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High RPE, increase in resting HR and loss of weight

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High RPE, increase in resting HR and loss of weight

Old 05-31-22, 05:03 AM
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Pertoni
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High RPE, increase in resting HR and loss of weight

Dear fellows cyclists
I briefly introduce myself so I can give some more details. I am a 24 years old boy living in Palma de Mallorca. I have a lot of time to train (whether this is a fortune or not, I still wonder myself). I started cycling after a metatarsal fracture due to running high mileage, this was February 2021. Then I got a bike for the first time in my life and I found out that I could train as much as I wanted and my bones and joints were free of impact.
I gently but still rapidly gained a lot of weekly hours. Basically is from June 2021 that my weeks are 20 and more hours of training. I gotten do 25, even 28 hours to push myself.
My training regime is very unstructured. I basically do 2 "intensity day" a week and they could be long and very hard ride with my group (I would compare to racing efforts). If I don't go out with the Boyz, then I do some interval during long rides on my own. Unfortunately I am not a lover of interval on the bike so I really don't give my 100% like when I am with others.
From Feb2021 till April2022 I reached 280w of FTP (178cm X 62 kg), when I started was 210 but part of this low beginner power I believed was due to inexperience.
In the last two weeks I feel good but my power numbers are at least 30w less at the same "April RPE". In the recent days my resting heart is 10bpm higher and I believe to have dropped some kg, this morning I am steady at 60. More than the scale, I can mirror myself and realize I am clearly skinnier. I can also say that at the end of April (I arrived to 64kg) I was flying. I didn't do an FTP test but still, my endurance power was high and was almost impossible to drop even with the strongest-first category guys in my group. Then two/three weeks ago this crisis started. Something to add, when this fitness hole begun also a huge hot weather wave started here in Palma de Mallorca, when before I was riding at 20 degrees.
I am very confused on the course of action now... I have been training for an year and a half and never experienced something like this. I almost followed the same pattern of 3 big weeks of training and 4 to 7 days of reducing TSS by 60/70%. In September I also took a 7 days bike free period to recover
​​​​​
What would you suggest? I really appreciate your time and effort to read and reply

​​​​​​Have a lovely day
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Old 05-31-22, 06:14 AM
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Your body is dealing with too much stress, whether it is just the riding or a combination of factors is unknown. Factors like insufficient sleep, travel, family stress, money stress, etc. will all add to your overall load/stress and given the heat there recently, you could be dehydrated (doubtful but possible).

This is what I would do

1. Take 3-5 days rest. No cycling. Rest.
2. Really try to make sure you are hydrated
3. Resume training when HR resting is more normal. Start with some zone 2 easy rides and if RPE is normal, all is fine
4. In the future, monitor heart rate variability (HRV) to get an earlier warning to back off.

If the above does not restore balance, you could be sick. Losing 30W, 10 BPM increase in resting HR, and 4 kg lost weight are screaming......"REST"
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Old 05-31-22, 08:27 AM
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You definitely sound very lucky to be able to ride up to 28 hrs a day at a young age. Either you're already retired or your job is easy with good pay at very good work hours in a very good location for riding

Ironically, I have similar amount of free time BUT if I actually spend all of it in riding, I'll have no energy left for my demanding job and perhaps, not enough time for rest.

I only spend up to 6 hours of serious training per week to balance my energy for work. I can have up to 10 hrs of riding per week but anything beyond 6 hours are easy rides.
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Old 05-31-22, 08:53 AM
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20 hours/week? When was the last time you took a rest or dialed it down to a much easier week?
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Old 05-31-22, 11:42 AM
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There are two things which can happen when you train too much, too hard. The first thing which happens is called overreaching. It's no big deal. The second is called overtraining. It's a very big deal and it can take up to a year to recover from that. When one overreaches, one's power starts to drop off. The common symptom is that one has to shift to an easier gear than usual to get up a familiar hill, thus one feels a little weaker. The problem is that riders (and runners) may think that they are weaker because they aren't training hard enough so they train harder, which only makes them weaker. If they figure this out too late, it can become overtraining, which I think is a sort of glandular disease. You can't go hard anymore and it takes a long period of resting for your system to get back to an untrained normal from which you can maybe start again.

As I said, overreaching can be a good thing. You want to get tired enough that you need to rest, and while you are resting you get stronger. This is called supercompensation. One can tell that one is overreaching as I said above by noticing how hard it is to do a familiar climb. From using your heart rate monitor, you should know what your heart rate (HR) should be when you start to climb. You'll know how it should respond. If your HR doesn't rise like it normally does and instead stays abnormally low, you have overreached and should turn around and ride easy on the way home. The normal response is to rest a day, then try the climb again, repeating that until your HR behaves normally.

It sounds like you've been taking your resting HR every morning when you get up. If your morning resting HR is 6 or more beats over your normal resting HR, you should rest instead of riding or at least just take an easy spin. The next day, your resting HR should be normal again and you're ready to go. It can take a few weeks of watching your morning HR and riding HR to learn your personal pattern of HR variation in your training and thus to know what is normal and what is not.

