Overtraining- how long to recover, what to do in the mean time?

Background: I’m 45, lifelong cyclist but never really trained properly or all that much, last year did very little, and started this year very unfit and about 50 lb. overweight. I’ve never done TR style sweet spot training before and rarely trained five days a week.

I jumped into SSB1 mid volume. Had no trouble finished any of the workouts but by the fifth week could tell I wasn’t recovering well. The week after that I basically fell apart.

I realize strength training overtraining will be a little different to endurance training but from this list of symptoms I have probably 90%.

I’ve been completely off the bike for two weeks now and still feel like trash. The hand tremors are especially scary since my father had Parkinson’s … I did go to my doctor and he found nothing wrong with me so I think it has to be overtraining, can’t see what else, since I felt fine at the beginning of the year.

Heart rate when waking in the morning is quite high (80 to 90, resting is 55) and HRV shows “high stress” according to my Garmin watch. Most days HRV is high to medium stress for most of the day but that’s been improving although slowly and inconsistently.

I have lost about 20 lb since New Years, which was part of the plan but I wonder if I ended up underfueled much of the time.

I know it can sometimes take months to fully recover but surely that’s in cases where someone has been overdoing it for years at a time?

Should I be glued to the couch as I am now or would it be better to start doing easy rides (Seiler-style Zone 1)?

It sounds to me like your simply not eating enough. That can also cause trembling of the hands like bonking.

I’m 44 and have cycled for decades too (and the fact that I’m old enough to say decades hurts)

That sounds like over training but one thing I have found since doing TR at our age is that recovery is just as big as training for me.
As above are you eating properly and not being too aggressive with weight loss? Not my area of expertise at all but you still need fuel to exercise, TR isn’t exactly low intensity.
Maybe go for a walk brisk enough to get your HR up a bit and see how you feel after and the next morning.

I’m going to offer the opposite opinion. 5 weeks of mid volume SSB shouldn’t put you in such a state that 2 weeks after your HR is still high and you have the shakes, especially as you have cycling history.

Maybe the training suppressed your immune system and you’ve got a virus?

1 Like

Yes I did get a nasty cold which is thankfully near over I think.

I also found it very strange that a short period of training could do me in like that.

@LoupGarou maybe you could consider using some sort of technology to suggest/track your recovery time after each workout. I started a thread somewhere on this forum about Garmin Recovery Advisor (on my Garmin 520). Other users turned me on to the fact that it’s licensed technology from FirstBeat. I was intrigued but decidedly skeptical after reading a lot about FirstBeat.

I started scheduling TR workouts based not on what TR suggested on my calendar but instead based on what my Garmin Recovery Advisor told me was an appropriate rest time. If you followed me on Strava you would find the point where I said I was just going to let GRA blow me up. It hasn’t happened yet.

So I’m not a big believer in FirstBeat HRV as a recovery indicator…but as an older rider it makes more sense to me that FirstBeat would be a lot closer to predicting the recovery time I need than TR calendar. I’m pretty sure I need more recovery between two given workouts than a teenaged rider…but TR would have me do the same.

What I’m finding out is that in the first week or two weeks of a training plan, GRA will advise recovery times of less than a day sometimes. Almost never more than a day. As the training plan goes on & fatigue accumulates recovery time edges up. By the time I got to a workout like Kaweah GRA is telling me to take two days to recover.

I got myself to the point of overtraining once…took 6 weeks off the bike completely. I only walked my dogs everyday until I felt better…you also need to eat a well balanced diet to make sure your body has what it needs to recover. If you havent already, have your doctor run a blood panel and look to see if your cortisol is elevated…that is a marker for over training.

1 Like

Sounds like you got a nasty virus.

I think it’s actually quite difficult and takes some months to get into a serious over training hole.

I’d second what others are saying about this sounds like you are still ill with something, when you saw the Doc, did they run any tests or check a urine sample?Sounds like your elevated stress on your Garmin watch is indicating you are still under the weather. It could be just coincidence that you landed with a nasty cold at the end of your training block, I don’t think it imparts that much stress on you to be overtrained unless you’ve been doing something in addition.

Have you got a view of your fitness/fatigue levels through historic power data? This will be calibrated by your FTP level but should provide some insight as to if it was overtraining or just coincidence… my money without any other detail is probably coincidence and you will be feeling a lot better in another week (hopefully) :slight_smile:

Echoing what others have said, I feel like you haven’t been going too long to slide into full on over training syndrome. Probably a virus. Go for very light easy walks/spins. EAT!!! Get healthy greens in, bright colored fruits.

Real full on overtraining syndrome takes a while to bring on. It’s something I did to myself, training with high intensity 15+ hours a week, really stressful job, and cutting calories/carbs to get skinny for high end triathlon. I screwed my self up so bad it took over four years for my body to recover. Was awful to have that happen.

Food is good, recovery is good, and sometimes it’s even better then the next hard workout.

1 Like

I don’t unfortunately as I just started training with power. Well I have probably some data from quite a while ago when I was on Zwift with smart trainer but likely not useful at this point. Doc did run a battery of blood tests, not sure exactly which but he said everything was normal.

Hoping you guys are right, for sure. Trying to get the best nutrition I can now and next week hopefully start some easy spinning. Still too cold for walking, I’m a tropical animal stuck in the semi-Arctic by cruel fate

Yes I did get a nasty cold which is thankfully near over I think.

I also found it very strange that a short period of training could do me in like that.

I bet it’s just “overdoing it then a 2-3 week cold”. It takes us older gents at least a few weeks to get back from a cold under normal circumstances. When your hr recovers and you feel good you can pick it up again but a bit slower this time.