Increasing Heart Rate, Decreasing Fitness

Need a little help here as I don’t have a coach.

42 year old male. Active duty Army. I’ve always had a low RHR. Like 38-39 bpm. I’ve been riding consistently for about a year and a half, training about a year (Got my indoor trainer last October).

I have abnormal EKGs, with bradycardia and left ventricle hypertrophy (all consistent with many endurance athletes).

Using AT, I’ve been able to increase my FTP to 295. With that new FTP, I’ve been able to complete difficult workouts (Rainbow, Barnard +4).

Last week was a prescribed rest week, coming off hard training, as I was supposed to have an FTP test today. Well, during the “rest week” I noticed that my both my RHR was elevated (42-43) and my heart rate during exercise was higher than normal. Tracking this via my efficiency has gone down, and on my garmin watch my VO2 max has gone from 66 down to 61 due to my elevated heart rate at the same power level.

I’m about to have a permanent change of station (PCS) from Italy to Washington state in a couple weeks, so I decided to forego the FTP test and just have some fun riding here. This saturday I went out KOM hunting and did a decent job, raised my 1 minute and 90 second power to new records. Sunday was a rest day, and today I did McGregor (Sweet Spot 5.1). I was barely able to finish this. It was way harder than it should have been. I set my max 20 minute and 1 hour heart rate during this workout, according to trainingpeaks.

So my questions: What is going on?

  1. Could I be carrying fatigue even though says I’m fresh?

  2. Could it be sickness? My daughters have a cough but no fever, I have a tiny bit of congestion, no cough, no fever.

  3. Is it stress related with dealing with the move and everything associated with that?

  4. Overtraining? Do i just need to chill for a bit?

Feel free to look at my Strava and TR accounts if it helps you answer my questions.

Strava Cyclist Profile | Vincent Armstrong :us:

Career - TrainerRoad

Thank you so much for the help!

Are you willing to share your Intervals profile?

does this work? Not sure how to share it.

No, says I don’t have permission. I sent you a follow request.

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Try now, I had to accept you. Trying to figure out how to unlock my profile for everyone

I can see it. Will send you my feedback on the Intervals chat.

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I wouldn’t be too concerned about it, it’s most probably due to a drop in blood volume from the lack of training on your rest week.

I took 2 weeks off and started back with a track session. Felt like my heart was going explode :joy:. Highest HR in years and my threshold HR jumped 12 beats per

That was a couple of weeks ago and threshold HR has dropped 6bpm and run speed is coming back pretty quick. You’ll have that fitness back in no time.


I’d say options 1-3 are all possibilities. And even a combo of all of them.

But I’d say the most likely are that you didn’t fully recover over your rest week and that is partially due to the stress of moving entire countries. Even though you’re in the military and these moves are “normal” they are probably still incredibly stressful. At the very least they’re routine interrupting. Also, during your recovery week you did fletcher but bumped it up for 2x10 min at FTP (one was like 102%). That isn’t exactly restful, and when combined with some KOM hunting you could have just not recovered.

Also, if Mcgregor was so hard that you were “barely able to finish” why did you mark it as a ‘Moderate’ effort?

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I looked at your calendar. I think it is time for some time off from biking and any other type of exercise. You haven’t really taken a week or two off ever since June 2020 based on your calendar. Your body is already starting to give you signs that it is time for some time off. High heart rate despite doing interval training combined with fatigue, and congestion.

I am not a coach but I have been in the same boat as you recently as I also noticed that my HR was getting higher and losing motivation for the past couple of days. I did not have the same motivation in October as I did in August and September. Consistent loss of motivation is a sign that one needs some time off.


Good question. I marked it to where I felt it should have been. It should actually have been easy because typically that wouldn’t have been a tough workout

You’re probably right. I had intended for the move to serve as my break since I won’t have my trainer or road bike for a month, just my MTB

You shouldn’t be marking what it should have been. You should be rating what it felt like. Just a snapshot in time of what the RPE for the workout was. So “I was barely able to finish this” translates to at least a ‘hard’ but probably more like a ‘very hard’.

And I didn’t quite notice this last time cause I was on my phone but @yajvans is right. You haven’t dropped below 360TSS for the week since Sep 2020. Definitely time for a more extended break in my opinion.

I would take it REALLY easy that first week. Like maybe only ride twice and just do some walks or casual hikes and stuff. Really reset. And remember that moves like this are super stressful even if it isn’t training stress. Then after that week I would slowly ride a bit more, but casually. Just do some “soul rides” or just cruise around your new area and explore. No power targets, limited ‘all out efforts’, just keep it fun. Then after that, really asses how motivated you are and don’t hesitate to take another week of just having fun while keeping any eye on your volume and intensity. Unless you have a target event in the next month or so the down time will only make you better in the long run even if your fitness takes a slight dip in the short term (though I doubt it really would). You might even see a bit of a fitness boost if you really rest and let your body recover.

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Thanks. Going to take it easy for a bit and see how I feel


Garmin VO2max relies on intensity. Every recovery week I take my Garmin VO2max drops with the drop in intensity. It’s expected.

Enjoy your last weeks there and take it easy and just ride outside. I’m sure you won’t regret that when you look back on your time there.

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