Another slightly more sensitive way to monitor morning HR is to also take your standing resting HR after your resting HR. Stand up and watch your HR for 3 minutes. Note your average HR for the last 30" of that 3 minutes. From that number, subtract your resting HR. The result is called your orthostatic HR (OHR). If your OHR goes up to 10 beats more than your normal amount, you definitely need to rest, as above. I usually take a rest day if my ORH is 8 beats too high.

The best thing to do now is to follow the advice in post #2 and see what happens. Don't do anything hard until you feel normal again. I've just been filling you in on what happened and how to prevent it in the future.

I've had that feeling of being unstoppable just like you say, and then the let-down of feeling only human.
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Old 05-31-22, 12:44 PM
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OP: I am guessing you are not overtrained. I did that once. Not fun. For a young athlete with the base that you have, it would take more than a couple of weeks of over doing it in order to reach the overtrained level with adrenal fatigue and overall messed up endocrine system. My normal load for this time of year would be 20-30 hours per week and I am much older than you. You mentioned cutting back TSS quite significantly every 4th week. What works for me to avoid overreaching is to look at my TSB, my sleep, my mood, desire to train hard, and my heart rate variability (HRV) together. In other words watch how you feel more closely. If they say take a rest day, I take one. Why???

It took me decades to learn this simple fact. We ONLY get stronger when resting after a load is put on our systems. Not resting enough is a common problem. Now, you are young and full of testosterone and growth hormone. Old farts like me cannot possibly recovery as fast as you. I learned my lesson the hard way. It took me about 6 months to recovery from pounding myself into a hole week after week. A couple days of rest can actually make you stronger but I try to NEVER take two zeros unless there is something wrong, like I simply rode too hard too many days in a row. This take some discipline and courage to tell the Boyz you need a rest day.

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Old 05-31-22, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
20 hours/week? When was the last time you took a rest or dialed it down to a much easier week?
Not really that bad but I found better quality training at much less hours can have better results. The OP did admit to poor quality training.

It wouldn't be surprising to find they may not be fueling well enough during the ride as well. A hard 3 hour ride requires huge amount of calories. That's at least two bottles of electrolyte drinks and lots of food bars or gels, w/e. If you don't bring such items, you need to make food stops along the way.
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Old 06-01-22, 04:28 AM
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First, thanks everyone for the nice, professional and polite answer!
I admit that training like a professional (hourly wise) is ineffective for an amateur. It takes time from other activities that maybe enrich daily life, plus some days sleep and rest are sacrificed to have space for training. Still, I like riding. It's a drug and makes me happy, it's hard to say whether I have a safe mental relationship with training or not but... It is wat it is
Today and tomorrow I will take two days completely off as I am traveling for work and plus I was already planning this rest as I will transition again to some intensity. In the last 17 days I did 66h of real base Z2 riding and some rest will make me ready to start pushing again maybe
Let's see! What, again, surprise me is the fact that I have been following the same training scheme for an year and a half without encountering problems
Maybe, my body slowly gained stress over the course of months and now I pay the bills
I will keep you updated!
Have a nice day amigos
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Old 06-01-22, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
There are two things which can happen when you train too much, too hard. The first thing which happens is called overreaching. It's no big deal. The second is called overtraining. It's a very big deal and it can take up to a year to recover from that. When one overreaches, one's power starts to drop off. The common symptom is that one has to shift to an easier gear than usual to get up a familiar hill, thus one feels a little weaker. The problem is that riders (and runners) may think that they are weaker because they aren't training hard enough so they train harder, which only makes them weaker. If they figure this out too late, it can become overtraining, which I think is a sort of glandular disease. You can't go hard anymore and it takes a long period of resting for your system to get back to an untrained normal from which you can maybe start again.

As I said, overreaching can be a good thing. You want to get tired enough that you need to rest, and while you are resting you get stronger. This is called supercompensation. One can tell that one is overreaching as I said above by noticing how hard it is to do a familiar climb. From using your heart rate monitor, you should know what your heart rate (HR) should be when you start to climb. You'll know how it should respond. If your HR doesn't rise like it normally does and instead stays abnormally low, you have overreached and should turn around and ride easy on the way home. The normal response is to rest a day, then try the climb again, repeating that until your HR behaves normally.

It sounds like you've been taking your resting HR every morning when you get up. If your morning resting HR is 6 or more beats over your normal resting HR, you should rest instead of riding or at least just take an easy spin. The next day, your resting HR should be normal again and you're ready to go. It can take a few weeks of watching your morning HR and riding HR to learn your personal pattern of HR variation in your training and thus to know what is normal and what is not.

