My training has fallen off a cliff

As the title says, my training has completely fallen apart. I am in my second year of structured training with TR, and my forth year of riding. I am 38 years old and about 192 lbs (87 kgs) at 6’1" (185 cm) with a ftp of 248. For context I have lost 80 lbs (36 kgs) over the last couple years.

I’m in a week of “recovery” and I can barely finish 30 minutes of endurance work. During Andrews this morning, i pulled the plug after 40 minutes with a skyrocketing heart rate. The last few weeks, the workouts have become nearly impossible to finish. Sweet spot feels like vo2, and I’m typically very good at that kind of work. I have retested and my ftp has remained about the same.

I have a physical job (carpenter), and I have recently taken on more responsibility. I know this additional stress takes a toll, but I don’t think it would fold me like this.

Perhaps the change of seasons and the switch to only indoor riding is getting to me, but last season that actually helped me focus my efforts.

I am just finishing LVSSBII with additional endurance rides and strength training added in with at least two rest days a week. Since I have fallen apart, i am a bit worried about starting the build phase since I can’t even handle Pettit right now. I don’t think volume is my issue and even a couple of weeks ago, I felt like I could handle much more volume but didn’t want it to impact my job.

Should I take a few weeks off and restart my plan? Is there any way to get back on track without restarting? Are these setbacks typical? I’m training for a couple of races in the spring ( if we can safely gather) and would really like to continue my progression towards them.

Any insights would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Sounds like you’ve transformed your body over the last couple of years - well done! Such massive changes, intensive training and a physical job is all going to take a toll.

Have a week off entirely, or at least a super easy week (nothing or Active recovery). IMO Andrews is too hard for a recovery week. I did it yesterday (in a work week), and with some fatigue already in the legs, it’s not recuperative or enjoyable! Just do some Pettit, Whorl, Townsend type rides once you’re ready.

And start back easy too. You will come back stronger than you are now - guaranteed

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You said you’ve been doing structured training for past 2 years. You did not mention whether you’ve taken any breaks. If not, this video will be worth your time. Best of luck.

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I don’t want to scare you but are you sure you are not ill. https://www.8020endurance.com/in-it-for-the-long-haul/

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Yeah, listen to your body. Make sure you aren’t getting sick or don’t have covid19.

Also, have you planned out your year of training? I’m wondering why Build in December. It might be better to take some more rest and then cycling back through base hitting build - speciality at the right time in the spring.

Of course, it all depends on your goals.

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I used plan builder for my events. It just happened to be a 58 week build. I dont think I’m getting sick, as I feel better than I have I years, except I can’t produce power. Probably just fatigue?

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So, when are you planning on racing? You say you’re in LVSSB 2.

Why are you doing base training already? This is a lesson I learned from last year. You need to go back and take some ‘Transition’ time where you do some un-structured riding and perhaps incorporate cross training.

I’m a huge TR fanboy and I have gotten tremendous benefits from following TR. But you need to build in some break times throughout the year. You can’t just do SSB -> Build -> specialty and repeat over and over again.

I for example was feeling cooked in September. I took a week off in early October. But also had a lot of work stress, which was planned for the second half month of Oct to early Nov (work project stuff). So then getting into Thanksgiving and all that, it’s tough to stay motivated and at a high level. So I’ve been doing weight lifting and Z2 work.

TL:DR, you shouldn’t do SSB all year long, you’ll cook yourself. You don’t put in huge volume to have a massive base like a pro rider going 20+ hours a week.

I think your right. I’m probably just going to take some time totally off.

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Wait until you’re excited to do it again. I’ve made the mistake of coming back too soon, just leads to burnout. Play the long game. I’m going to take as much time off as I need to be excited about riding again, I don’t care if it’s two months.

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Just to build a full picture, has anything else changed?

Are you using any new kit/tech? Are you trying to cut calories or have you significantly altered your diet? How’s your sleep?

As others have said, I would be tempted to step away from the trainer for 2-3 days. For the remained of that week, I’d do Lazy Mountain type recovery rides. Give your body and mind a little R&R.

My current TR Plan (via Plan Builder) has built fatigue far quicker that I would have liked and expected. I’m having to manually adjust things before I end up in a hole. Sometimes opting for the -1 or -2 version of a workout can be a great option.

