Hi all, I’m doing the Transition Down plan after an amazing season of riding and racing that included 4500 miles and over 100K feet of climbing. I used SUF consistently through the season to get structured workouts and yoga in between events. After riding 10-12 hours/week since January, I have to say I am having what I can only describe as “withdrawal” symptoms including anxiety, poor sleep, irritability, etc.
I’m wondering if there’s science behind removing the adrenaline/dopamine/endorphins that intense exercise provides and what I should be doing to manage it (without jumping back into SUF level intensity before I’ve had a proper rest). TIA
This is ringing a bell about a GCN video where they talked about people being addicted to exercise.
Have you listened to the podcasts? “The Value Of Not Training” is excellent and would be worth a listen. I think in it Mac said something like “if you train hard, you need to rest hard”. Seems very apt for you!
Doing some reading on Wikipedia and WEBMD and it looks like I may actually be experiencing withdrawal from the neurochemicals released by exercise. I wouldn’t call myself an exercise addict
but maybe my brain has become addicted to the euphoria of suffering…
I completely understand how you feel. When I stop training, I don’t sleep well, I’m grumpy and can’t sleep. Those neurochemicals that you mention affect us both mentally and physically in such powerful ways.
During rest periods, I don’t think you need to be completely sedentary in order to rejuvenate. I like to find ways to occupy my mind and body with activities that I don’t normally do when I’m training hard. Ya know, things that you enjoy and will be satisfying to you, but not terribly strenuous. Especially outdoor activities because there is something special about the chemicals released during activities performed out in nature.
I like to do some kind of yoga, stretching, mobility or strength training because those things help me feel more balanced physically, take the dog (or friends) for walks and long hikes in places I don’t normally run and MTB, and also cook, bake and strangely enough, clean and organize and take care of things that I’ve neglected during the summer. I know most people don’t WANT to do house chores, but I know those are the things that often get neglected during the summer when we’d rather spend time outdoors. Getting that stuff done can be cathartic and can provide some mental peace and satisfaction and help us feel better about knowing that we’ll soon be back to training hard and neglecting that stuff once again.
In addition, the breathing exercises in our yoga program might be beneficial, or maybe learn to meditate to help calm the mind and re-focus your energy?!
Best of luck!
I actually had the reverse situation this summer. We took down some trees and I took some time off from my plan to split wood and do other yard work. At the time I was annoyed at the diversion but in hindsight I think it was exactly what I needed as I really started hitting my stride after the break and finishing the season strong. Peace of mind was definitely a factor.
Thanks so much @Coach.Suzie.S. I’m glad to hear it’s not just me, and that there is a neurochemical thing happening. I’m doing yoga, yardwork, and taking walks in addition to the Transition Down plan. Hoping to reach some kind of “equilibrium” soon!
Yep… with opiates (eg heroin) it’s the endorphins that the body becomes addicted to. Same with exercise… it’s endorphins that the body gets to love and the withdrawal effects from endorphins are real be it an opiate or a natural thing like exercise (I think!)