I had been on a pretty good streak these last few months with regards to training and recovery an this was the second week of a build block. I was feeling a little tired a few hours before my Tuesday night interval ride and then I got the terrible news that a good personal friend/mentor had suddenly passed away (heart attack). I was in no mood to work out after than so I pushed it off to the next morning…
On that Wednesday morning workout even though the legs were not even sore I could not even get thru the warm up so skipped this workout and felt really tired at the end of the day so decided to just try to continue on Thursday (today).
I wake up in the morning and checked resting HR expecting it to be way lower as I had no workouts for the previous days and it was actually elevated to the same level as if I had done several hard workouts in the previous days. I know a lot of you will say DUH, but I’ve never really paid this close attention to this before and it’s interesting how external stress can take a real physical toll.
Anyway bike riding helps heal my mental wounds so after a pre-workout nap and some caffeine I was able to finish tonight’s workout and the weight on my chest feels slightly lighter.
Quick update, Saturday group ride went really well. Understandably i’m a little more “rested” but shudder to think about my mental and physical state If I tried to force the rides on Tuesday/Wednesday.
Ended up with higher IF in 1:30 than what was prescribed in the indoor training plan (.95 instead of .86) and even though legs were feeling good still I decided to smell the roses and spend the last 10 miles of the ride in endurance pace (which made things even more enjoyable).
Yeah it’s been a tough year for most of us. I’ve gone through some difficult emotional situations. I even stopped training entirely for about three weeks. I maintained some easy riding but just focused on my mental health and allowed the desire to train to return, rather than force through it. It’s all connected and important to remember why we ride bikes in the first place.
What you were/are experiencing is completely normal, and there has been a recent increase in interest in medical research on this phenomenon, at least in my field. Most of my knowledge revolves around how emotional status, and large psychological/emotional swings can affect our pain responses, but it makes perfect sense that it would affect us ergogenically, as well. For sure, passing on the scheduled workouts was the right choice in your case, and, perhaps more importantly, you also made the right move in not beating yourself up about it. It sounds like a combination of completing workouts once you were able, and being outside and just riding at an easier pace, was the right recipe for you.
It’s great that you chose to document your experience with this; hopefully it can help others see that emotional stress can have very real effects on athletic performance, pain perception, energy level, etc.