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The Value of "Training While Tired"

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The Value of "Training While Tired"

Old 06-25-20, 03:56 PM
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The Value of "Training While Tired"

I am in the process of altering my prior training habits where I would just let my natural schedule dictate when I took a day off. 4 consecutive training days, 9 days, I would just take a day off when training was inconvenient or impossible. Now that I am past 70 that no longer works, so I am experimenting with other approaches. Right now my 'training goals' are simply to stay in good enough shape that if I were ever to want to take on something in a serious manner (like a best effort century as an example), I would be ready to take on that level of training without a buildup. For me that would be 10-12 saddle-hours per week (where I am really poor at doing recovery rides - have a tough time making myself do that for some reason).

Right now it seems that 2 consecutive "tempo+" rides at 2+ hours means that I will be relatively tired on day 3. Taking day 3 as a recovery day would seem sensible. But if you are going to ride a century hard, then you are going to be tired for an hour or more for sure. So maybe there is training value in the occasional 'ride hard while tired from the start' training ride. Note the "occasional" qualifier here. I have never heard that discussed and was interested in opinions on that.

Thanks.

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Old 06-25-20, 06:27 PM
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I don't know at our age if that's advisable. I used to do that 15 years ago, but not often. I have riding buddies who did that all the time back then. They'd ride 60 miles at a more moderate pace and then come out for the competitive Sunday ride, also at least 60 miles. They were all in better condition than I was, who only rode the Sunday ride, but they were also 10 years younger.

I gave up riding by feel long, long ago. I don't trust myself to be able to tell when I'll be strong, just by feel. And if you're not strong, no point in going out hard. Hit your numbers or go home. Now I ride by CTL and TSB, with a little backup from morning resting and standing HR, and from HRV. If there's a disagreement there, I usually go with the TSB, but mostly all the numbers agree.

I've had very good results from giving it everything I've got - not a "tempo" ride, all out for 3-6 hours, and then hiking for 3-6 hours in the mountains the next day, HR in zone 1, but breathing like zone 2, legs usually hurting. Then a day completely off. It's 1.5-2 hours to our local hiking trails, one of the reasons we live here. I'm still following this pattern and it still works.

You'll have to try it and see what happens. Whatever happens, it won't be a disaster and you'll learn something.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:32 AM
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I am getting a good feel for what I can and cannot do WRT my training and fatigue. But what I do not have a feel for (and don't know how to assess) is the value (if any) to fitness by occasionally (and intentionally) training while tired. Given the way my fitness is now changing over time, I also don't know know how to make that judgement 'just by trying it". Hence the question.

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Old 06-26-20, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
But what I do not have a feel for (and don't know how to assess) is the value (if any) to fitness by occasionally (and intentionally) training while tired
My opinion on this is that it depends on what you're trying to accomplish with a training session. If the purpose is to train a particular physiological system, what matters is whether you are able to accumulate the desired overload of that system. If you are able to complete the desired workout, then the fact that you're tired won't compromise your training. On the other hand, if you're too tired to do what's planned, then there's no point continuing.

But not every workout has to be training physiology. Some workouts might target specificity. In that case, if you're training to perform while tired, it makes perfect sense to continue a training session when fatigued since that is the exact purpose of the workout.

Finally, consideration should also be given to the effect of a workout on future sessions. If performing a workout leads to such significant overreach, that future planned workouts can't be performed, then it might make sense to ease off for the same on keeping on track.
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Old 06-26-20, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
My opinion on this is that it depends on what you're trying to accomplish with a training session. If the purpose is to train a particular physiological system, what matters is whether you are able to accumulate the desired overload of that system. If you are able to complete the desired workout, then the fact that you're tired won't compromise your training. On the other hand, if you're too tired to do what's planned, then there's no point continuing.

But not every workout has to be training physiology. Some workouts might target specificity. In that case, if you're training to perform while tired, it makes perfect sense to continue a training session when fatigued since that is the exact purpose of the workout.

