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Work - Low Heart Rate and Recovery

Old 11-11-14, 10:10 AM
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Work - Low Heart Rate and Recovery

Lost my legs, just can't get them back

My dilemma is I cannot get the training hours needed for an overseas upcoming stage race, my legs just won't allow it.

Aiming at 14-17 hours a week, by 12 hours my legs are dead.

Job is office, get up at 5:30am at my desk at 7:00am home at 5:30pm - dinner - training from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, then straight to bed. long miles week-end.

Example last night's ride:

2 hrs recovery = TSS of 71.4, IF = 0.597, average Heart Rate = 106. Tired today, after this, which should have been a walk in the park.

At 170 watts, my HR is 117?

3 minutes at 320 watts, my HR is 144. Max HR is 167 and I can only get close after at least one week full recovery.

Excellent respiratory and cardio, but my legs just give up?

Sigh, I guess that is what we get if we stop riding for several years and get old at the same time. Going for 3 years back on the bike though, riding cat 4 still.

Any input?
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Old 11-11-14, 07:06 PM
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Based on what you wrote and no other factors, it seems like "more rest" is the only reasonable prescription.

Are you doing this every day? Every week? Is your sleep quality sleep? Any external life stress?
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Old 11-11-14, 07:53 PM
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Nutrition?
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Old 11-11-14, 08:26 PM
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why would you do 2 hours of recovery?
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Old 11-12-14, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by valygrl
why would you do 2 hours of recovery?
My thoughts. TSS should be really low on recovery, like 25 or less. 1 hour or shorter should suffice.
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Old 11-12-14, 07:56 AM
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Thanks for the replies, appreciated.

I normally take 1 day a week off.

The reason I keep my recovery sessions at 2 hours is to try and get seat time beyond 12 hours per week.

My nutrition is good, slightly overweight coming down slowly, perhaps 1 lb every two weeks.
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Old 11-13-14, 12:32 AM
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From a guy who's done a lot of stage racing and prepped for a lot of stage races (and prepped others) and been pretty successful:

Saying you should do "X" hours a week isn't how I would plan. Hour totals should not be a target/goal. They are the byproduct of a plan to sequentially build up the tools you need to do well.

Recovery rides are there to recruit new muscle fibers, and to forstall the "deep recovery" that we get when we train hard and kick the plug out of the wall; at much beyond an hour you've stopped any beneficial process. Adding fatigue riding at 100w is...well it's just not good.

Going to bed right after training is going to be problematic. Again, a leg killer because you need nutrition, hydration, and recovery processes after a workout, ESPECIALLY as you get older.

One day a week rest is going to be problematic. It might work during certain cycles but not during others.

How many days and what are the stages like?

Last edited by Racer Ex; 11-13-14 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 11-13-14, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
From a guy who's done a lot of stage racing and prepped for a lot of stage races (and prepped others) and been pretty successful:

Saying you should do "X" hours a week isn't how I would plan. Hour totals should not be a target/goal. They are the byproduct of a plan to sequentially build up the tools you need to do well.

Recovery rides are there to recruit new muscle fibers, and to forstall the "deep recovery" that we get when we train hard and kick the plug out of the wall; at much beyond an hour you've stopped any beneficial process. Adding fatigue riding at 100w is...well it's just not good.

Going to bed right after training is going to be problematic. Again, a leg killer because you need nutrition, hydration, and recovery processes after a workout, ESPECIALLY as you get older.

One day a week rest is going to be problematic. It might work during certain cycles but not during others.

How many days and what are the stages like?
Thx Racer Ex, reply is sincerely appreciated.

Stage race beginning March next year. Stage race between 70 to 135 miles per day. One day is long the rest is between 70-85 miles. Overseas racing is different to here, less crits, more long distance road racing, rolling road closures meaning no yellow line rules, so you don't get boxed in most of the time.

Currently approaching the end of Base 2 as defined by Friel, hence trying to get the endurance hours in.

