Anyone else have this disconcerting response to all out 30 sec efforts?

I’ve been training with a coach for nearly 3 years. Last year was mostly a write off due to bizarre illness. I was able to train and ride, but with lots of rest and very carefully as my system was a mess. This year feeling much better again - except for this…

I don’t do it often, but when I do do all out 30 sec efforts (even just 3 over 15 - 20 mins) like today I feel truly terrible afterwards. I’ve never done the 30-30sec type workouts in my training, and I can’t image EVER being able to tolerate even 2 mins let alone 5 or more mins of 30/30 - not ALL OUT anyway. Today I probably gave about 95-98% max effort and road those 30 sec efforts around 550-560W (my FTP is 232W and I weigh 62 kg. I rarely train for it, but if it’s helpful to have, my 5 sec peak power is 873W – truly, not a sprinter! :slight_smile: ).

I actually wasn’t sure I’d make it home today. I thought I might faint or have a vasovagal reaction (which I’ve had for other reasons in the past). This isn’t a good enough description but I don’t know how else to name it excpet that the malaise was terrible. It’s not at all like the “feeling faint” towards the end of a hard interval or test or tt race. Thankfully, riding out my ride super slowly I got home alrigtht, but still felt lousy for hours. Sort of faint, fullness in my chest, occasional postural hypotension, just not right.

Last fall, my coach had me do both standing starts and rolling starts 10 secs or 15 secs - hard gear - max power - lots of rest bewteen intervals (4:30 mins for example). After the third week of 2 such workouts a week (interspersed with longer rides) I was soooo cooked. I’d get some of what I felt today. And then I had two weeks of terrible, hours long episodes of heart arythmias (not just palpitations and not tachycardia). It was very disconcerting.

I due tend towards low blood pressure (105/70 -ish – it fluctuates), and lower end of the HR spectrum. Resting HR in the morning around 48 when training regularly, and somewhat tired. Low 50’s when I’m tired tired. And as low as 42 when I’m really rested, fit and feeling good. Max HR is 170. And it is VERY hard for me to get my HR up above 165 BPM (except for last year when my whole system was WAY outa wack and my HR was way fast for the given work loads - but that was something else altogether). It absolutely shocks me that I have friends close to my age (48-52 year old) that reach HR’s in the 180’s during their workouts! That seems SO high for middle aged people on bikes, no?!

I’m 50 years old. I’ve told my doctor everything and so far all checks out okay. Amazingly good blood work, short ECG strip was normal, heart sounds normal etc. My doctor suspects peri-menopause with fluctuating hormones at every level (not just sex hormones) was likely the cause of those arhythmias. To make absolutely sure, she ordered a Halter monitor test, but it keeps getting pushed back for various reasons and I won’t be getting that done until January. And, in case it matters, I have a really good diet. We can all improve on everything, including nutrition, but I really do a pretty damn good job on this front.

I’ve never had such bad heart symptoms since last November. I still get them, but very short lived and only for a day here or there — not 8 hours every evening for two weeks!

Most of my training in the last year (besides base phase work) has been longer VO2Max intervals (5-8 minutes) and then lots of Sweet Spot work and Over Under Intervals. I’m not a road racer - I’m a Time Trialist. And my coach and I are trying to get me back to feeling better and tolerating more intensity slowly after such a rough year last year.

I think the neuromuscular workouts last fall were just to keep the end of the outdoor season (Canadian prairie winters are long and COLD) interesting and to work on some of my weaknesses before moving back to base training, cadence work etc. for the early part of the “indoor season”.

I’m known to be able to push myself pretty darn hard and can dig myself a hole. But after feeling so rough last year and being scared by those arhythmias last fall, I’m learning to listen to my body more. Besides, the fluxing hormones is wreaking havoc on my system on and off anyway - sleep now being the primary issue. I sometimes just HAVE to listen to my body better, I simply cannot get away with any pushing hard if I’m not getting enough rest – if I do – I can tell the wheels start coming off pretty quickly.

Still - I aspire to continue to improve my Time Trialing. My FTP has moved from 186W Dec. 2016 to 232 W. I weigh 62 kg (I can’t seem to reduce my middle aged middle. I used to be between 60.5 and 61.5 kg consistently. Now I can go as high as 64.5 kg overnight, literally, when I’m retaining water. It’s crazy). I suppose considering last year was sort of a write off, that’s not too terrible a progression. Still, I’d like to and think I can get quite a bit closer to 4 W/kg.

