 1:3 ratio seems to work for me when I do them.

I agree with Jan that talking with your doc would be a good idea. Figure out more specifically how "sh*t" feels: are you dragging? nauseous? in pain? can't move? That would help your doc to narrow it down.

There are times that I feel exhausted doing the same type of workout, but when I feel like c@#p I know that I've overdone it. It's usually that the resistance is too high, or I pushed too hard. I'm not quite up to the level that you are working at, but it's the same sort of thing, just a different level.
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Old 12-08-10, 08:24 PM
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Stress ECHO. At least that's what my cardiologist told me.
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Old 12-08-10, 08:41 PM
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How do you know your max HR?
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Old 12-08-10, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWNC
How do you know your max HR?
175 is the highest I've seen - and I've been up in that neck of the woods quite a bit. Maybe my MHR is a little higher than that, but it couldn't be by much. The post-interval phenom I've described comes when at the end of the interval my HR is north of maybe 168 - and then it goes up a couple after I ease off. But other times I can sustain 172 or so for a few 10s of seconds and then ease off without the malaise I've described.
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Old 12-08-10, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by eddubal
What are your goals for your workout? Are you training to race, or doing this for fitness and the "joy" of it. How long have you been cycling? Do you have a preworkout snack?

You might be overtraining, or working too hard for your fitness level. Intervals are hard, but they shouldn't hurt you and make you feel like sh$#.

Do you get a preworkout snack of a mix of carbs and protein? If you don't get a preworkout snack about 30 minutes before your workout, you might be depleting your body of the glycogen needed to energize your muscles and your blood sugar level might drop dangerously low.

You might also want to try lowering your interval times to 30seconds hard/90seconds active rest and see if you can do that. If that feels better, work from there up to the time that you want. A 1:3 ratio seems to work for me when I do them.

I agree with Jan that talking with your doc would be a good idea. Figure out more specifically how "sh*t" feels: are you dragging? nauseous? in pain? can't move? That would help your doc to narrow it down.

There are times that I feel exhausted doing the same type of workout, but when I feel like c@#p I know that I've overdone it. It's usually that the resistance is too high, or I pushed too hard. I'm not quite up to the level that you are working at, but it's the same sort of thing, just a different level.
Thanks for the inupt. I've been riding for two years. In the winter I'm trying to maintain my fitness so that in the spring I can keep up with the faster riders in my club. I have no interest in racing, but I love feeling fast and strong on the bike.

I don't think it's an issue of depleting my body - the problem isn't muscle fatigue, it's blood flow and it lasts a very short time. Maybe I am overtraining or maybe that bad feeling indicates that there's something subtle wrong and I need some medical advice.

I guess, like JanMM, I'm wondering if others experience this when they push themselves.

As to describing the phenom, it's not nausea or dizziness or pain - it's just a strongly unpleasant feeling that I really need to get my HR down. After about 10 seconds, it goes down and spend a couple of minutes pedaling against low resistance and regaining my wind. Then the next interval comes and the process repeats - or, if the last event really felt awful, I ease off and my HR doesn't go quite as high the next time and I avoid the problem in the following intervals.
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Old 12-08-10, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan
175 is the highest I've seen - and I've been up in that neck of the woods quite a bit. Maybe my MHR is a little higher than that, but it couldn't be by much. The post-interval phenom I've described comes when at the end of the interval my HR is north of maybe 168 - and then it goes up a couple after I ease off. But other times I can sustain 172 or so for a few 10s of seconds and then ease off without the malaise I've described.
I would do as others suggest and talk to your doctor about this issue. Go through the tests, it will ease your mind or save your life (you just never know).
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Old 12-08-10, 09:30 PM
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I'm not a doctor and I wont give a medical perspective. I'll base my reply to your question assuming that you are doing HIT's (high intensity intervals). I am a former track and field athlete and high school track coach as well as an aspiring bicycle racer in training.

