Nine Hammers performance: Wondering if I need recovery week

I’m training for the ORAMM race in NC in 5 weeks and wondering based on my Nine Hammers performance today whether a recovery week is in order. I’m 55 years old, pretty low FTP of about 202 or so, but have been training hard since January. A friend and I pre-rode the ORAMM this past weekend over two days (30 miles per day/10K of climbing) took a couple days off, and then did a long 60 mile zone 2 ride this past weekend. All in all about 225 miles on the trails and trainer the past couple weeks.

Did Nine Hammers as part of the training plan today, felt great for the first five hammers, and then all went to hell at #6. Legs burning like never before, no power, had to hit pause four or five times for the remaining 3 hammers. Noticed that compared to the previous times I’ve done Nine Hammers (and completed it!) my total mileage was down about a half mile less (same FTP), power was down, etc.

I’m a terrible judge of when I need a recovery week and at 55 maybe I’m still thinking I’m a spry 50 year old. Would love any advice from the older pros here. Many thanks!

@Panamop Are you on a plan? It could have been a bad day or it could just be that Nine Hammers does that to everyone as it is a tough workout. If you are on a plan and have 5 weeks left I would suggest just moving on. If you are on the every three week rest schedule you should probably be resting next week and then have two weeks of intensity again and then a taper for your race week. If you don’t feel great tomorrow just do something like Recharger and reassess your status.

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@JSampson Yes, I am on a plan to increase MAP, but have been diverging from it somewhat with some pretty big endurance rides (for me anyway) in recent weeks. With 60 miles and 10k of climbing in one day, I plan on bumping up some long endurance rides from now till race day. I haven’t noticed any fatigue, heart rate issues, sleep issues, or anything that would indicate fatigue, but was surprised I bonked so hard at the sixth hammer. Was actually feeling stronger than usual up to that point and then just hit the brick wall. Kind of surprised me how quickly the tank emptied. Thanks for the advice… Will give it a go tomorrow and back off a bit if I’m still knackered.

@Panamop Ok - that makes more sense. The MAP plan is pretty intense and with extra riding you may have extended yourself. Be sure that you are getting the dedicated rest days that are in the plan. Eating right, drinking lots of water, post-workout yoga, some breathing exercises, getting quality sleep and trying to minimize all other life and work stress are all going to play a roll in how well you recover. Do you track your training stress in an app like Training Peaks, Strava, etc? Those might help provide you a visual as to whether you are overtraining. Also check out one of the heart rate variability apps. They are decent with respect to finding trends/patterns. They don’t always work great day to day but week to week they seem pretty good.

Lol… Glad to read this as I was already thinking that the MAP plan was diabolical and wondering if maybe I’d stumbled into some advanced pro training plan by accident. I am tracking workouts on both Training Peaks and Strava. Have been a bit disappointed that my CTL isn’t rising more, even after some epically hard/long rides, but keep remembering that Sufferfest uses a different methodology, so we’ll see.

Bad headache last night and didn’t sleep well. Legs burning just going up the stairs this morning, so thinking these are all pretty good indicators that it’s time to dial it back. Thanks again for the advice.