This year has been a really good year for me from a training perspective (pretty dire in all other respects, but every cloud etc…). I’ve been able to be consistent with my training and because I am not at work, and not with my work mates, my calorie consumption fell dramatically and I’m now 66kgs (from 74kgs) and hovering around 3.8w/kg. My FTP was low at the start of the year for me, at about 228w and I managed to peak at 253w during my last FTP test (I used Kolie Moore’s Baseline). My main takeaway though from this years’ training was a much more improved aerobic engine and I smashed a number of my PRs on climbs as I was able to hold higher power for longer.
I’m 50yo, 51 in a few months. This year I did SSB - Gen Build - Century Speciality all at MV. After Century I did the first 4 weeks of SSB MV again, then went into Sustained Power Build.
My issue is that I’m now being crushed by the interval sessions in SPB MV, to the point where I have to take short back pedal breaks during intervals. This week was the last hard week of the plan and I’ve basically folded like a cheap table napkin and have missed one session just through mental fatigue and my session today, Stromlo +4, I had to quit after the 4th interval (I followed up with 30 mins of endurance to compensate).
Is it just time to call it a day and leave the bike alone for a week or two? Was trying to squeeze two builds into a year a bit much at my age?
This time of year I do like to go back to doing some running, walking and gym work. Mentally I also find it tough being on the bike indoors as there’s nothing really to train for and I know my FTP is going to drop.
My plan now is to do very little cycling for the next two weeks, then spend 10 weeks doing low vloume training while mixing in running and gym work. My plan for next year is to start with Trad Base MV - Sustained Power Build and then Century Spec again as I am heading to the Alps in August (covid dependent).
Does that make sense? Anything I should be taking into consideration? Thanks in advance.
It all makes complete sense. Looked at from the outside you’d just say “well duh, of course I’ve run out of steam”, yet from the inside you beat yourself up for failing.
Give yourself a break, start to daydream again about future events then when you’re ready to resume you’ll know. Don’t force it, play the long game, it’s a lifelong hobby.
When you fail can you describe what’s going on? Are you failing due to RPE feeling mentally too hard? Or do your legs just want to explode? Are you running heart rate. If so what is your heartrate during those intervals and what is your max?
Hi Bigdirt, when I fail on intervals it’s a mix of things. Mentally I’m thinking why am I doing these insane hard intervals when the season is over. My legs feel like lead anyway and feel like they aren’t recovering from prior workouts. My max HR is ‘maybe’ about 174… Truth is I don’t really know, my legs fail before my peak, and leg strength has been historically a limiter for me, not cardio, hence the focus this winter on gym work. My HR is usually around 162 - 164 when I give up.
It feels more like a mental thing now, with it being dark and cold. But there’s definitely some inherent fatigue in my legs that I need to shift I think. Maybe 2 hard full builds a year at my age is a bit too much.
I’m happy to revert to a lower intensity programme like Trad Base for a while, with some gym time thrown in. I’ll see how that works for me.
Thanks, had a read through before posting. Useful for sure, but not quite hitting the spot. I guess the answer is to focus on strength and base now and pick the harder training up next year when the forthcoming season is the motivator.
Sounds like you’ve lost your summer sparkle which in my opinion is way more important than ability to hit power numbers.
Having a break, going for some walks, sitting around eating and chilling, all help unload that run down feeling. Personally then I suggest just riding around outside for a while, no target’s. After a month of so of this and with the better weather in sight, then and only then decide what plan you fancy trying.
I do see a lot of training addiction on here, it’s good to take a step back and see it for what it is.
Yep, that Summer Sparkle has definitely left the building. My SPB MV is now over and this week is meant to be rest week but I’ll no touch the bike this coming week and will do exactly as you suggest. I do like that term ‘Training Addiction’. It does feel like that sometimes. Still, probably worse addictions to have (although no addiction is ever good).
I always say that as an addiction goes it’s not a bad one where the side effects are that you get incredibly fit and know your body well.
However I speak from experience when I refer to losing sight of the bigger picture.
After 5 years of hard training and racing I ended up taking two whole years away from it in order to recover. I felt like a failure for the first year but this year I spent the spring and summer bikepacking and learning a whole new skillset.
Rode two cx races in September and had the old fire back (and the legs - turns out 15hr days give you a ton of fitness, who knew?). Have just embarked upon a new TR training plan for next cx season but only low volume so just 3hrs week with my weekends marked as ‘soul rides’. Strict Z2, mtb smashfests, races, bikepacking, hiking or doing sweet FA. No rules, just do what I fancy. It always pays off in the end.
Secondly, I quite like this idea of marking out some fun time in your week so that you can proactively avoid burnout and ride because/when you want to. Thinking to incorporate this into my calendar now – good on ya and thanks!
15hr days are great when you’re riding off road at a really steady pace, stopping every couple of hours to brew up a cup of tea or rehydrate an Adventure Meal. With your sleeping kit on the bike and spare clothes, nothing else seems important. It’s so relaxing.