You do not describe the actual intervals you are doing but it reads like most are Z5B and Z5C. Most of the time when I do a Z5B orZ5 C interval my heart rate doesn't peak until after the interval due in part to the HR lags behind effort. My heart doesn't increase it's beat rate in anticipation of the next interval, it reacts to the stress imposed by the muscle demand.

A 50 minute workout is a very short amount of time to do Z5 work. It should take a good 20 to 30 minutes working up through Z2 and Z3 then a couple more minutes in Z4 before doing any Z5 efforts. If you are not properly warmed up your body may not function efficiently when asked to do a HIT. That could explain why some times you have the reaction after the interval and other times you may be warmed up to an extent and don't have the reaction.

What you describe is what I expect after completing short steep hill intervals or 500 meter sprints which are all out efforts. Sometimes at the conclusion of the interval, for a few seconds, I feel like I could throw up and even piss myself. Keep in mind, the harder the effort the longer the recovery before the next interval. Are you giving yourself enough recovery between intervals? On extremely hard efforts the recovery could be 6 to 10 minutes between reps. When I have to ride 2:00-2:10 mile intervals the recovery is 10 minutes between intervals and 15 minutes between sets. On Z5 intervals lasting longer than a few minutes I will work up thru Z3 and Z4 reaching Z5 at the end. The effort would be at the Z5 effort but due to the HR lagging it could take 2+ minutes to get to upper Z4 and finish the interval in Z5. Those efforts don't end with the feeling you describe since they are more controlled.
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Old 12-08-10, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWNC
How do you know your max HR?
Your max heart rate (MHR) can be calculated with the following formula:

MHR=220-Age for men
MHR=206-Age for women

At age 50 (since this is the 50+ forum) your MHR would be 170. It continuously drops throughout your life. There are other formulas depending on the researcher, but the above is the standard one. If you are above 50 and hitting heart rates above this, you are definitely working too hard. You should be working in the range of 60-90% MHR. Some books even max out at 80% unless you are in high level training. Above this level is unhealthy. Gasping for air/feeling winded (like you mentioned), panting, light-headed feelings and dizziness are signs of overworking your body.

Also check your heart rate monitor, or monitor your heart rate more accurately if you aren't using one. It might be giving you a bad reading. Be careful about using the monitor on the stationary bike. They are notoriously inaccurate.

Be careful. You'd look great in the coffin if you keep this up, but I don't think it's somewhere you want to go quite yet. Again, talk with your doctor to confirm this and your general heart condition.
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Old 12-08-10, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet
I'm not a doctor and I wont give a medical perspective. I'll base my reply to your question assuming that you are doing HIT's (high intensity intervals). I am a former track and field athlete and high school track coach as well as an aspiring bicycle racer in training.

You do not describe the actual intervals you are doing but it reads like most are Z5B and Z5C. Most of the time when I do a Z5B orZ5 C interval my heart rate doesn't peak until after the interval due in part to the HR lags behind effort. My heart doesn't increase it's beat rate in anticipation of the next interval, it reacts to the stress imposed by the muscle demand.

A 50 minute workout is a very short amount of time to do Z5 work. It should take a good 20 to 30 minutes working up through Z2 and Z3 then a couple more minutes in Z4 before doing any Z5 efforts. If you are not properly warmed up your body may not function efficiently when asked to do a HIT. That could explain why some times you have the reaction after the interval and other times you may be warmed up to an extent and don't have the reaction.