What might be making me feel so darn terrible for HOURS after neuromuscular work?

What goes through my mind is that if everything checks out health wise, that for some reason, neuromsucular type workouts make my autonomic nervous system go haywire. At least, that’s kinda what it feels like. Am I crazy?!

Honeslty, it absolutely blows my mind that anyone could possible go ALL OUT for 30 seconds and keep that same power after only a 30 second rest and repeat that for 5 mins or more. I can push myself hard, and have, but this…this just seems like something on an entire other order of magnitude harder for me. Do I not understand those 30sec on 30sec off workouts? Or is there something going on with me? What’s going on in my system?

I want to train hard, but I don’t want to feel so shitty after workouts, and I certainly don’t want to damage my health. Honestly, I don’t really care if I never do neuromuscular/sprint workouts as I don’t race road races of CX etc. Just time trials - but I’d liket to be a really good Master’s time trialist - ya know? Thoughts?

That does not seem normal. Go to the doc and do a wingate test or other all-out 30 second effort to get checked out.

Separately, 30/30 workouts (at least those on TR) are not all out. So very possible to do multiple blocks of 5 sets.

“All Out” is generally relative to the overall pacing of the full interval duration rather than the individual 30 second efforts. It’s better to think of the overall 5 minute time period as having an RPE of 10/10, where your best effort produces the max average power of each of the individual 30 second “on” efforts.

A full “all out 30 second max sprint” effort requires significantly more recovery, since you rapidly churn through your ATP and PCR stores and they take a while to replenish.

That doesn’t sound right. I would suggest you look at a Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing ( CPET ) to see if you can recreate the sensation in a lab environment. You may also want to look into a heart MRI. In any case, a cardiologist.

I recently had some of the symptoms you mention doing even easier workouts. It came on during a SS ride, and I didn’t think I would make it home. Was down with what felt like a virus for 2-3 days. Then tried to resume riding and had chest tightness, palpitations, high HRs, etc.

Turns out I had a viral infection in my heart. MRI showed it. And is consistent with what I have been dealing with for the last 4 years. After illness, or high stress, a secondary viral infection hits, usually my brain, this time, my heart. I eat right, sleep well, have good bloodwork, etc. None of that matters if it is a virus.

didn’t catch the details of your illness last year, but there are some similarities for what I have been going through over the last 4 years. All the normal tests came back fine.

@DaveWh, @stevemz, Thanks for the reply. And glad for the clarity on 30/30 workouts! Looks like I’ve got to go back to the doctor.

@llmonty, thanks for this - a virus was suspected last year - checked out for all kinds of other things in the rheumatological area as my platelets dropped, B12 dropped and parathyroid wasn’t good. But huge doses of vitamin D and regular B12 supplements and time seemed to bring most things back to normal, except for this inability to push really, really hard.

Virus affecting your heart - how was that treated? What did you do? How are you now?

I will go back to the doctor and complain some more. I have to admit, this is certainly frustrating, pretty disheartening, and a little bit scary.

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Yes, you have to be your own best advocate when it comes to your health!

I am OK. By the time they caught it, it was almost gone (5-6 weeks), so they didn’t do any treatment but asked that I not do “super hard” intervals until a clean MRI next month. I have tried to keep my HR under 90% max, and the few times it went beyond I didn’t feel great. When it has hit my brain, a week of anti-virals and steroids has knocked it down.

At 45, I have never been as active/fit as I am now, nor have I ever eaten/slept better. So it is frustrating that about 1x a year, I get sick (or injured), which knocks me way back. Never been as healthy, yet unhealthy. Ha! Frustrating for sure!

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@llmonty - thanks again - may my situation not get too bad. And hey - all the best with your own process! To health AND fitness!

I’m not clear on what the training objective is here. Typically 30/30 repeats are not all-out - they are at an intensity that can be repeated so the last repeat of each set is pretty much the last one you could do, but at a constant effort between the repeats. This means the first one is far from all-out, and the last one is at the same pace (running) or power (cycling) than the first one. These are usually part of a VO2Max workout.

Real all-out efforts fall into sprint training, and you don’t do those with a 1:1 effort:recovery ratio.

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@rocourteau - Yes - I’m now understanding what the 30/30 (or 40/20 etc) workouts are. It’s just that I’ve often read the description of such workouts online as being “all out” efforts. Now I understand what people are actually doing to make them all not. Thanks!

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