Hope you get on top of this period :+1:

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That video is very helpful. He put into words exactly what has happened to me. Thanks

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Thanks for the replies. I’m going to take two weeks completely off of any kind of training. After two weeks I’m going to get back into lifting with low volume low intensity rides mixed in. After two weeks of that, I will reenter the base phase and reassess how I’m feeling.

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@MrSmith670: would you get back to us in 4weeks and 8weeks time from now? I’m super curious how you’ll be doing. All the best!

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I will. I’ll update in a month.

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As promised, I’m updating after a month. After recommendations from the community, I decided on two full weeks completely off the bike. During this period, I only did light strength training.
I had originally planned to ease into light recovery work in the third week, but I rolled my ankle at work and my two weeks of rest turned into three weeks.
At the beginning of the fourth week, I did West Viddette, and it was super easy. I then started dialing up the durations of endurance rides like Baxter and Coloseum, and crushing them.
I hopefully have an event in the beginning of April, so plan builder is throwing me straight into LVSSBII. I took a ramp test on Tuesday. I lost about 15 watts off my FTP, which is disappointing, but I honestly think I could have held on a bit longer. I’d rather have my FTP a little low and manually adjust it up, than struggle during my workouts.
During my break, I tried eating well (like usual), but with the holidays, I did gain a few pounds. I was anticipating this, though the amount was a bit surprising. I expect this to come off relatively easy. I still have some weight to lose in general, so it’ll be back to my regular routine.
All this is to say, my time off the bike was well worth it. I’m feeling great and I’m eager to get back into doing the work. I expect this will become, at the very least, an annual thing, if not more frequent.
Thanks again for the responses, this is a great community.

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Don’t sweat those 15 watts, they will come back quickly. Glad to hear you’re back at it :+1:

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The margin of error on an FTP is easily +/- 10 watts depending on the day, your meal, your sleep, etc.

Thanks for getting back, interesting read and good to see that you are not falling into panic mode if things happen that distract you for a week longer.
Regarding FTP I would second whats been said already, those watts will come back quickly. I would expect that the same will hold true for the weight, at least the first 1-2kg are probably also just the difference between “training mode” and “rest mode”.

Having said all that, good to have you back. Also your text reads as if you’re really looking forward to training now, so it seems that this break also had a positive impact on your motivation. NIce one!

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Good deal. Don’t worry about those 15 watts, or the added lbs… Get consistent training and fuel appropriately. You’ll be gain back what you lost presuming the training volume and quality are the same. Won’t be long before you’re shattering your ceiling (I hope).

I’m the same age, two inches taller and currently 10lbs heavier, but 192 is where I spent most of last year. I also took a really light December due to a multitude of factors, after really struggling with some workouts, but the other reasons include an exposure-based quarantine, holidays etc. I managed to lose 14% on FTP and gain 10lbs of garbage (too many beers and too much cheap chocolate) weight.

This week, in true NY Resolution form, I’m back on a low-volume plan, filling in the off days with volume building Z2, and with a more aggressive yearly-hours goal. I have no doubt that I’ll get most of that 14% back in big chunks this spring and I hope to hop right past my late fall ceiling sometime this summer or early fall heading into CX season.

I’m also adding weights back in, since I managed to get a barbell and rack for the garage, having been out of the gym since this thing started. We’ll have to see how that works with 8 hours of structured riding per week.

Here I am again with an update. The event I was training for isn’t happening. While this bums me out, I have never been faster. My ftp is at an all time high, and I’m setting PRs seemingly on every outdoor ride.

A couple weeks ago, I got clearance from the tower and made a 5 hour round trip to pick up a new bike. My riding has always been a mix of gravel and pavement, and I was wondering just how much faster a dedicated road bike would be. I picked up an Émonda ALR5 and couldn’t be happier with it. It definitely snaps and I can hold a much higher average speed.

Moving forward, I am using plan builder to build towards my own “events.” I’m planning a hard effort century in May, with the goal of setting a new time/speed PR.

Unfortunately, my weight loss is not on track. The weight I put on over the holidays is still clinging on. This is entirely within my control, and in the last couple weeks, I have been trying to focus on calorie intake. This is a tricky line to walk, especially with the amount of work I’m doing on the bike. I really struggle with being hungry, and just eating junk. Now that we have cleared the Easter candy fest, I think I’ll be able to make some progress in my weight, since there won’t be nearly as many easy snacks around the house.

Thanks again for the help and support. This a really great community.

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