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Signs of Overtraining

Old 07-06-21, 12:26 PM
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goose70
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Signs of Overtraining

To an increasing degree over the past month, my legs feel sore/heavy at the beginning of rides. I sometimes also get a cold sweat; again, more so at the beginning of rides. Also getting lots of night sweats and the perspiration has had that sickly sweet smell. I've also noticed that my HR doesn't climb as quickly or as high in response to hard efforts. This all strikes me as classic overtraining signs.

The problem is that I've been steadily cutting back volume and adding off days during this same period. In mid-May, I felt great and did really well on our hilly, 30-plus mile training race. The next week, felt terrible, barely finished the ride. I blamed that on my Covid shot, but things have not improved since. I've cut back on volume, added rest days (2-3 per week), tossed a complete off week in there in mid-June. To make up for lost volume, I've increased intensity (AC/NM intervals) and added lower body weights back in (which I had been doing until late-May). That made my legs so sore I could barely walk last week. I also gained about ten pounds during this time and, while that has levelled off over the past two weeks, I'm not losing much despite being disciplined with my training diet.

My question is, should I take a longer time off the bike? Should I go back to more volume/Zone 2-3 training and cut most of the intensity for now? This is somewhat frustrating since races are finally starting to appear on the calendar and I feel that my winter/spring training has been for naught.
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Old 07-06-21, 09:20 PM
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Are you trying keto, fasting rides/trainer sessions, or other methods to lose body fat? If so, that might explain the vaguely "flu-like" symptoms and odd body odor. Many folks report similar issues.

If that's the goal -- losing body fat while training -- consider longer, lower intensity rides or trainer sessions until your body adapts.

I had similar issues when I tried fasting rides a few years ago. Cutting way back on intensity helped. But on days when I planned harder workouts, intervals, etc., I fueled up appropriately, plenty of carbs, etc.

And if your most recent COVID vaccine was less than a month ago your body may still be working on the immune system response. I had the Moderna jabs in April and May and I'd guess it took about a month after the second jab before I felt normal again. The first jab had minor side effects but the second wiped me out for a couple of days. But I had other health issues going on so I didn't push too hard.
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Old 07-06-21, 09:27 PM
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Yours seems to be a more complex case than the usual overtraining syndrome (OTS). I suggest you see a doctor and get a full blood workup. Make sure there's no underlying issue or issues of some sort. Cold and night sweats are signs of fever. Mild Covid? Serious shot reaction? Get tested.

When one is trying to recover from OTS, one does not increase intensity! Good grief. What one does is stop riding for a few months. If it's just normal overreaching, do zone 1 rides of 30'-60' every day or every other day depending on how bad it is. In any case, doesn't sound like OTS. Unexplained weight loss is a more usual symptom. HR not coming up normally is an overreaching symptom, one which is actually sought after, indicating max stress and time to ease off to allow fitness to increase.

One thing I would recommend for sure is to start taking your resting and standing-resting HR (MRHR & MSHR) every morning, recording same in your training diary. For the MRHR, lie down with your HRM after getting up and peeing. When your HR stops dropping, watch it for 3 minutes. Note the average HR for the last 30". For the MSHR, when you're done with the MRHR, stand up and watch your HR until it settles down. Watch it for the next 3 minutes and note the average of the last 30". Your MSHR - MRHR is your orthostatic HR. Write that down too. Big increases, like 6-8 beats in MRHR or in orthostatic HR mean that you're pushing it, back off. A 10 beat increase in your orthostatic means you might be getting into OTS..
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Old 07-07-21, 07:48 AM
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If you have night sweats, you should probably see your doctor to rule out several very serious conditions that they can be an indicator of.

My legs don't loosen up for the for up to an hour of riding. I'm almost always faster during my second hour. In the past, there were times my leg muscles were so stiff that I felt like quitting 30 minutes into a ride, but I continued and as usual that second hour of riding was great.
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Old 07-07-21, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by goose70 View Post
In mid-May ... I blamed that on my Covid shot, but things have not improved since.
It's only been 6-7 weeks since your shots, so it's entirely possible you've caught "the crud" and your body's dealing with it. Might explain the sweats, lack of "oomph" during physical activity, lethargy, etc.

Hard to know.

Some thoughts ...

How "clean" your nutritional intake is can affect body smells and amount of perceived energy/lethargy. How decent your sleep patterns are can affect things. (Such as having sleep apnea and it just now kicking in, with the added weight and age, whereas in prior years you didn't have it. Cruddy sleep can cause all sorts of issues, notably amount of energy during hard physical activity.)

If this were a recent change with me, I'd probably speak with my doc on the details, go particularly "clean" and simple on the nutrition, hydrate well, doubly ensure I'm getting sufficient quality sleep, and get moderate exercise but allow for reasonable recovery. Might pass in a few weeks, eliminating some of the simple variables you have control over. Might be your doc finds something.
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Old 07-07-21, 12:32 PM
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Sounds like what I went thru after Covid shots. Months to work thru it. Be interesting if anyone else saw a training impact
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Old 07-07-21, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Sounds like what I went thru after Covid shots. Months to work thru it. Be interesting if anyone else saw a training impact
I thought about that, but my teammates have mostly bee vaxed and most seem to be doing fine in training/racing. Of course, I do understand that YRMV when it comes to these shots. I did not have the bad fever or other extreme reactions that some get, but for both shots I felt unbelievably sleepy for days after --- really for almost a week after the second one. It pretty well mimicked how my body responded when I had Covid for real in early 2020, which makes sense I suppose. For now, I agree with the plan to work through what I can control. I'm going to get a bit stricter on the diet, rest this week (walking, light riding), see where things stand next week and go from there. At least this isn't my day job and I can have "fun" experimenting until I figure it out.
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Old 07-07-21, 01:17 PM
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"When one is trying to recover from OTS, one does not increase intensity! Good grief. What one does is stop riding for a few months. If it's just normal overreaching, do zone 1 rides of 30'-60' every day or every other day depending on how bad it is. In any case, doesn't sound like OTS. Unexplained weight loss is a more usual symptom. HR not coming up normally is an overreaching symptom, one which is actually sought after, indicating max stress and time to ease off to allow fitness to increase.

