Did TR gave me way too much intensity based on my life situation?

I need some guidance on what to do going forward when using TR plans and based on my life situation

Things with TR worked until they didn’t this year. I dug myself into a hole by going too deep on my TR workouts to the point where it’s been 2 months since June where my legs have felt super heavy and unable to hold power on any workouts. Even on recovery rides, RPE feels way high. The First 6 months this year all went excellent. Many all-time PRs and FTP kept raising. My progression levels kept going up. I was able to get to “7” on the Threshold which is very difficult mentally and physically. Sustaining 2x20 at FTP isn’t something you can do every day. So PL seems to help with a good and smooth progression.

Then around June is when things stop working. my legs felt super heavy. I thought it was just normal fatigue so I reduced the intensity but didn’t help. I inserted a recovery week, but that didn’t help. Then I took a complete week off and then again, legs super heavy, even for things that were supposed to be very achievable. Because taking a week off didn’t work, I am taking this time about 2 weeks off. At this point, I want to get my legs back

A bit of context:
90% of my workouts this year were all indoors, but even when I did outdoor riding I was still doing structure. I went with the MV Plans. I went with the Climbing road race plan. Also, have to say that in terms of TSS, year to year things seem relatively the same. I know TSS doesn’t tell the whole picture. Also the number of hours, relative things remained the same. All I change this year was the training plan and I used TR Plan Builder. Last year I used TR Rolling Road Race. I have an 8 to 5 job with limited time to train. I have been doing TR structured training for 5 years, all with TR. And always using MV plans all these 5 years. So no changes there. I didn’t change anything drastically in my diet, maybe increase a bit of my daily protein intake. I am vegetarian and I have been for the last 4 years. Sleep about 8 to 9 hours every day. Sometimes good quality, other times not so good. I am 42 years old and my weight is about 135 pounds. My motivation was never severely impacted. Throughout this whole year, I never felt not want to ride my bike.

I would love to hear what others are doing in similar situations. Should I do low-volume plans next year? do my structured training during the week, and then on weekends only do Z2 stuff? Is TR prescribing way too much intensity based on my life situation?

Sorry, If this is a bit repetitive from other posts in this forum

Are you using Adaptive Training or just added plans via Plan Builder?

  • I ask because you never mention any Workout Surveys, or what AT might have changes as you began to struggle.
  • Without AT at the wheel, it’s up to you to recognize when things start to come off the rails, and then make changes accordingly. Continuing to do workouts with mounting fatigue and no changes is not going to self-correct.
  • No changes, but you are 5 years older, which can make a big difference. I and others noted big changes in what works and doesn’t when not far from your age.
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Yes, I am using adaptive training, and that is the thing I thought AT would catch some of these things. also responded to the survey about how I felt. I did notice toward the end of May and June, that my survey was more towards ALL OUT or VERY HARD. I even contacted support the amount of intensity and why some blocks had more weeks of intensity vs others. Some blocks would have 3 weeks and 1 of recovery but others are 4 weeks of intensity and 1 of recovery.

So kind of adding more to what I said, the other thing different this year apart from the Training Plan. This year was the first year using AI FTP Detection, AT, and Plan Builder

Super good point on being 5 years older. I know is obvious but I agree 100% that can make a huge difference

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Hi! Sorry to hear that :confused:
Intensity management can definitely be a concern with the TR plans, but there are a couple of other things I’d wonder about particularly given the longer term of your issues. (In most cases, I think you’ll start noticing symptoms of intensity-related burnout before it gets to the point where you’re down for months.)

  • You mention you’ve been on TR plans for 5 years- have you had many breaks? Taken offseasons or periods of less structured riding? Trying to build FTP indefinitely will catch up with you eventually, especially if you’re just cycling through base/build blocks without the taper or recovery periods usually associated with events.
  • Have you spoken to a GP or had any blood work done recently? Issues like iron deficiency occur gradually and are easy to overlook in the initial stages, but once you get to a certain point they can massively impact performance.
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@toribath97 Super good points

related to noticing some symptoms, I think that is definitely an area that I need to pay more attention to. the closest today were the surveys. and to that point, I contacted support because in some cases I answered some surveys in MAY as VERY HARD and AT didn’t make adjustments. I was told that VO2 and Threshold workouts are supposed to feel very HARD. then I start answering the surveys as ALL OUT, but by then it was June and it was already too late.