What you describe is what I expect after completing short steep hill intervals or 500 meter sprints which are all out efforts. Sometimes at the conclusion of the interval, for a few seconds, I feel like I could throw up and even piss myself. Keep in mind, the harder the effort the longer the recovery before the next interval. Are you giving yourself enough recovery between intervals? On extremely hard efforts the recovery could be 6 to 10 minutes between reps. When I have to ride 2:00-2:10 mile intervals the recovery is 10 minutes between intervals and 15 minutes between sets. On Z5 intervals lasting longer than a few minutes I will work up thru Z3 and Z4 reaching Z5 at the end. The effort would be at the Z5 effort but due to the HR lagging it could take 2+ minutes to get to upper Z4 and finish the interval in Z5. Those efforts don't end with the feeling you describe since they are more controlled.
+1. Was going to say sounds like you have not warmed up enough. Jet put it so much better. I would guess if you worked up toabout z4 on your short 50 minute ride would be about right to yield long term rewards over time. Build the base would be the idea.
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Old 12-08-10, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by eddubal
Your max heart rate (MHR) can be calculated with the following formula:

MHR=220-Age for men
MHR=206-Age for women

.
Oh man, not this again.

Please do a forum search on MHR. The 220-age is an approximation for the general public and has no application to a specific individual. Each MHR must be calculated individually, and to apply this formula on a training basis to one individual is essentially malpractice. It can range + or - 20 or more beats per minute.
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Old 12-08-10, 11:13 PM
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At age 60 (18 years ago) the local university paid me to do stress test.
Heart rate maxed out at 183 on treadmill.
!0 minutes later, laying down with all sorts of sensors, rate dropped to 52.
Lowest heart rate I'm aware of was 5 years ago when I found out I had cancer: 48.
Guess I did not get that excited over that news!
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Old 12-09-10, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Oh man, not this again.

Please do a forum search on MHR. The 220-age is an approximation for the general public and has no application to a specific individual. Each MHR must be calculated individually, and to apply this formula on a training basis to one individual is essentially malpractice. It can range + or - 20 or more beats per minute.
Thanhs. Good to know. It still doesn't change my feeling that OP is overworking his body.
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Old 12-09-10, 07:36 AM
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I'd follow Weak Link's advice.
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Old 12-09-10, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by eddubal
Thanhs. Good to know. It still doesn't change my feeling that OP is overworking his body.
Sports science has advanced our understanding of heart rates, training, and what is or isn't appropriate. Age is much less of a factor than previously thought, and much of the old thinking was needlessly self-limiting. People routinely take their heart rates in the upper ranges; it just needs to be done as part of a well designed training problem, after ensuring there are no health issues that would cause a limit. Cycling would provide far less to me than it does, if I limited myself in the way you described.

AJ covered it very well.
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Old 12-09-10, 08:16 AM
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Thanks as always for the insight, AJ.

The intervals are kind of a ladder, ending with a simulated hill climb. There are 2 minutes easy spin between each intreval. The first is itself fairly easy ~105-110 RPM Z4, the second is more challenging 100-105 RPM and low Z5. The first minute of the third is like the first, though at lower RPM and the second minute is at a high resistance against which I can only manage about 80 RPM. It feels like climbing a steep grade and I go as hard as I can muster, imagining that I'm with a group that is in the process of dropping me. So there are 12 minutes between each really challenging effort and it's in maybe the 3rd block that I begin to feel terrible after the "hill".

So maybe I'm trying to do too much in a short workout. I"m a little disturbed that nobody else on this board reports a similar experiences, so I guess I should talk to my doc.

Thanks everybody, for your advice.
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Old 12-09-10, 09:01 AM
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Hopefully the doctor will give you the OK to carry on and not commit you for being selfdestructive.

Based on your description of the intervals I don't think you are getting enough recovery between intervals. On your third interval why not reverse the order and use the "overgear” for the first half then finish with the higher rpms? At the end of last night's trainer class we did our only sprint set like this:

Bike in a big gear 53x12 to 15 @ 70 rpms for 30 seconds then up 4 gears for 30 seconds at whatever rpms you could muster (100+), followed with 1.5 minute easy spin in the little ring X 4 reps. We did 1 set and on the last interval of the set I envisioned finishing a race and carried 115 rpm the last 30 seconds, and at the end had the same feelings you describe.

