Newbie Fatigue Hurdles: Take a couple days off or reduce workout targets?

Long-time recreational cyclist, first-time actual trainer (middle aged, let’s say)…

As a generally casual rider who is training for the first time (one positive of the lockdown), encountering a challenge that perhaps others do when they start out down this path: fatigue (physical/mental) vs. quality training sessions

Reaching near the end of the first of base building block and experiencing/starting to feel legs that are what I’d describe as just tired (super technical term there). Not sore, just empty feeling. It’s causing sessions now to be very difficult, or in the case of some, needing a 5-10% reduction in workload to even finish them off. Up until now, had been able to hit the marks consistently, so thought it could be a fatigue issue creeping in earlier (rather than wrong initial target) and now just trying to get myself to the scheduled recovery week as effectively as possible.

Perhaps it’s as simple as “listen to your body” and take a couple days off the bike and jump back into it, but was curious as to the difference between that and pushing through sessions at say 90% of planned effort and drag myself through one more week before the first recovery week.

Also, this is probably at least some amount of mental hurdles as well, but thought it was worth asking.

Thanks for all you guys do and appreciate the perspective of everyones’ years of experience in this stuff. Happy to get pointed to older podcasts or threads if that’s a good approach here too!

Being tired is a real thing. Take a day off or 2 and you’ll bounce right back again.

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I agree with @RCC. Just push this weeks workouts by a day or so and double down on recovery. If you only had 1 workout left before the rest week I might be tempted to say push through but with a whole week ahead then just give yourself an extra day.
Don’t forget that missing one workout won’t make you slower. But pushing yourself through a bunch of workouts and then burning out and taking several weeks off will. Look at your consistency through a wider lens. If missing this one workout will make you able to hit the 5 or 10 with fresher legs and more motivation then do it.


Thx much

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One thing to keep in mind is the workouts get harder, much harder towards the end of the block so it may not be you are fatigued, but they may be challenging you more. It is better to do a workout at 90% than no workout at all assuming you are not overly fatigued. Completing the workout at 100% is not the point. It helps, but consistent training and going through the proper periodization the plans provide is more important.

Also, do check on all the things surrounding training: sleep quality, nutrition, booze, etc. :slight_smile:
It does take a lot out of you to get through a block, and if other things get sloppy, it can adversely affect your training.

And as said before, always better to skip on session and bounce back that let it drag you down. We all (or, most) do this for fun :slight_smile:

What volume plan are you on?
Did you jump straight into MV or HV? If so you might want to try LV instead. If not then I agree with the above advice to take a day off and let your body recover.
If you dig yourself into a hole you’ll get sick and lose more than a day or two of training.

There are also a few free analytics tools that are talked about extensively on the forum. Try a search on ‘intervals icu’ and ‘Elevate’. There are many others but I’m not familiar with them.
Personally, I’ve found the fitness graphs to match perfectly with how I feel when I load up too much training stress. If you like playing around with that sort of thing they’re well worth a look.

Good luck getting on top of the fatigue. If you’ve just finished SSBase1 and think your legs are tired, wait until you finish a build block. Oh the fun!

Doing mid-volume, mostly due to available time and perhaps not as much attention paid to actual condition heading in. Definitely will evaluate once we wrap this up and see if it was just a bad couple of days or just over doing it for my fitness.

Also good notes above on other factors. Need to keep better track of those things to help correlate the whole package.


I had a feeling you’d jumped straight into MV. It’s my guess that most people do that.
MV will ramp up the training stress too quickly if you’ve not been training like this. The end of SSB1 is where it always starts to bite IME.
SSB1 feels easy. SSB2 will let you know if you’re overdoing things.

Doing LV and adding volume when you feel you can is probably better but can have the same outcome. MV is a huge jump from this IMO.

Trust the slow ramp system. It feels counterintuitive at first but you’ll be wishing you had a SSB1 ride soon enough.

PS. A 15 second back spin can be just as effective for completing a hard workout. That goes for 15 on/off and long intervals alike. Miss a 15 second interval and it won’t ruin the workout. Miss 15 seconds out of 20 minutes and it won’t make much difference.


Yes. My ego said medium volume, my sensible side said, low volume. Being able to nail a LV plan is better than muddling through a MV plan in my experience, and per the advice of many.

That said I’m surprised at how much recovery I need sometimes. And all the advice here is good. Take that extra day off and focus on your sleep, try again. If still bad take another day off, repeat until you feel eager to train again. Then as experience develops you’ll know when it’s really time to push through the week and when it’s time to take a break. To repeat: better to lose a day or two in the plan than to suffer from excessive fatigue. Train hard, recover harder.

I think you guys are spot on in terms of the fact that my body just isn’t as good at recovery yet, and while I can handle the individual workouts great, just not quite there yet for stringing them all together over the six weeks.

Any thoughts on repeating MV SSB1 (vs switching to LV SSB2 with added workouts as I feel ok) to see if the body can adapt to that volume before moving into SSB2? Not sure what I’d be missing out on.

You aren’t missing out on anything by doing LV with added workouts vs. MV.

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