Finally, consideration should also be given to the effect of a workout on future sessions. If performing a workout leads to such significant overreach, that future planned workouts can't be performed, then it might make sense to ease off for the same on keeping on track.
Thanks for the comment. Just to be sure that my question is clear, it is not a question of continuing a workout once you are tired (other than recovery rides, I would think that all workouts involve some level of that). The question is about starting a training session when you have significant 'leftover fatigue' from previous session(s).

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Old 06-26-20, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Thanks for the comment. Just to be sure that my question is clear, it is not a question of continuing a workout once you are tired (other than recovery rides, I would think that all workouts involve some level of that). The question is about starting a training session when you have significant 'leftover fatigue' from previous session(s).
Feeling tired before a ride or during it; it's a distinction without a difference. Can you do the planned workout or not recognizing the purpose of the workout and the potential impact on future training?
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Old 06-26-20, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Feeling tired before a ride or during it; it's a distinction without a difference. Can you do the planned workout or not recognizing the purpose of the workout and the potential impact on future training?
Then let let me make a slight alteration to my previously stated question.

Is there any value to PLANNING on having the occasional training ride where you know that you will be tired from the start. For the sake of argument assume that 'tired from the start' means that your available power output is off about 10% from what it might be on a 'not fatigued day'. This would be a day where many folks would say that a rest day or recovery day is appropriate.

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Old 06-26-20, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Is there any value to PLANNING on having the occasional training ride where you know that you will be tired from the start. For the sake of argument assume that 'tired from the start' means that your available power output is off about 10% from what it might be on a 'not fatigued day'. This would be a day where many folks would say that a rest day or recovery day is appropriate.
I believe I answered that. If the purpose is physiological training, then no. You won't be able to produce sufficient overload to stress the system to adapt. If the intent is to work on specificity, i.e., performing while fatigued, then yes.
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Old 06-26-20, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
I believe I answered that. If the purpose is physiological training, then no. You won't be able to produce sufficient overload to stress the system to adapt. If the intent is to work on specificity, i.e., performing while fatigued, then yes.
OK, I think I got it. If the purpose is training to ride a hard century ride where your training will not involve actually riding 100+ miles (maybe not optimum but hardly unusual), then you will be encountering stresses that are new to you. So I would think that this 'riding while tired' thing could be useful. While this still seems 'physiological' to me, that is just semantics (and possibly the source of confusion).

Thanks for the feedback.

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Old 06-26-20, 03:32 PM
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Training while having accumulated a " significant fatique " from your previous workout may build mental toughness and perseverance to push through pain and discomfort but it will probably delay recovery and adaptation of your physical body. The value is mostly psychological, your physical body still needs to recover before seeing any improvements.
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Old 06-26-20, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Training while having accumulated a " significant fatique " from your previous workout may build mental toughness and perseverance to push through pain and discomfort but it will probably delay recovery and adaptation of your physical body. The value is mostly psychological, your physical body still needs to recover before seeing any improvements.
Maybe that is the case. But before the Pandemic when I thought that I would be riding the Six Gap Century again this year, I decided 2 things.

1) I needed to do (as in simulate) more long climbs - nothing long near me
2) I needed to do a good bit of #1 when I was pretty tired as that will be the case for the 2 hardest climbs at Six Gap.

The best way to do #1 is on my trainer (spinner bike with Garmin Vector Power). I am not inclined to do 2-3 hours on a trainer so my tentative plan had been to go out on my road bike for a however long/hard ride and then do a couple of climbs back home on the trainer. But maybe just doing it off the fatigue of consecutive days training is the same thing - re: asgelle 's comment "Feeling tired before a ride or during it; it's a distinction without a difference."

Certainly there has to be recovery to move forward - but that doesn't say there that recovery has to be complete after every workout before you go again (even if it is true - I don't know).

