Hyper Focusing leading to Burnout

Helps alot actually, and the fact that quite a few people took the time and effort to respond to my post helps a ton as well, so thank you!

Oh man… are you sure your ready for a deep dive on my training history?

I’ll come back and edit this with the full details in a bit.

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Loving your username! Interesting you mention a coach. I’ve been thinking I need an external support system to help protect me from myself, so i’m curious on your expierences with a coach. If there’s anything you can share I’d much appreciate it. I admit it’s probably one of the few things I haven’t tried or researched in the past.

I think it could help us to give you good advice


About 10 years ago I had an epiphany. On my rides I was going for PR’s Etc and was not enjoying riding like I previously had. I started mountain biking and really enjoyed it, is at that point I got a gym membership and started lifting weights. Flash Forward I did not ride a road bike for years but would mountain bike weekends and lift weights during the week. Wasn’t until covid I started Road riding again, got a new bike and loving it! Now I lift weights 3 days a week, ride two or three days a week and one big ride on the weekend which is about 60 or 70 miles. I’m really enjoying riding again and not putting any pressure on myself, just having fun but also staying fit in the process!

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Alright here goes nothing. Pictures are truly worth a 1000 words on this one.

6’3" (190CM), Weight: 78-84KG, Male. 31.

So starting with 2018 when I picked up my indoor trainer in Oct. I picked a Zwift training plan (Build me Up), and followed that with pretty good compliance, I rode 27 out of 31 days mostly inside (3 outdoor rides) and only 1 big group ride (counting 100Km as a big group ride back then). FTP jumped from 202 to 229 in that month. Nov - Dec I didn’t really follow a plan, mainly messed around with Zwift Academy and some random zwift races and workouts. In Jan - Feb I start to see some workouts with Polarized in the title so I’m guessing I came across the 5 W/KG website that talks about polarized training and how different types of intervals are superior to others. I started doing Base training rides, 4*8 intervals, and 30/15. I’ll add a link below if I can find the website. Towards the end of Feb I did 40 km road race and I had a pretty disappointing result, my expectation was to be able to hang with the fast guys and I didn’t even last a lap before I was blowing up. I didn’t have any race craft at this point and the conditions were not ideal (wet and rainy) but this was the motivation I needed to start training harder / smarter.

In March 2019 my training partner talked me into following a plan - Sufferfest, or I talked him into it.

I was somewhat confused looking at my March 2019 training, I seem to be trying to juggle polarized and sufferfest. I’d do a few of there workouts which included short very intense efforts, and then on weekends I was doing 4hr endurance rides @65% FTP. I apparently got sick in the middle of march because I see 4 days off the bike followed by notes about finally getting over something on March 22. Important to note I didn’t ease back in but rather jumped straight back into the plan (probably not a smart idea) and smashed a tough workout. Two days later and I decided to join in the fun on a weekend everesting attempt lol! To be clear I had no intention of actually everesting, I just wanted to go out and support the people who were and join in on the festivities. The climb was about 30 minutes with an avg of 8.5% but that’s the steep parts are actually at 20%…not an easy climb for a 3W/KG rider. I managed to do 5 repeats for about 2,400 M of climbing which left me smashed. Also pretty important to mention I got Favero Assioma pedals somewhere around this time so I could start tracking power for outdoor rides.

April was a little more straight forward and I started following the Sufferfest plan more and more…compliance still wasn’t 100% but on rides where I did my own thing it was pretty much just some z2 work, and it was probably because I couldn’t bring myself to do another hard interval session. By the end of April I was feeling stronger, and itching to do some group rides / outdoor rides or pretty much anything not Sufferfest. I did one and remember feeling pretty happy with the result, it wasn’t the strongest group but I was able to hang when things got spicy. At this point I kind of knew that sufferfest wasn’t for me and I would never be able to follow it long term, and after discovering the TR podcast I was looking for any excuse to switch to TR. Well I got my excuse soon enough… I did the 4DP test at the end and the results were not what I had hoped for. I increased my 5 sec power, but everything else dropped which was the exact opposite of adaptions I wanted.

I remember hearing the same thing over and over again, “FTP isn’t everything”. I absolutely hated this statement…it is everything until your FTP is enough to actually need anything else. What good is 5 sec power if your 25 minutes behind the winner in a local crit?

I officially started TR on May 14th with a initial Ramp test of 242, you could argue I underperformed in my 4DP test or that my highish 5 min power (relative to FTP) allowed me to push a bit further in a Ramp test, either way that’s what I went with. I listened to all the advice, don’t do high volume, choose a lower volume plan, etc, etc…so naturally I ignored it, thinking I knew better and went with HV SS.

I CRUSHED IT for the first month. Compliance was super high, I was nailing every workout feeling pretty good and starting to feel stronger. I did one non TR workout with a buddy and I let him dictate the route and plan(probably not a good idea)…we did a local hill climb and I set a new 10 min PR and (280) and smashed my previous time up the climb by minutes. Over the next few weeks I started to make some pretty typical mistakes, showing up to local fast group ride, testing my limits over and over again. After mostly indoor riding though I felt I needed some group riding skills for the upcoming race and figure out where I was at. I did my next Ramp test on Jun 25th and man did I go deep! 242 → 266 a massive 20+ watt increase in 6 weeks.

I continued with TR but I think things started to becoming too difficult with the start of Sweet Spot High Volume Base II. Looking back with all the new info I have on progressions levels it’s not difficult to see what went wrong. I was able to handle sweet spot 7.8 workouts for 1.5 Hours prior to the bump, but the levels didn’t reset like they would now and kept increasing. Some of the new workouts were 2 hours at level 8.5 with the new FTP, and I very quickly started to feel burned out and tired in every aspect of life. So props to TR for fixing that with progression levels! It’s such a huge improvement…and they continue to raise the bar. But at the time…they caught the blame for how shitty I was feeling.

In mid July 2019 I had my best race I went like 80th and getting lapped to 10th place in 3 months. It was a field of like 150 riders with HUGELY varying degrees of fitness (Non UCI race). From legit pro’s (one dudes who race in the 2015 UCI Road World Championships and 2016 Olympics) right down to people with tshirts and shorts. To be honest most of the race was me just hanging on for dear life, and luckily there was a breakaway with the 4 strongest riders (including the uci pro) and the main group slowed down just enough for me to hang on just barely. The breakaway beat us by about 3 minutes, but I could have cared less. For the first time ever it was able to be at the pointy end and a race actually felt like a race not a group ride. I was able to sprint and beat most of the group to the line.

Like I said previously though I started to flounder on TR, not because the results weren’t amazing, but I was just getting crushed by the workouts. I limped on with TR until the beginning of Aug when I did my ramp test and dropped 2 watts. I kept riding after that but I think I lost my motivation to follow a plan for a bit.

This is truly taking a lot longer to write than I thought…I’ll continue the saga when I have bit more time.

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