Am I overtrained?

About 2 weeks ago, 3 things started happening: (1) hard efforts during a ride brought me to my knees - what would usually take 15 seconds of easy pedaling to catch my breath turned into 60 seconds of no pedaling; (2) my normalized power over long rides dropped by 10%; and (3) my heart rate moved up a zone - my heart rate at sweet spot now is what it used to be at threshold, etc. I’ve tried short periods of rest (I was off the bike 3 consecutive days this week) but they have not helped much. The whole deal is aggravated by the fact that I’m on my feet all day when working, so a day off the bike doesn’t always help the legs that much. Complicating factors over the past few months: 9.5 hour mtb race with no rest period after, gave blood, started taking an ACE inhibitor for blood pressure. Would appreciate any advice. Thanks!!

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I can’t comment on the ACE inhibitor since I’m not a doctor, but the race and giving blood could certainly cause what you are seeing. Especially the blood donation. How long ago did that happen? Blood volume is one of the bigger factors in fitness, so taking out 10-15% of your blood volume could definitely be it.

I looked at your profile but it doesn’t seem to have any outdoor rides so it’s hard to really comment on the training load part of the equation.

I would shoot your doctor a message about the effects of the ACE inhibitor to see if that could be a contributor. Then, depending on your upcoming goals, I would take some good time away from hard efforts to see how that helps.

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Great advice - thank you!!

How deep did you go in your 9.5 hour race? After my 8.5 hour MTB 100 race I took a complete week off the bike, then inserted an even easier than normal recovery week of riding. Following that I had a ramp test (FTP -3%).

This was a planned mid season break to recover the mind, body and endocrine system. This followed a Base, Build, 1/2 Base, Build, Specialty plan leading into that race. Taking a few days off if you are far overreached will not be enough.

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Overtrained? Dunno…

It actually can take quite a lot to become truly over trained, but I’d definitely take a week off and see where you are then.

Well, definitely giving blood can make you meek for a couple weeks!

Looks like your 6wk avg TSS went from ~260 in March to ~150 as of a couple weeks ago. That could also be a complicating factor. But I’m not sure if your calendar is populated with all the riding you’ve been doing. That’s a big reduction in training load over a pretty extended period of time…so I wouldn’t be surprised if you were just de-trained a little bit.

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It might just be normal. I think we like to imagine our power does what we want (stays constant or goes up) but it ebbs and flows up and down. 9.5hr mtb sound extreme but maybe you were fit for it so idk.

Impossible to diagnose as true overtraining which is a clinical syndrome—likely not though since that takes an incredible amount of stress over a long period of time. Please elaborate on the last 8 weeks of your training.

You could be over stressed and your sympathetic nervous system is in over drive and high levels of cortisol are present.

Take 3-5 days completely off the bike, re-assess after a ride. Don’t jump into a hit session, but do something like 45-60 min of endurance with a 3-5 minute sweet spot effort just to gauge fatigue.

I’m sort of in a rut myself where power is dropping and RPE is increasing. This has gone on for 2-3 weeks now. I chalk it up to too much intensity. Taking 3 days off and then easing back in.

Rest is best

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Thank you!!

Thanks! My outside rides are not in TR, which is why the TSS appears to go down. It has actually stayed pretty consistent at about 450/wk.


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Thanks. I went pretty deep and decided to not take an easy week after, because I had vacation coming up and would rest then. But vacation (Hawaii) ended up being hiking and running every day so not much rest. I think you’re right about needing more than a few days. I just don’'t know what I’ll do with myself if I’m not riding my bike on the weekend. Thanks again!

Nothing wrong with biking a little. Just keep the intensity super low (like barely touch Z2) and the rides short. Maybe do a ride to coffee or ice cream with someone who is slower and a more casual rider than you (your wife, kids, etc.) to keep it fun and to have a different goal then to just push the pedals.

No, you are not overtrained, you are just carrying some larger fatigue. Not taking rest after a long and hard race was the first mistake. Donating blood will drop performance for sure. Heck, think about all the years of blood doping and cyclists putting more blood into their bodies for performance enhancement.

Some rest would be a good thing and I do not mean a TR recovery week. Those have a good amount of zone two riding in it. I’m more talking about a few days to a week off the bike if feeling really crummy and then a week or so of stupid easy riding. Adjust from there.

I posted a while back what real overtraining looked like in a thread. I’ll attach the link below but if you do not want to read an extended write-up, I can summarize a bit. Overtraining syndrome is something that takes you out of the game for years and takes a long time to develop. What you have described does not fit that definition.

My write up on overtraining

Make sure your power meter didn’t crap out and start reading low. Perhaps a battery swap is in order, just to be extra sure.

How are your Strava segment times compared to before?

The power meter is fine, but the strava segment is a good idea. I don’t use it much, but I’m gonna set it up, so I can diagnose these type things in the future. Thanks for the advice!

Thank you! That’s great advice and well thought out. Thanks again!


Summer heat?

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Definitely makes a difference!

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