One thing I would recommend for sure is to start taking your resting and standing-resting HR (MRHR & MSHR) every morning, recording same in your training diary. For the MRHR, lie down with your HRM after getting up and peeing. When your HR stops dropping, watch it for 3 minutes. Note the average HR for the last 30". For the MSHR, when you're done with the MRHR, stand up and watch your HR until it settles down. Watch it for the next 3 minutes and note the average of the last 30". Your MSHR - MRHR is your orthostatic HR. Write that down too. Big increases, like 6-8 beats in MRHR or in orthostatic HR mean that you're pushing it, back off. A 10 beat increase in your orthostatic means you might be getting into OTS.."
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Very helpful. I had not been tracking those metrics but will start to do so.

Regarding the intensity, I suppose I was thinking I'd recover through tapering. I know better; not sure what I was thinking, actually.
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Old 07-07-21, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
If you have night sweats, you should probably see your doctor to rule out several very serious conditions that they can be an indicator of.

My legs don't loosen up for the for up to an hour of riding. I'm almost always faster during my second hour. In the past, there were times my leg muscles were so stiff that I felt like quitting 30 minutes into a ride, but I continued and as usual that second hour of riding was great.
This is definitely me. On nearly all rides and races, the warm-up and first part are hell. I need to will myself through those, but then I often feel like superman (if I can avoid being dropped the first half). That's one reason I've kept pushing these past few weeks. Sometimes it has worked, but more and more, the second half doesn't come to life like it should.
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Old 07-07-21, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by goose70 View Post
This is definitely me. On nearly all rides and races, the warm-up and first part are hell. I need to will myself through those, but then I often feel like superman (if I can avoid being dropped the first half). That's one reason I've kept pushing these past few weeks. Sometimes it has worked, but more and more, the second half doesn't come to life like it should.
If you are constantly riding with a group then you probably are overreaching for your current level of fitness. It's not a bad thing to overreach on occasional rides. To a certain extent it's how you tell your body you want to get better.

You should be riding more rides by yourself or with a very few others that also feel worn out after riding with the group. Those rides should be a fair amount of just comfortable riding at what ever speed you can comfortably maintain at that moment. Eventually you'll be one of the few that find the group ride too slow and might at that time want to get with another group. But only riding at overreaching efforts will put you in a performance plateau where you'll never get much better.... IMO.

Still, you need to get those night sweats checked out. Unless your homes thermostat is raising the temps while you sleep, then that's something odd. Also IMO.
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Old 07-07-21, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Still, you need to get those night sweats checked out.
Yes, going in for a routine physical this month and will raise that issue with my doctor.
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Old 07-07-21, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by goose70 View Post
I thought about that, but my teammates have mostly bee vaxed and most seem to be doing fine in training/racing. Of course, I do understand that YRMV when it comes to these shots. I did not have the bad fever or other extreme reactions that some get, but for both shots I felt unbelievably sleepy for days after --- really for almost a week after the second one. It pretty well mimicked how my body responded when I had Covid for real in early 2020, which makes sense I suppose. For now, I agree with the plan to work through what I can control. I'm going to get a bit stricter on the diet, rest this week (walking, light riding), see where things stand next week and go from there. At least this isn't my day job and I can have "fun" experimenting until I figure it out.
Quite so. I've learned what I know about training by experimenting on myself. Many sources have ideas, but practice tells the story. Everyone's different. I win some, lose some, but it doesn't really matter. Knowledge is the prize. May we never cease from our explorations.
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Old 07-07-21, 05:45 PM
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I don't know if age has anything to do with this./ I don't know how old you are? I used to tour on a fully loaded touring bike, about 800 miles a week without fatigue/ problems/ night sweats/ sore legs. (I was 25 then) It does not sound like you are riding that much. My opinion is that you have an underlying medical condition.
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Old 07-07-21, 05:49 PM
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I had Night Sweats when I had TB.

Night sweats Causes - Mayo Clinic
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Old 08-19-21, 12:12 AM
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In my 30s I was definitely over training. I rode 6 days a week and sometimes 7. 5000 miles a year was pretty standard for 3 years until I cut back to 3000. During the high mileage, high intensity years I had regular night sweats where I would soak not just me but the top and bottom sheets. To go with that, I would get incredible leg cramps at the most in opportune times, like dinner parties or at the movies, etc. Needless to say, I was also consuming insane amounts of calories just to maintain what little weight I had (6’2” 150 lbs). When I cut back on riding the sweats disappeared and the cramping became far less frequent.

When I got back into cycling again, courtesy of COVID, I started by doing what I used to do, which was riding for 3 or 4 hours. Back came the cramps with a vengeance (due to poor hydration and loss of salts and electrolytes). Occasionally now I will wake up hot, but not sweating and am finally getting into suitable shape again to be getting a few best times for my age bracket.

So overdoing it can lead to night sweats - never bothered to investigate but I’m sure the Google knows, so back off and slowly start ramping up your intensity and distance. If you start sweating the bed, back off AND go see your PCP.
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