Mental anxiety: recovering from a dip

I’ve completed SSB1 MV effortlessly and up to week 4.5 of SSB2 MV.

However, I do this alongside a high intensity career with extreme discipline and sometimes a lot of work stress. I work 10h a day, wake up 630, work till 15:00, cycle at 16:00, eat 18:00, work some more. Go to bed 20:30 watch something meditate, sleep 21;30 rinse repeat.

I use sleep cycle to discover patterns. So far, work stress and alcohol have a negative impact, and working later than 20:30.

Last week Monday (4 of SSB 2 MV at FTP 208) I finished vo2 (Mills) in the morning around 8:00. Felt super easy, like everything before. Had to travel for work, got back late, was stressed, slept short. I thought: no big deal, it’s resting day training only on Tuesday (Pettit). Had to force myself, because I was a bit tired. Not extremely, but motivation was needed. Pettit was fine obviously. Also finished Darwin next day (Threshold). Very hard (threshold is typically harder for me than VO2 or SSB).

But then Friday I felt a little bit feverish. Thursday was extremely stressful at work, so I woke up later than usually and had to push myself to the office. I thought: fine, resting day. Sleep well, Mary Austin Saturday. But I had three drinks and I was exhausted.

Slept really well felt fit Saturday, but then, dropped at the end of the later two Mary Austin intervals. Felt my stomach a bit as when fever when belly breathing. Sunday, finished SSB Tallac +3.

Then, today, dropped 3rd and 5th 3 min vo2 (120%) in Spencer +2 at the midway of the interval. I felt more anxiety, because I failed last weekend on Mary Austin. TrainerRoad learned me you can persevere mentally (perceived mental exhaustion), but I felt like: you suck you didn’t finish Mary Austin.

What’s going on? Is it feverish? Work stress? Sleep quality? Mental?

I have a hard time figuring this out…

My experience, if you are going through high work stress, it’s really hard to try to improve or even maintain. It’s just not worth it to me and physically really difficult. If it’s temporary work stress, I just ride for fun and try to maintain some level of fitness. If it’s permanent, then that’s a work/life balance equation.

Either way, work stress will likely have an impact on your recovery and performance.


Sounds entirely expected from your lifestyle, maybe switch down to LV for a while and put your health and wellbeing (physical and mental) first and see if that helps?

1 Like

Sounds like you are burning the candle at both ends. Alcohol makes it worse even though after that 10 hour day you want nothing more than that beer when you get home.

Alcohol is a known central nervous system depressant. It can make you depressed and anxious or be fuel to the fire when you are stressed and fatigued.

I’d encourage you to try a dry February if that is possible and then get into a once a week pattern or whatever is sustainable.

Thanks! Any idea why that is?

I can imagine that work stress depletes your level of cortisol, which you also need for sports.

Yeah, so basically I need to tune down work a bit and take a bit more rest, also for recovery after training stress I guess.

work less or train less (switch to LV). This sounds not sustainable. You can make it as complicated as you want, but it’s really just simply too much together

Thanks. Yeah, I figured I need to tone down work a bit. Last week was exceptionally crazy. Also, everybody around me has fever or flu basically. And I am always upto that point where I wonder whether it will breakthrough but don’t really have symptoms, and then it’s difficult if it’s really fever or something else.

Do you usually get mild or severe symptoms when flu comes around?

Mild (or no) symptoms may be an indicator of an under active immune system (which can be brought on by stress and other factors). If “everyone” has it, being exceptional/asymptomatic may not be the “lucky break” it seems. [severe reaction = hyperactive immune response]. In any case, rest (as you can) will help both the stress and (potentially) depressed immune system.

1 Like

No, cortisol increases with stress and work. Elevated cortisol in turn decreases your immunity and your inflammatory response.

1 Like

Thanks, that’s insightful. Typically, I get full-blown flu. But since a year I am really serious about cycling, so I changed a lot of things: guaranteed 7-8 hours sleep a night (exceptions apply), very healthy eating (a tonload of vegetables for lunch and dinner every day). So I attribute me not getting the full flu more to that. And I try to be more careful when it’s flu season now (not taking public transport, not going to large places with lots of people).

Last time I had the flu was in October 2019. Finally, I typically do get the full blown flu, but always after everybody has had it. So I’m always late. Has been like that my whole life, regardless of sports.

But I guess the key message is: I need more rest. Sleep a bit more and reduce work hours + work stress, to sustain MV training.


Id say if you already meditate, increase the time that you do it as thats been show to improve immunity. Im a Sport & Clinical Hypnotherapist, if youd like some specific things you can do in meditation (which is pretty much the same as hypnosis) to help your immunity feel free to DM me and ill happily send you some.

1 Like

Thanks for all the input. I have decided to do the following. I am curious what you’re thoughts are.

Conclusion: over-exhausted due to sleep deprivation, work stress. Did not recover enough in-between, and probably some fever under the hood (muscles more easily fatigued than usual).

Since the goal is to resume 150-200km endurance rides this summer (end of April), I want to make sure I have strong base. Thus:

  • Do not rush, but take a 2-day break. Fully recover, not cycle. Get well again.
  • Pettit on Sunday, just to get the blood flowing.
  • Repeat week 4 and 5, make sure I finish them properly and that I can manage the load. Ensure strong base.
  • Complete week 6, recovery week nonetheless (even though I take a break now). Growth is in active rest.
  • Start with sustained power build MV, continue until I am really cycling outdoors again (I guess I can make it midway).
  • Focus on sleeping well and meditation, reducing work load, and make sure I get all the nutrients I need.
1 Like

Thanks all for the input and support! Really helped.

I did everything I could: took a day off, did extra meditation, no alcohol, slept really well (sleep quality on sleepcycle 85%+). Today, resumed as usual but redid mary austin -1 (Saturday Week 4 of SSB2 MV). Was a breezy. It was tough, but certaintly doable. At no point I felt like quitting. Monday gonna redo Spencer + 2, tomorrow some endurance or only Pettit, depending on how I wake up.

1 Like