This question is mostly aimed at Jonathan.
I just completed a solid three weeks of training. First week was mostly volume at zone 2 (25 hour week) -I had the week off of work. Weeks 2 and 3 I had a couple harder workouts with lower volume but definitely felt pretty tired and feel pretty tired and unmotivated to ride. Weather is bad where I’m at currently and I don’t want to ride the trainer (yet) I have a dirt bike trip coming up this weekend that will be three days of trail riding. Trying to ride as much as possible those three days. Could be 3 hours on the trail each day maybe even 5 or 6. I’m thinking this could be a great post season activity and mentally refreshing for my cycling and also challenging on the body. If I’m trying to keep my cycling fitness should I jump back into training when I get back? Would motorcycle riding take away from recovery? Should I take the next week easy? The trip is happening on a recovery week so any advice would be great!
This question is mostly aimed at Jonathan.
Welcome, for starters 25h week, even just Z2 is a huge week for most people, without your training history I’m just venturing a guess that that’s a huge bump in volume (you mention you had off from work, so probably very atypical volume?) - then couple that with going into weeks 2 and 3 with even just a couple of key hard workouts and your body might be like, “what?!”
Jump, probably not, maybe ease your way back in.
Yes, absolutely 3 hours/days on the motocross bike will impede recovery!
Yes, take that next following week easy.
You just have to prioritize what you want to do and what’s most important. Do the trip, ride and have fun, but don’t expect to feel fresh afterwards. I used to race harescrambles, and a little motocross and the type of fatigue is it’s own brand (as I’m sure you know) - I wouldn’t expect to come out of that feeling great especially after a 25h week, but that’s me. Sounds like you’re going into the off season so I’d prioritize fun on the moto and slowly ramp back into your cycling plan.
Welcome to the forum, @Starvedforsight! Jon is out of the office this week but I’ll nudge him about this when he’s back if he hasn’t already seen it.
Thanks for the reply.
25 hours was the most I’ve done but felt pretty solid after. I’ve averaged around 17-18 hours during training during the year so still a pretty substantial jump in volume. The week after I just did zone 2 and a threshold workout. Pretty much the same the next week. I am about to go into an “off season” I don’t race but train consistently. I just don’t want to burn out before I have to ride indoors all winter. I want to stay fit but know I need the recovery. Thanks for the feedback.
Lots to unpack here!
First, moto is not recuperative, so you’ll need to consider that as a source of stress. If you aren’t habituated to enduring that stress, you need to weight it much more heavily due to the novel nature of the stimulus for your body. If your goal is to recover your body, it’s not a good idea. If you are okay with the additional strain your body will receive but really just want to refresh your mental state with the activity, then it’d be a good one!
Echoing a bit of what people have already said, 25 hours is a ton – like, more than what many pro athletes regularly carry. Our bodies are amazing, and we can be capable of enduring high amounts of strain for long periods of time, but I would urge you to consider the cumulative strain over a long period of time and the compound effect it could have on you.
I’m not sure I would prescribe 25hrs of training to any amateur that has additional life responsibilities. At that point your life has to be engineered to support the training load you’re enduring, meaning you have built systems around you and within your life to allow you to dedicate the rest of your waking hours to intaking the best possible nutrition, performing high quality PT and functional strength and mobility work, scheduled and respected rest outside of typical sleeping hours, optimized sleep, minimized distractions like work and family, etc.
If none of that is in place and your life is more representative of a normal life, then you will likely end up overworking yourself and eventually experiencing a significant downturn in performance and ability to train.
Another red flag to me is that you are just doing Z2 and a threshold workout. Z2 is not easy when done right, so it isn’t recuperative. But more importantly, if you are just doing Z2 then doing one threshold workout per week, I’m afraid this lacks the variety and specificity your body needs to truly improve, likely leading to a plateau, and one that will come with significant training stress with all of that Z2 work.
All of this to say, focus on being as efficient as possible and getting the most out of less training time with a structured plan. That will give you the proper novel stimulus, balance of work and rest, and periodization you need to consistently improve, and will likely do so with substantially less time commitment and a greater ability to absorb training stress, adapt, and stay on track for longer.
There’s a huge range in trail riding, from the scenic put-put ride to Hard Enduro Erzberg type stuff. So, it depends on your moto skills, how efficient of a rider you are, and how gnarly the trail riding will or won’t be. The physical demands of riding a dirt bike are so unique from any other sport, including cycling, that I would go for it and just pay close attention to how you’re feeling throughout.
Thanks for the reply Jonathan! Very helpful.
During the summer I do a bit of zone 2. I’m in Michigan so I got to take advantage of the weather. I’ve gotten better at listening to my body over the years… and it turns out I need recovery/off season of easy activity. I currently am sick. Might be cold and flu or just seasonal allergies. Maybe my body is telling me something!
Btw the trail riding here in upper Michigan is awesome!