After several months of making steady progress I feel like I have hit a bit of wall.
Even at the start of the warm up, at 50% of FTP, I feel like ‘uh oh, this is going to be tough’.
Not sure what to put this down to, but top of the list of ‘things that have changed’ is the temperature.
I started in December on SUF with Kickr and so haven’t had the pleasure until recently of training through a summer but wondered what other people’s experience was. Garage temp is 21C/70F and I have a big 18” fan but still really hot last 10 days or so.
I have been able to complete most of the sessions at 100% but I am digging far deeper than normal in all and some are beyond me! E.g. tonight’s Team Scream was just brutal and had me at times churning low cadence vs. normally feeling super motivated by the session and spinning at 95+. The fact that it ‘feels’ harder than prescribed then I’m sure leads to me being less fresh by the time the next session comes around etc etc.
Is this a common experience going into hotter weather?
I have cycled in the temperate and tropical regions in both the summer and winter time.
70F/21C is not hot, but what were the humidity levels? The more humid it is, the less the air is capable of absorbing the sweat you produce which reduces the cooling effect.
Temperature, heat, humidity, hydration levels, nutrition levels all affect the stress on your body. The more extreme the elements, the more they can affect your performance. If the environment affects how you sleep that can contribute as well.
You could also be hitting a wall because, depending on how fit you are to begin with, the gains become harder to achieve over time.
yeah it’s hard to say. It could be temperature or some other environmental issue but it also could be that as noted the gains become harder to come by and you may find a need to back off the high intensity every once in a while
Do you use a HR monitor? An elevated HR for the same power output can be a sign of overheating.
Couple of good articles from the archive
check out 8.2 in
Heart Rate: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask – The Sufferfest
and what to do about it
Why you need to stay cool when riding indoors – The Sufferfest
Heretic made a good point about humidity, I find that very cold dry air ( My paincave is regularly below zero in winter) or very humid (fog from living near the coast) affects my breathing so efforts that where heart exploding change to being lung shredding.
Thank you all @Heretic @devolikewhoa @JGreengrass
Agree temp is not super hot and humidity was about 50% (so not too high).
HR was also normal for me, which means at the lower end of the bands being set.
If anything felt like exploding, it was my legs.
Second on the list of possible reasons is the cumulative fatigue aspect.
2 weeks ago I went away with family (which coincided with rest week on my eSports plan) and I took the bike and did some outdoor riding. On the penultimate day I went for a 10km jog (first run in 6 weeks) and the following day I cycled 100km home on legs that were painful to walk down the stairs on. I gave it a couple of days off after that but faced ‘Do as you’re told’, ‘Rookie’, ‘Half is Easy’ last week and then ‘Team Scream’ yesterday. Maybe that has just crept up on me and I’m just in need of a proper recovery week.
I feel fine off the bike at the moment, but as I mentioned before, just feels like I have to dig really deep on the harder sessions.
It just sounds like a build up of fatigue to me. You can’t keep on building indefinitely and it sounds like you’ve been consistently building since December. Eventually you need to back off and take a break. You might only need a few days rest or you may need to reduce the intensity for several weeks. Just depends how far into the red you have gone.
I presume your sleep and nutrition is as normal and you haven’t caught any bugs. I hear there’s some nasty virus going around
@Peteski. Thanks. Reading my last post it kind of looks obvious it would be cumulative fatigue but I’ve been following the training plans quite well so wasn’t aware I was over doing it (including taking it easy on the rest weeks…usually). Sleeping, diet etc could always improve.
Assuming it is the fatigue, I subbed out the harder sessions this week. Since I’m due to do a HM next weekend, next week is a relatively easy prep week too. Will see what results I get on HM and take it from there.
If I’ve gone backwards I’ll be gutted - but at least the sessions will get easier! If I end up with another improvement then the extra rest will have done the trick!
@WillD All stress is cumulative - whether it is training, family life or work so factor that in. I find that even when I stick to the training program but then do yard work or even just have a busy day I can be off a bit for a day or two. Try using one of the heart rate variability (“HRV”) apps if you are not already. While the data isn’t always perfect you can sometimes find trends from week to week that may assist you with when to push and when to slow it down.
It depends what plans you have been following for the last 6 months. If you’ve been doing several back-to-back intensive plans then it sometimes pays to do an easy base block to give yourself a chance to reset. I’ve been through this myself a few times and it’s why pros train in blocks to peak at various points in the season.
Don’t worry if you take a step backwards, it will inevitably happen at some point for all sorts of reasons. Especially as you get fitter as it becomes harder to maintain peak form for more than a couple of months at a time. I don’t know what your starting point was in December, but if that was ground zero then you have probably just reached your first training plateau and simply need some more dedicated recovery. Maybe a base block to keep ticking over ready for the next big push?
I guess the plans I’ve signed up to have been quite intense.
I hadn’t done much cycling at all last 5 years with only occasional runs etc before getting kickr in December 2020.
From the start of the year it’s roughly been
7 weeks of All-Purpose Road (intermediate)
2weeks TOS + recovery week
3 weeks MAP block (my 4DP weakness)
1 week HM/FF
10 weeks eSports racing (60min+)
The last 10 weeks have got me about 8 weeks through the eSports (as I pushed the calendar back a couple of times) so just did the HM this morning.
HM FTP & MAP came out 3% below the settings I’d been using (which themselves were mid points between the HM/FF I did prior to the plan). Legs still felt weak so quite pleased it was only a 3% drop to be honest.
My thinking at the moment is to maybe do an endurance/FTP block or something where I ease off a bit, maybe some outdoor rides on feel etc and then go back to the All Purpose Intermediate.
Still decent fitness gains so far this year, as you’d sort of expect after so long in couchlandria, but I’d hoped the steep upwards trajectory would last a bit longer!!
If it were me I would probably do a 3-4 week base block at this point with the aim of total recovery. An FTP block is not really what I would call easing off (I’ve made that very mistake myself!). With a base block you will pretty much maintain your current fitness level (might even go up as you recover) and put yourself in a much stronger position to continue building. Your training load has been pretty high now for 23 weeks. That’s a long time, especially starting from scratch. I know the plans have built-in recovery, but sometimes you really need more than that when doing multiple build plans back-to-back.
Aaaah!! Still going backwards!! By way of an update I thought maybe a picture paints a thousand words (and I love Excel & PowerPoint). So I did a HM ramp test on 16 June and had indeed slid back a bit. After that found it difficult to find time (and some motivation) for indoor sessions but was doing maybe 1 a week and some riding outdoors. Started a new indoor plan last week but still getting toasted so did another HM tonight. Back to where I was in February!!
(actually my results make a sad face themselves!). Looking back now I think a big factor was life just getting a whole lot busier as summer came a long and normal activities resumed post lockdowns. So much harder to regularly find time to train when a million other pulls on your time!
@WillD That doesn’t look that bad. You can’t always be peaking anyway. Hang in there for the rest of the summer and focus on reconnecting in the offseason.