Lastly, winter training sessions are a good time to work on pedal form and technique. You could be doing isolated leg drills and high cadence ladders as a warm up to your harder work. One of the ILD's we did yesterday was using a 39X13-15 pedaling with one leg @ 70 rpm for 1.5 minutes then clipping back in and riding @ 90-100 rpm's for 30 seconds then pedaling with the other leg for 1.5 minutes @ 70 rpm. We did 3 complete rotations in the set. We also did a high cadence ladder that had us start the first minute at 110 rpm, 1 min @ 120 rpm, 1 min@ 125, 3 min @ 130rpm, then back down the ladder to 110 rpm. As the indoor training season goes on the top end of the ladder will increase to 165 rpm for those who race and at lower rpm’s for the different skill groups. The lower skill group’s and new riders, to the sessions, have lower starting cadences on the spinup ladder drills and top out at lower numbers. Those drills work on form to make the pedal stroke efficient and to improve the neuromuscular connections.

You could incorporate some drills like those into your workout to serve as a warm up.

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Old 12-09-10, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by AzTallRider
Sports science has advanced our understanding of heart rates, training, and what is or isn't appropriate. Age is much less of a factor than previously thought, and much of the old thinking was needlessly self-limiting. People routinely take their heart rates in the upper ranges; it just needs to be done as part of a well designed training problem, after ensuring there are no health issues that would cause a limit. Cycling would provide far less to me than it does, if I limited myself in the way you described.

AJ covered it very well.
Thanks for the explanation. I guess it's time for me to shift gears. Any recommended books, or links to help me cut the chaff? I'll do a search on BF for more info here.
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Old 12-09-10, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by eddubal
Thanks for the explanation. I guess it's time for me to shift gears. Any recommended books, or links to help me cut the chaff? I'll do a search on BF for more info here.
Read Joe Friel's books.
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Old 12-09-10, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan
Read Joe Friel's books.
Thanks for the lead. Gives me an excuse to get myself an early Christmas gift.
I just scanned his blog. There's a lot of info there that I have to roll through.
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Old 12-09-10, 10:02 AM
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Jet - What do you think of Tabata intervals?
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Old 12-09-10, 10:29 AM
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After reading this, I am glad that I did competitive running in high school and college. The background of interval training for racing the longer distances in cross country now puts the bike riding intervals in perspective.

I just don't want to do it. Therefore, I don't want to race anymore.
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Old 12-09-10, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan
Read Joe Friel's books.
I bought his "Total Heart Rate Training" instead of his "Cyclists Training Bible" because he wrote it more recently, and I understand there is a lot of duplicated content. However, I've been told I should also get "The Bible", and will be doing that after I finish the Power Based Training book I have sitting on my desk at home. Of course my coach is also mailing me her training manual, and a DVD to use on the trainer. There is a huge amount of info out there. Sorting through it is of course difficult and time consuming, but the only negative comment I've heard about anything Friel based, is that his zones and workouts can cause over-training if you don't allow enough recovery time. Oh, and he rides a lot here in Arizona, and I'm told he is a notorious wheel-sucker! Not recovering enough is apparently the single most common mistake we novices make. It's okay to train hard; we just need to allow for recovery, especially as we age. He recommends a day off (or two) per week, with a week per month where the load is considerably less than the rest of the month. High HR intervals to be spaced in between 'base' days at lower heart rates. Then there is the whole 'periodization' thing.

The Weak Link is about to interject that we need to stop talking about all this speed stuff and go riding to Dairy Queen. I hear it coming...
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Old 12-09-10, 11:39 AM
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I would check it out with your Dr. I understand that it is not necessarily here nor there but in my case I had weird feelings like that and went for a nuclear treadmill. I did everything they asked of me and felt pretty good about it. They called me the next day with the news that I had two 94% blockages and one 70%. I have had two stents for seven years now. One of the blockages was not repairable.
If I were you I would err on the side of caution and let the Dr say that you are okay.
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