Another slightly more sensitive way to monitor morning HR is to also take your standing resting HR after your resting HR. Stand up and watch your HR for 3 minutes. Note your average HR for the last 30" of that 3 minutes. From that number, subtract your resting HR. The result is called your orthostatic HR (OHR). If your OHR goes up to 10 beats more than your normal amount, you definitely need to rest, as above. I usually take a rest day if my ORH is 8 beats too high.

The best thing to do now is to follow the advice in post #2 and see what happens. Don't do anything hard until you feel normal again. I've just been filling you in on what happened and how to prevent it in the future.

I've had that feeling of being unstoppable just like you say, and then the let-down of feeling only human.
I really appreciate your reply! Detailed and useful! I will surely use your tips for the future
Thanks!
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Old 06-01-22, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Pertoni View Post
First, thanks everyone for the nice, professional and polite answer!
I admit that training like a professional (hourly wise) is ineffective for an amateur. It takes time from other activities that maybe enrich daily life, plus some days sleep and rest are sacrificed to have space for training. Still, I like riding. It's a drug and makes me happy, it's hard to say whether I have a safe mental relationship with training or not but... It is wat it is
Today and tomorrow I will take two days completely off as I am traveling for work and plus I was already planning this rest as I will transition again to some intensity. In the last 17 days I did 66h of real base Z2 riding and some rest will make me ready to start pushing again maybe
Let's see! What, again, surprise me is the fact that I have been following the same training scheme for an year and a half without encountering problems
Maybe, my body slowly gained stress over the course of months and now I pay the bills
I will keep you updated!
Have a nice day amigos
I know just what you mean. Many folks on this forum including YT are probably diagnosable.
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Old 06-04-22, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Pertoni View Post
What, again, surprise me is the fact that I have been following the same training scheme for an year and a half without encountering problems
Maybe, my body slowly gained stress over the course of months and now I pay the bills
Sometimes it does take that long to wear yourself down. What was your training history like before you began cycling? It sounds like you did a lot of running. Did you sustain a similar regime in terms of daily stress or is that something you have ramped up in the last 18 months?
I bring this up because it's not uncommon for people to smash themselves pretty hard initially (usually in the first 6-12 months) and then burn-out i.e. their FTP hits a peak and then tails off, chronic fatigue sets it, etc eventually leading to OTS in the worst case if they don't back off (in reality most people lose interest/motivation before this stage).
Even pros face this potential issue when trying to maintain their form long term. 20+ hours per week of training requires serious management, especially in the heat.

Last edited by PeteHski; 06-04-22 at 04:16 AM.
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Old 06-04-22, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
What was your training history like before you began cycling?
I have been running at a volume of 10/12 hours a week for good six months before my metatarsal fracture
I believe my load when I was running is extremely lower to the bike now. Even if with running I was doing much more structured intensity training, with cycling I went well above the running stress. I can "feel" it regardless the TSS numbers ecc ecc
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Old 06-04-22, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Pertoni View Post
I have been running at a volume of 10/12 hours a week for good six months before my metatarsal fracture
I believe my load when I was running is extremely lower to the bike now. Even if with running I was doing much more structured intensity training, with cycling I went well above the running stress. I can "feel" it regardless the TSS numbers ecc ecc
Okay, I think if you are intent on doing 20+ hours of cycling per week you really need to consider nutrition, rest and structure pretty seriously. You are basically doing the same hours as a pro rider and even they back off from time to time and are generally walking a tightrope between success and injury/failure. It sounds like you ride pretty hard and long, but if you are starting to lose strength and power then it's clearly not doing you any favours. Have you thought about getting a coach or at least reading about how to plan your training and rest periods with more focus? Ultimately it depends what your goals are here, but if you are generally looking to improve your performance then maybe less hours riding, but in a more focused way, and maybe some off-bike strength work and genuine rest could be what you need to break through your current limit. 280W @ 62 kg is quite an impressive 4.5W/kg. 250W @ 60 kg is just under 4.2 W/kg. Still very respectable, but for a young guy riding up to 28 hours a week it is certainly a backward step compared to your previous peak. I get the impression some decent rest, nutrition and more focused training regime will get you back on track. Could just be the heatwave that has pushed you over the edge.
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Old 06-04-22, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
Okay, I think if you are intent on doing 20+ hours of cycling per week you really need to consider nutrition, rest and structure pretty seriously.
I always try my best! Thanks for the advice
Just to keep everyone updated. After the two days of rest I did 2 very long "ride easy" trips. They were long, one on flat and today on the mountain for 2700m elev gain. They took me 207 and 225 TSS but as the power was low and never in Z3 basically, I recover fast and I
feel good: heart rate still a bit high but after two days of rest is normal
Today at the very end of the 220tss ride I did some minutes a 190/200 watts. Was good. Breathing with the nose, legs were good and heart rate 145 which for my HrTHR of 183 means I am inside the Z2. It was much less hotter as was 7pm but still 3500kj went away, I feel the two days of stop made a bit their job
Hopefully my experience can help someone else, other than myself
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