I raced pro late 70's early 80's but then chased a busy career afterwards, in and out of amateur never really got back into top form. Easy low stress Engineering job nowadays, but still working 8 hours plus a day. Unfortunately, evening training during the week is the only option, with longer rides available over the week ends. I use an indoor Cycleops 420 pro with programmed power in watts intervals during the week. Works great and provides very accurate useful data under exactly the same conditions for each ride. Saturdays and Sundays are either big or small group rides in NC, some great roads here. :-)

I struggle with the new performance metrics used in today's cycling, TSS does not mean much to me. I can get a low TSS and blow my legs completely with a number of extreme anaerobic short intervals, followed by a short ride below zone 1, or I can get a high TSS score with a 70 mile ride in zone 1-2 for 4 hours and still feel fine. For recovery status, I rely on feeling and experience, the problem being that I am getting in a lot less riding than planned, due to allowing for recovery. The main problem is week-ends, I would plan a 5-6 hour ride and realize it is not going to happen as there is too much fatigue.

Just a simple Engineer here, but I think a long layoff approaching 11 years means, after 3 years I have the cardio respiratory fitness back, but getting my leg muscles to build mitochondria and use the circulation available is a pretty slow process. The improvement is there, but it is real slow process compared to 30 years back.

I know you are a reputable coach, but due to my job/profession taking priority cycling is today more a healthy lifestyle objective, with the competitive element keeping the motivation to ride going. So, not considering a coach at this time and not asking for free coaching.

In short, my cardio/legs use to be pretty balanced years ago, today my legs blow way before I really stress with cardio and wondered if others experience the same thing?

FTP right now as defined by Coggin is around a dismal 280 watts, weight is 175lbs, trying to get back to 165lbs.

PS. Training for the typical 45 mile Master race, or 50 minutes crit here in the US, 8 hours a week is plenty time. Racing 135 miles and recovering for the next day is very different.

Last edited by ColnagoC40; 11-13-14 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 11-13-14, 12:09 PM
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The current power based metrics (TSS/CTL/ATL/TSB) are way better than nothing but they are also full of holes and miss a lot of important things. You're spot on about the high wattage work and I see this at it's worst with track racers. This is the problem when you boil people down to somewhat simple math equations.

They are, when adjusted or even just taken at face value, a decent snapshot of training load and fatigue.

If you use the baseline that 100 TSS is a 1 hour TT, you can riff off that. So that 2 hour recovery ride was like going flat out for 40 minutes or so, give or take. Not a good idea to ride flat out for 40 minutes if you're trying to heal.

I thought I recalled that they were fairly long stages. FWIW my guess is if you're racing age group, even the longest stages are going to be similar to something like Gila, where you're doing brutal (at the pointy end) 70-80 mile mountain stages. The fast guys leave, the rest survive. Everyone thinks about tomorrow.

My free advice:

-Forget how you used to train.

-When tired, rest

-You'd be better off doing two big rides on the weekend and giving yourself at least two days off during the week, along with one recovery day.

-Make a plan. If the top of the page reads "total hours" tear it up and start over. Next to that recovery day write "or X workout if I'm feeling sparky". Below each days plan, in 72 point font, write "RECOVERY"

-Refuel well after every workout. Weight sucks but I'd take ten pounds of fat over dead legs. Going to bed after a workout without refueling is horrible for recovery

-Recovery. Recovery. Recovery. Ice baths. Massage. Stretch. Refuel.

-Take a couple of days off, three even, right now.

-Go chuck some weight (with respect to Chuck ). My guess is your thighs if stripped of fat are smaller than they were 11 years ago. Build some muscle. If you don't like weights use those weekday sessions for some force work.

-If you do all the above protein is your friend. Add some.

-Don't fixate on weight. Muscle is heavy compared to fat. Training moves things around. Fancy scales get this to some degree.

-Did I mention focusing on recovery?

The top level guys that come back after layoffs are like a car that's been left out in a field. It's still a V8 (heart and lungs) and it doesn't take much to get that going again. It's the rest of the car (muscles, joints, tendons, electrical) that really falls apart around the motor.

Most or all of this I'm sure you know. The racer brain is telling you not to listen, that you need to train harder, that you suck, and you should be riding like you were 11 years ago. Tell the racer brain to go eff off until the actual race. It can go hang out with my racer brain who's convinced that I should take up downhill mountain biking.

