Anxiety, stress and fatigue

Hello everyone,

The four last months were pretty exhausting where I mixed both TrainerRoad consistent training (build, base + extremely demanding group rides) and a lot of stress and anxiety at work (my company is currently raising funds)… Anyways I didn’t feel very well, I felt pain chest. I have been to the cardiologist who told me my heart was fine but I was extremely tired and anxious so I should take beta blocker.

I am going to take 2 weeks of rest but of course I want to resume riding after that, especially to have the level for the weekend ride with my friends. What would you suggest ? I read that polarized training could be a solution and most importantly I should practice a lot of long z2 rides because It’s a good solution for anxiety and stress and you don’t feel extremely tired after that, you feel pretty fresh.

I need your feedbacks and suggestions, I have never been through that !

Thanks

(by the way I am 35, I ride for 5 years now)

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As a general principle for crisis management, it could be useful to go back to the bare minimum and see how you feel and start building up from there. Good luck!

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I can only speak of my own experience, but I am by far and away my own worst critic. I suspect you may be too. Try taking it easy.

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Focus on your health first. Sleep more. Eat better. Get outside. The bike will still be there when you recover.

As for training, I would say I find long slow distance tiring. More than I expected. In the last 2 months I have gone from 6-7 hours a week to 9+ with a polarized focus and longer trainer rides with only one high intensity ride. My legs feel very heavy all the time. I assume it’s from ramping up the hours. I have a stressful job, I’m a poor sleeper, and I can only do this because I have saved 2 hours a day in commuting during COVID. I say that to point out that you might be better off with a low volume/higher intensity plan than a high hourly commitment. I would try both and see.

Hi there. I suffer from anxiety and depression and know the struggle.

Stress is stress. Work stress can impact parts of your body like an interval can - just won’t make you faster (shame huh). So I do try to line up recovery and high stress times. And if I have a super stressful day - I’m not afraid to modify the ride to match my capacity.

Now as for chest pains. Is it a tightening feeling? Come on when laying down for bed? It could just be indigestion- I just started getting this symptom this year from common foods.

Take a crack at healthy eating and see if it helps that one symptom

Good luck. Don’t be afraid to miss an interval or lower intensity when the mind or body wants it.

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In addition to what others have mentioned, I’ll suggest working on the mental side of things. Do things that make you feel good like read a book, watch a movie, meditation, mindfulness, get massages spend time with your family or what ever you enjoy.

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I’ve just gone back on Headspace. I started feeling the benefits after one 10 minute exercise. It feels so good to just carve out a few minutes for yourself every day.

I’ve experienced similar symptoms to you numerous times over the last year. I’d ease off for a few days and then ramp back up at a level that feels comfortable for you. Actually getting back to hard work (one of the Kaweah workouts IIRC) made me realise that when the doctors said my heart was fine, it probably was.

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It’s pretty obvious that you are burning the candle at both ends. My guess is that TR progressions don’t plan on you doing demanding group rides. At a minimum, you have to substitute out workouts for those group rides.

You might try polarized now. Think of your group rides as events or races. Maybe do one workout midweek, and then the rest of your rides are easy endurance rides attempting to be fresh for your group rides.

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I would suggest that you should not put a time scale on it. As you have said, you have had an exhausting 4 months. Just take as much time as you need to regroup. The cycling should be helping relieve the stress of the other parts of your life, not adding to it.

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Thank you, your suggestion makes sense.
The 3 weekly TR workouts + a weekend group ride of 400 to 600 TSS is not sustainable.

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Did you really just say a group ride of 600 TSS? That is more than MVDP in Milan San Remo! how long were you riding for?

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Yep, doesn’t sound right. I racked up exactly 300 TSS doing a 4:30 hard solo last summer. I’d be surprised if a group ride cracked 200 TSS

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Lol. No. He said that was the total for all rides, including the group ride.

Sorry guys
I was quite exaggerating, rather

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FYI Strava’s ‘Relative Effort’ isn’t the same as TSS. It applies a multiplier based on your input RPE. Get your TSS from the TR app. Anyway, good luck with your situation - some good advice in the thread :grinning:

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Sure but I have a power meter on my bike and It’s close to this.
:wink:

as a counter argument, my ride today was 43 “relative effort” vs the 129 TSS. TSS is also a known formula that’ll be easier for others to understand

N=1 - I’ve been in this situation a few times (having children x 2, moving countries x 2, starting a business, selling a business…), I find the best approach is to just keep it really simple and listen to your body. Pretty much my only rule is to try and do something active nearly every day, because it’s good for managing the stress and mental health, and it’s a habit I’ve built over my whole life. But I go very much by feel each day, so that activity might simply be a <60 minute coffee ride or 20-30 minute jog to get outside and get some fresh air and vitamin D. Or could be anything up to a century ride at the weekend with friends. Basically whatever I feel like doing that is going to release the stress, not increase it.

I generally avoid having a scheduled plan because at times when I have a lot going on it can add to the stress/anxiety. E.g. if the plan says I have to do a 90 minute hard interval ride, but I’ve got a busy day where that’s hard to fit in before work and too long to fit in during the working day, then that workout can be hanging over me all day and I might end up not doing it at all if I don’t finish work until >7pm and am too tired to face it by that point. Or I attempt it and fail, which isn’t great either. Whereas if the plan is simply “do something” then there’s a good chance I’ll hop on the bike/trainer for a shorter ride before or during work, and get the stress relief and mental boost of having worked out. If I do have a plan it’s an extremely flexible one e.g. I’ll plan to fit in 1 x SS and 1 x VO2 workout each week, but I’ll pick the workout and the day for those depending on how the week pans out (I’m starting to use TrainNow to help pick workouts this way). Other 5 days will be “just ride” (or maybe just run, lift, swim…). Which I guess ends up being fairly polarised.

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My 13-year old son broke his arm on 28 December, it was a substantial injury requiring surgery. It was his first brush with mortality, and it affected me.

My training was out of whack for 2 weeks afterward, and I noticed immediately upon the first post-injury workout. My HR was much higher to sustain the same wattage I had much more easily reached only a few days before.

Point being, I probably had some mild PTSD with an associated stress response. It also affected my sleep. Fortunately for my case, it was situational, and resolved itself. I guess my experience proved that there is no real division between mind and body, and that training workload needs to reflect your current mental state as well as the physical state. The first few days after the injury, I couldn’t have done hard workouts if I had tried, and by not listening to my body, I could have experienced some unpleasant effects.

Just listen to your body and be kind to yourself. Not every moment in life can we punish ourselves with grueling workouts.

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This is really good advice. I would also add that I would focus on things you enjoy in training. If you like watching a film while on the trainer, do that; if you prefer outdoors, just do that.