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Old 06-26-20, 08:32 PM
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Here's a good read: https://trainright.com/when-enduranc...-need-to-rest/

IOW, it's OK to be tired, but not to keep working out when your performance is dropping because you've been overreaching. But one does want to reach that point, just not continue beyond it. I know I often take unneeded rest time, just because I feel tired. It's hard not to do that.
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Old 06-27-20, 02:17 AM
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Riding when you are tired is fine I think and can help with progressive overload and muscular endurance as long as you can meet the time in zone requirements of the training ride. If you can't hit those objectives it's better to bail and do a rest day. You should have a pretty good understanding of what you should be able to do on a weekly basis looking back to go on but sometimes it's better to take a rest day than go for it if you are just toast.

The watch out is you really don't know if you can hit the targets for the ride until you go out and try. There's been plenty of times I feel zonked at the start, and may even struggle to put out the numbers at the start of the first interval but by the end pf the first and with the 2nd and 3rd etc the legs come around and it turns into a good workout much to my surprise. I did back to back 100 mile rides a couple weekends ago over the same course and the start of the second one was pretty sad but I ended up with an average speed about .5mph faster on the second one than the first one.
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Old 06-27-20, 06:06 AM
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Carbonfiberboy - thanks for the interesting link

srode1 I clearly remember the days (1970's and 80's) when I was a serious runner (2500 miles per year). Many times I would be having a 'terrible day' out on the roads but learned that it was not a terrible day until I had done a couple of quarter mile wind sprints and after recovery still felt terrible. THEN it was a terrible day. 40-some years later things seem to be different

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Old 06-27-20, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Right now it seems that 2 consecutive "tempo+" rides at 2+ hours means that I will be relatively tired on day 3. Taking day 3 as a recovery day would seem sensible. But if you are going to ride a century hard, then you are going to be tired for an hour or more for sure. So maybe there is training value in the occasional 'ride hard while tired from the start' training ride. Note the "occasional" qualifier here. I have never heard that discussed and was interested in opinions on that.
While fun, that's not going to improve your performance. It's intense enough to recruit your fast twitch fibers which take the load off your slow twitch fibers so you don't train them, but not hard enough to stress your fast twitch fibers to train them once you have a modicum of fitness.

This is especially true if you need more than five hours to finish a "hard century" because that duration is enough to preclude average exertion exceeding your aerobic threshold.

Time training at a tempo pace causes Ironman triathletes to perform worse, while time training below their aerobic threshold makes them perform better.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23921084/

With little (4 hours a week?) time and training stress proportional to the square of exertion, tempo rides will give you the endurance to get through longer events; but at 10-12 hours a week that's not an issue for centuries and double metrics.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 06-27-20 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 06-27-20, 11:59 AM
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Drew, I really was not trying to describe my training habits. It was just a description of the effort required to get to the referenced fatigue level. FWIW, in my world (where tempo is 76%-91% of ftp), 2+ hours at the top end of ftp is not a easy ride and is not a zone 2 ride (as discussed in the very interesting link that you posted).

But I really am going on gut feel here where my sense of things in last year's Six Gap was that I needed more climbing training (the nearest thing to a real climb where I live is 200+ miles away) and that training needed to be done when I was fatigued much like you are when you start Hogpen Gap at the Six Gap ride. But it is hardly like my own gut feel is trustworthy ( nor is is wrong every time either).

FWIW, I rode the Tour de Moore (century ride in our area) the month before Six Gap last year. Despite getting hooked up with 2 guys stronger and 25-30 years younger than me for the first 65 miles (where they really went after the up's in the rolling terrain of Moore County), I felt well prepared for that (I had to let those 2 go after a fuel stop at 65 miles, but didn't feel that was a prep issue). I did not feel that way WRT the Six Gap ride.

And thanks for the link.

dave

ps. See Post #22 where I make a correction to what I stated above.

Last edited by DaveLeeNC; 06-27-20 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 06-27-20, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
While fun, that's not going to improve your performance.
While it's true that it may not improve his physiology, I wouldn't discount the psychological effect. Adapting to performing while fatigued might allow him to better express his capabilities and that would improve performance.
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Old 06-27-20, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Here's a good read: https://trainright.com/when-enduranc...-need-to-rest/

IOW, it's OK to be tired, but not to keep working out when your performance is dropping because you've been overreaching. But one does want to reach that point, just not continue beyond it. I know I often take unneeded rest time, just because I feel tired. It's hard not to do that.
FWIW, the article Carbonfiberboy linked talks indirectly to my question where it clearly states that a single day of 'excess fatigue' is not typically a reason to insert a rest day. Not exactly an answer to my question, but certainly has relevance.

