Adjusting plan due to allergy

Long time TR-user seeking som advice, especially from folks dealing with allergies.

I was just about to finnish SSB2LV and was feeling really strong. I was expecting a bump in FTP before going into build (SPB). Unfortunately my season allergy kicked in a couple of weeks ago, so going into build now is not to think about. When it´s my pollen allergy season every workout is so extremly taxing. Both HR and RPE is much higher than normal.

Sustained power is my weakness and threshold and sweetspot workouts are just too demanding during allergy season. Therefore I’ve decided not to start build at this moment. But what should I do instead during the next 4-6 weeks? I can fight through shorter VO2max-intervals and do endurance work feeling pretty OK.

Apparently I’m the only one suffering from pollen allergy on this forum! =)

It all sounds so familiar. The hard efforts are so insanely hard, and the bodys ability to restore itself is severly limited during allergy seasons. I have got Three-allergies (March-April) and grass (May-Aug). I am doing immunization therapy for grass-pollen (1,5years) and I do believe that I will see the effects this summer. I asked a question regarding allergies to the podcast a while ago and learnt that Antihistamines will decrease the bodys ability to capitalize on hard training. Normally I eat antihistamines from March to end of August. This summer I plan to try only local antihistamines (nasal spray and eye drops). This of course depends of the results of the immunization therapy.
My training plan was built around the allergies, with easier loads in the worst allergy season.
I started with SSB1 and instead of going SSB2 i went to sustained build. The plan was to finish Sustained build and do a VO2 block before allergies kicked in, and then do SSB2 before another build. But, global warming has other plans and this winter have been so warm that allergies kicked in before finishing Build. Also, build was hard. I am now starting SSB2.

I often listen to the podcast but have obviously missed that part about Antihistamines decreasing the bodys ability to capitalize on hard training. It sounds like a questionable statement, so it would be interesting to read some studies on that subject. Any chance that you remember what podcast episode it was?
I definitely must get better in planning my training around the allergy in advance (like you do), but just like you wrote, it can vary a bit from year to year when the allergy season takes place.
Good luck with the immunization therapy by the way!

I deal with this every spring too, I would say one thing, make sure its allergies, or the treatment for them thats dragging your down. I was convinced that was the problem a couple of years ago only to find that I was over training, and underfueling due to the weather changes and just dealing with straight up fatigue.

I often wonder if the treatment isn’t worse than the effect until I skip a few days of antihistamine and end up laid up in bed with a “man-flu”. so I don’t know, I don’t plan to accomplish much this time of year, it keeps me from being utterly disappointed. I’m trying to ride tonight for the first time in two weeks because my head is about 90% clear, however, I did take antihistamine last night, so I know it won’t be too solid of a workout.

“You have my sympathies”. - Ash

Episode 199

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Thanks for the support! =)
Nice tip to keep the expectations low during allergy season! I’ll have to work on that, just try to hop on the bike and get some sort of workout done and not thinking to much about quality.
I’ve also tried skipping the antihistamines because of the tiredness they leave you with. But just like you I gave up on that and just accepted that I’m probably better of taking them anyways.

What specific antihistamine do you take? I find the side effects vary hugely depending on the type.

My allergies are quite specific, Timothy Grass and certain tree pollens, plus dogs and horses. I also suffer with oral allergy syndrome with certain fruits and nuts. Top that with asthma that is generally well controlled until the pollen comes and you have a guy who’s really great fun on an activity holiday in early summer…

At peak allergy season I don’t really have the choice of taking something or not, every few years I have ended up on steroids to help me breathing and have been hospitalised twice with acute symptoms.

Chlorphenamine Maleate knocks me out totally for 4+ hours but works well if have acute allergic symptoms.
Loratadine and Desloratadine don’t do much for me at all, either in relieving allergies or sleepiness.
Cetirizine hydrochloride I find no sleepiness but it is effective for short term / acute relief of allergies.
Fexofenadine is the sweet spot for me, it seems to work for a long period of time and deal with symptoms well including my asthma symptoms. This is prescription only in the UK, not sure where you are based.

My TR program was going great until a little over two weeks ago when the pollen count soared. I spent the next 5 days trying to get my allergies under control with antihistamines. Side effects from them include fatigue and a general sense of fogginess, but at least I can breathe relatively well, sleep through the night, and not have a constant scratchy/sore throat. Unfortunately, I’m now unable to complete aerobic workouts which I previously would have and Sweet Spot workouts like Antelope -1 are far more challenging. I feel oxygen deprived - like riding at altitude - can’t maintain a high cadence (>95RPM), and not recovering between intervals.

Should I:

  1. continue with the program and reduce the intensity after riding to failure, or
  2. continue with the program, but reduce the intensity at the start of each workout (perhaps by 10%), or
  3. substitute Sweet Spot and Tempo rides for the aerobic ones, or
  4. sit on the couch, sip espresso, watch the Giro, and hope the pollen count goes down and my allergies subside?


It won’t help short term, but I have done allergy shots in the past and they helped tremendously. I stopped doing them a couple years ago, but we just got a new dog so I am starting again.

Yes, I should have mentioned that I’ve been doing immunotherapy shots for the past 3+ years and go in for an injection every two weeks. I also use a saline nasal rinse (NeilMed) twice-a-day, every day, year round. All this stuff helps, but there’s still a significant drop in performance.

My annual plan is built around spring allergy season.

I’m a bad allergy suffer as well pretty much from spring to fall. I use Zyrtec daily as well as a nasal spray. It helps, but I’ve just accepted that my performance will suffer. When spring hit my FTP dropped and I can’t even do long endurance workouts now that I marked moderate over a month ago. Also, my first few races I’ve done I under performed.

It’s frustrating, but it’s a reality. I’m fortunate I have the time and the ability to do high volume plans, so I just focus on the positives. It’s a long season and I know at one point it will come together. I’ll typically have a great performance when I least expect it.

This year I just fought through it, but I was pretty knackered after the hard workouts combined with the allergy. I hope I didn’t do any long-term damage to myself. Next year I will probably take the intensity out but otherwise continue to train normally. I fortunately only have severe symptoms in early spring.