Last edited by Racer Ex; 11-13-14 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 11-13-14, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex

The top level guys that come back after layoffs are like a car that's been left out in a field. It's still a V8 (heart and lungs) and it doesn't take much to get that going again. It's the rest of the car (muscles, joints, tendons, electrical) that really falls apart around the motor.
Thanks for the time and detailed reply, that was very helpful and the above quote was extremely accurate. I read a lot of experience between your lines, thanks again!
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Old 11-14-14, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ColnagoC40

I struggle with the new performance metrics used in today's cycling, TSS does not mean much to me. I can get a low TSS and blow my legs completely with a number of extreme anaerobic short intervals,

In short, my cardio/legs use to be pretty balanced years ago, today my legs blow way before I really stress with cardio and wondered if others experience the same thing?

.
Colnago, Cat 2 till 42 and now 8 months into consistent training at 58 (took a break ) & loving every minute of it.

I'm almost the opposite, 5s power is still quite good but my FTP is embarrassing (but improving rapidly). So I went out of balance the other way.

Although I find the feedback using power valuable & it feeds my engineering mind, I've seen the same issue regarding TSS, ect. It seems to discount the positive impact of, and under estimate the recovery needed after high intensity efforts.
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Old 11-14-14, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Voodoo76
Although I find the feedback using power valuable & it feeds my engineering mind, I've seen the same issue regarding TSS, ect. It seems to discount the positive impact of, and under estimate the recovery needed after high intensity efforts.
It's full of holes and based on the presumption that everyone recovers the same, if you're a Cat5 or a Cat 1. It presumes that a track sprinter and RAAM rider have the same impact from the same effort, and that if two people have the same FTP, then they are the same people. No altitude adjustments, no temperature adjustments, no adjustment for when the effort takes place (a 15s 1200w sprint at the end of a 5 hour ride is going to create a bigger impact than one at the beginning) Etc.

I could go on.

That said it's a heck of a lot better in some ways than just "how was the ride?" in that the bell curve is going to hit most folks in the ballpark. It's much worse because people read stuff that's published and think that they need a CTL of X to do a race and believe the chart says they should be all recovered when their legs still hurt, or that they aren't going to race well because they don't have the "right" CTL.

Basing your training on hitting a CTL number is no better than just using total hours.

It's the power data that really tells the story, but it takes a fair bit of time and experience to understand what it's saying.

BTW FTP might be the most overvalued metric of the bunch, unless you're a TT specialist.

Last edited by Racer Ex; 11-14-14 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 11-14-14, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
It's full of holes and based on the presumption that everyone recovers the same, if you're a Cat5 or a Cat 1. It presumes that a track sprinter and RAAM rider have the same impact from the same effort, and that if two people have the same FTP, then they are the same people. No altitude adjustments, no temperature adjustments, no adjustment for when the effort takes place (a 15s 1200w sprint at the end of a 5 hour ride is going to create a bigger impact than one at the beginning) Etc.

I could go on.

That said it's a heck of a lot better in some ways than just "how was the ride?" in that the bell curve is going to hit most folks in the ballpark. It's much worse because people read stuff that's published and think that they need a CTL of X to do a race and believe the chart says they should be all recovered when their legs still hurt, or that they aren't going to race well because they don't have the "right" CTL.

Basing your training on hitting a CTL number is no better than just using total hours.

It's the power data that really tells the story, but it takes a fair bit of time and experience to understand what it's saying.

BTW FTP might be the most overvalued metric of the bunch, unless you're a TT specialist.
Don't get me wrong, I find power data valuable. I'm also puzzled a bit by the use of FTP to set training zones anywhere above FTP, especially if you have a power curve that's a cliff. But that's a whole other subject.

What I've seen in a limited time back in the sport is interpretation of CTL, ect (and how it's calculated) driving riders towards what used to be "no man's land" (not slow, not fast). All to hit a certain number or because they can't recover enough to really go hard. Started to get caught up in that myself. Seemed like that might be relevant to Colnago's dilemma.
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