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Old 06-27-20, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
FWIW, the article Carbonfiberboy linked talks indirectly to my question where it clearly states that a single day of 'excess fatigue' is not typically a reason to insert a rest day. Not exactly an answer to my question, but certainly has relevance.

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Old 06-27-20, 03:36 PM
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Studies of athletic training are so hard to do. It's worth noting that the Training-intensity Distribution study used recreational athletes. Contrast their race performance with that of a top pro: https://www.si.com/edge/2014/10/15/a...eart-rate-data

Wow, what a difference. My 10 hour event rides are now all in zone 1 in the 3 zone system, as reported in the study. However in my 50s and early 60s, I did all the climbs during the same event in zone 2 in that system, though my distribution was not as aggressive as Potts'. I was about an hour faster than I am now. So there's that. Also, we mortals are going to take it a lot easier on the bike leg if we have to run a marathon afterwards. Not so with Potts. My guess is that these differing methods and results are effects of volume and particularly volume at intensity, which of course depends on recovery ability, which depends on age. We who use PMs must also remember that triathletes use HRMs and PM data isn't comparable.

Here's a link to the PDF of that study: https://www.researchgate.net/publica...on_Performance
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Old 06-27-20, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Do you use TrainingPeaks? I don't remember.
wko5 is my primary analysis platform. On occasion I find Golden Cheetah a bit more convenient. dave
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Old 06-27-20, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Drew, I really was not trying to describe my training habits. It was just a description of the effort required to get to the referenced fatigue level. FWIW, in my world (where tempo is 76%-91% of ftp), 2+ hours at the top end of ftp is not a easy ride and is not a zone 2 ride (as discussed in the very interesting link that you posted).

But I really am going on gut feel here where my sense of things in last year's Six Gap was that I needed more climbing training (the nearest thing to a real climb where I live is 200+ miles away) and that training needed to be done when I was fatigued much like you are when you start Hogpen Gap at the Six Gap ride. But it is hardly like my own gut feel is trustworthy ( nor is is wrong every time either).

FWIW, I rode the Tour de Moore (century ride in our area) the month before Six Gap last year. Despite getting hooked up with 2 guys stronger and 25-30 years younger than me for the first 65 miles (where they really went after the up's in the rolling terrain of Moore County), I felt well prepared for that (I had to let those 2 go after a fuel stop at 65 miles, but didn't feel that was a prep issue). I did not feel that way WRT the Six Gap ride.

And thanks for the link.

dave
I have mis-stated a bit here (above). The paper that Drew Eckhardt referenced was using a 3 zone system where the top is zone 2 is in the vicinity of ftp (anaerobic threshold). So my referenced fatigue generating consecutive workouts kind of live on the zone 1 vs zone 2 boundary (for the case where the workout is kind of steady state - sometimes they are and sometimes they are not).

FWIW.

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Old 06-27-20, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
wko5 is my primary analysis platform. On occasion I find Golden Cheetah a bit more convenient. dave
Do one or both of them do CTL, TSB, and ATL, especially with an ability to project these into the future vs. planned workouts?
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Old 06-28-20, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Do one or both of them do CTL, TSB, and ATL, especially with an ability to project these into the future vs. planned workouts?
Even when I was training for something, those are not the metrics I used. But WKO5 does have projected CTL, TSB, and ATL capability (that I have never explored).

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Old 06-28-20, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Even when I was training for something, those are not the metrics I used. But WKO5 does have projected CTL, TSB, and ATL capability (that I have never explored).

dave
I didn't feel the need for that until I was 67 and started having trouble with recovery and sensation vs. performance. I live by these metrics now. Nothing works like it used to. You might have a look, might be a help. I plan all my workouts a week or so in advance. Doesn't always work out, but usually does. It's nice to be able to see into the future.
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