yes, Every year I try to have 2 weeks off. My last week off was in November. And I like I said I took a week off 2 weeks ago but that didn’t help

Super good point about blood work, I did schedule an appointment with my GP and going to ask for blood work. they are so backed up right now so my appointment is not until the end of this month

See my post on the thread about tomorrow’s podcast:

Adaptive training only knows about your workouts/activities. While I’m sure that is enough to mostly get things right I feel like it’s missing what you’re doing the rest of the day which could cause it to be wrong in it’s assumptions of recovery

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Be careful if there is any diagnosis of hypothyroidism and they want to get you on supplements. Talk to the doctor for details but basically if you have a properly functioning thyroid overtraining can cause the general blood test to show that your thyroid is not working and will get you on thyroid medicine but taking doneness can cause the thyroid to function less optimally so you’ll need somewhere the rest of your life. There are other markers that should be looked at. Can’t find where I read that right now though

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Second on the bloodwork. You should aim for doing it every six months. Iron, vitamin D, testosterone, blood cell count, inflammation markers come to mind. I also wouldn’t be going anywhere near a bike in the short term.

I had chronic fatigue from over training when I was 20. It got to the point where I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without taking a break. my blood markers were all normal. Muscle biopsy normal. Urine normal. It was 20 years before I got back on the bike and I’m still nervous it’ll come back.

FWIW. I joined TR two months ago. Before that had been back on the bike for a year. TSS was around 700-1000 a week. It’s now 400-600 a week and I feel more tired.

Be super conservative.

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I agree with the others.
You should definitely try to rule out other causes. If something that used to be doable and sustainable for you before gets very, very hard, you should find out whether you are ok.

In particular, try to rule out any medical reasons such as long Covid and deficiencies. I have heard of (and know personally of) cases of long Covid, for example, whose symptoms include reduced energy levels. To be clear, I’m not saying I suspect you have long Covid, I’m not a medical doctor, just that if you feel something is off, get yourself checked out by a medical professional you trust.

Independently of a diagnosis, I’d drop the volume now and focus on recovery. Since you cannot sustain the current volume, I suggest to switch to low volume or even just use TrainNow once or twice a week. If that is still too much, take a break in your training. You shouldn’t insist on FtFP, but Adapt the F’ing Plan according to the circumstances.

Listen to your body. Trying to oughen it out is not a good recipe in the long run.

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@OreoCookie good point about medical issues. This is why I am meeting with my GP soon. I agree something is off. To your point, I was able to keep up

also, I agree about dropping volume and intensity. I am battling between taking 10 days off or simply doing only Z2 stuff until I recover

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I have a Fenix 6

I started to track my HRV every morning using HRV4TRAINING but that was when things started to go downhill so I don’t have a baseline

My RHR remains the same

Sleep data from my FENIX 6 don’t show anything big. My average quality of sleep month to month this year shows withing ± 2 percentage points. In other words, don’t see a trend

In addition to above points, what about cooling / temperature where you’ve done your last workouts?

Even if these were done indoor, indoor June temp might have been a lot warmer than indoor January.

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I would skip any structured training and just ride when you feel up to it, according to how you feel. Don’t let the stress of adhering to a training program make things worse. Ride for enjoyment for now.

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If it is that bad, I’d just stop training and just ride for fun. Don’t push yourself, if you get too competitive in group rides, do solo rides. Cycling should be fun, and if it isn’t, it is no bueno. Just stop, relax and do something that is good for you. And if you don’t feel like riding, then don’t.

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Yes. Riding hard generates a lot of stress and needs to be moderated.
Even more if you are small and powerful. There is a reason pros still ride around 200w instead of 270w with 400w ftps.
It is a small miracle that you lasted 5 whole years.

Really sorry to hear about your situation. I have not been in a similar situation physically, only mentally. I hope you recover well.

Besides all the good points already mentioned I personally would not continue on the bike for a while. Get your blood checked up, rest completely for as long as needed and start back up with something new. Hit the gym, run, or pick up some activity that’s fun and exciting. Be patient and when you feel like it’s time to smash the pedals force a bit more rest on yourself. Start back up ultra slow and don’t jump right back into structured training.

