Feeling demolished during workouts, but fine inbetween?

I’ve been on TR for about a month and a half now, currently in SSBLVII.

I’ve noticed that during workouts, my legs light up extremely quickly and by the end, I’m usually head down, bobbing side to side, struggling to push the pedals, breathing quickly, heart rate 170-180, occasionally higher, etc. I’ve had to take extended rest and/or bail early on a couple of workouts, especially after getting an FTP bump after SSBLVI. (from 104 to 134, go easy on me, I’m coming off of 2 years off the bike lol)

However, I rarely feel any fatigue on my rest days, and often feel like I could go again just 20-30 minutes after a workout. If I do feel any soreness, it’s extremely slight.

Is this a lack of mental toughness, and/or is this discrepancy between perceived effort during a workout and recovery ability normal?

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From my experience, a lot of it is physically getting used to the workouts. As you said, you haven’t been on the bike a lot recently, and I am not sure if you did structured training before then.

I think it’s pretty normal to not feel terrible in between workouts but during the workouts. If I do more than 4 workouts per week, the recovery in between is difficult. But if I do 3/4 workouts, I’m normally fine in between, but can also be really exerted during the workouts. I think former is about total fatigue, and the latter about handling individual workouts.

Is your FTP from the ramp test or self input? Some other things to consider:

  • You could try a longer warm up.
  • Try to decrease the workouts from 1%-5% to see if that impacts how you feel.
  • Are certain workout types easier to handle? (ex. VO2 Max > Sweet Spot)
  • Do you have good cooling / nutrition / hydration for the workout?

If you feel the same negative way for every type of workout, your FTP is likely too high.

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Thanks for the response. I’ll try to address some of the things you brought up.

I first started riding in 2015, but did not do any serious training, just riding a couple of times a week. Rides were typically 20-40 miles and not at a super easy pace, but not at tempo either. Probably around 14-16 MPH. In 2017, I went back to school and stopped riding completely. Did not really touch the bike at all until the end of 2020, when I did some Zwift rides every day for 2-3 weeks, but then some other life stuff happened and then went completely off the bike again until starting TR in late June.

Since I am on low volume, it is only 3 workouts a week, 3.5 hours a week, so that could very well be part of it.

Both of my FTP numbers are from the ramp test. First one was after a couple of weeks off the bike with an estimated FTP of 96, and I lasted until 154%, which from what I’ve heard is kind of long for a ramp test, and it put me at 104w. Second test was after 6 weeks of SSBLVI, and I lasted even longer, until 178%, which put me at 134w. However, I immediately failed the next workout (Truchas -3) after the first interval in the second block, and it wasn’t even close. This was after taking an extended recovery period between blocks. I manually lowered my FTP to 120, which seemed much more reasonable after having completed Galena -2, which is a sweet spot ride. By the end, I was tired and starting to slow down, but I was able to keep my cadence up and complete the workout with some focus.

  • As for warming up, I’ve just been doing whatever has been built into the workout
  • I have had to decrease the intensity during workouts once or twice. One time I had to go down 10+% to feel doable, the other time just 2-4%. I don’t remember which workouts.
  • I haven’t been paying that much attention to the workout types to see if there’s a pattern, but endurance rides are pretty much the only ones that don’t leave me really tired.
  • For cooling, I have a Vornado tower fan on a table in front of me, but that’s it. I’ve been wanting to get one of those Lasko floor fans to add to my setup. I don’t have anything pointing at my back.
  • As far as nutrition, this has been a weak point for me my entire life, though I’m trying to be better about it lately. I’ve started using Cronometer to try to track my macros, and have also started using Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard because after starting Cronometer, I learned that I don’t naturally eat very much protein at all. During rides, I use Tailwind Endurance Fuel.

What have you done to get that flagged?? :joy:


I think you are just lacking basic aerobic fitness, due to never having done much volume. If you can, stick some longer endurance rides in. Swap out some of the other rides, if you need to.

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I’m thinking this could be contributing as well. Currently, TR is all of my riding, so it’s only 3.5 hours a week, and most of that is interval/threshold work, rather than long and slow endurance rides. I also noticed that my resting HR isn’t really going down either, and I also think that might be due to the lack of consistent long and slow cardio work.

I’m glad its not just me who couldn’t figure that out, high :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed:


I thought it was a basic welcome. Congrats for getting back on the bike.

How are you measuring power?

With my trainer, which is a Tacx Neo Smart