The reason you are burned out is probably because your incredibly dedicated to what you do, cycling among other things. This is what eventually will get you right back on top again but next time with more experience to balance and prevent a future burnout. You will come back a stronger version of yourself, so just be patient.

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Alan Couzens has some good information his blog about HRV. This is an example HRV vs Training Response | Alan Couzens

Since you are asking what other do in similar situation… I have been with TR since end of 2014 and I am happy I found TR then. But in the past 2-3 years every attempt at following a TR plan, fixed or adaptive, ended with me not being able to manage intensity. I have seen improvements by increasing Z2 volume and adding an intensity block 1-2 months before a race. Sadly, this August I will not be renewing my subscription.

For context, my FTP bumps to 4wkg or close at 260-270. My LT1 is estimated at 200-210. VO2max at 57-59. I believe my limiters are something TR cannot help fix: Fatmax and muscle mass.

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I have a bit of a love /hate releationship with TR, it’s plans have almost destroyed me, and are way to much for me (I’m 52 years old, 69kg, FTP in the 260 region, asthma and T1 diabetic) and left me a wreck (thank god we have got past the days when posting things like that in this forum lead to ‘you’re wrong’ TR have the data, trust the process)

At the end of the day TR is a tool, nothing more, all the hype about AT and “the right workout every time” is just that, and you still need to, before every workout ask yourself, what am I capable of today, and ignore the ego, TR doesn’t know about outside factors and can’t adust the workout to compensate

I left TR september time, had a lot of success doing a lot more zone 2 and 2 hard workouts a week, came back and to TR, and had some success using the PL to select my workouts, suddenly I am really struggling to complete workouts, but it’s got nothing to do with TR, it’s the lack of sleep by the mini heat wave, diabetes playing up because of the change of weather, and my inability to listern to my boody/Whoop rather than my ego and just go “you know what, I’m not going to do that breaththrough workout today”, I am going to something more achievable

Alternatives and PL are a great tool to achieving that, you just must not trust TR to tell you when you need to use them

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I’d also stress the need for blood work. Prior to TR I had become the club champion at 42 (admittedly the best rider set his sights on bigger things, rather than the club championships; the 2nd best rider broke his collar bone; and my direct remaining competitor who might of beat me didn’t want to do the hill climbs, even if he was last in the HC I suspect he would have still pipped me). In summary I was in reasonable shape at 42years, if anything I was too light at 140lbs/ 5 ft 9 in. Then I had a one of blood loss which I put down as piles. My form then started to dip, and then dramatically so. People (me included) put it down as overtraining and I stupidly pressed on for 6 months or more before seeing a Doc. A simple blood test from them revealed straight away I had a chronic iron deficiency. I forget the exact numbers but it was something like 135 parts iron is normal, 35 parts is worry some, 15 is catastrophic. I was 12 after I had done the LEJOG (although two days I was in the support car, now I know why). Tests were coming back clear and I was 90% vegan I thought (wrongly again) the lack of iron was a cause of my diet. So I started eating more meat. Its only really then the classic symptoms of my then condition showed namely regular sore/ upset stomachs in addition to the fatigue (I still never saw the other major symptom, rapid weight loss, I was gaining weight slightly). As the sore stomachs got more frequent and more severe; I finally started to get very worried. Thankfully, at the same time it emerged that a rear endoscopy had been stuck in the NHS system for 3-4 months (was this because this was the one outsourced test, the inhouse front endoscopy was done within a week of my iron deficiency diagnosis :thinking:), The rear camera found it it was a growing bowel (colon) cancer and I was in hospital for an operation the next week. Once that was whipped out though I started to recover rapidly and even through chemotherapy and two-three years later I am fitter and stronger (over distance at least) than I ever was :+1:. I do consider my self very lucky though, if it had burst out of the bowel it would have been game over. I am also annoyed at myself, if I had been more proactive in getting it diagnosed it might have been it could have got scraped out by the endoscopy without the need for an operation or chemo :thinking: :thinking:

Back to TR plans, when I initially joined TR I did feel its plans (maybe in conjunction with my first use of ERG) had too much intensity judging by the numerous niggles (in my calves/knees) I was getting but since the plans have been reworked I’ve not really had a problem, perhaps also now because I am more selective about my use of ERG.

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