Overtraining Suppressed Heart Rate - L'etape Lejog

Hello all and please help,

I’m experiencing suppressed heart rate while riding - my normal max is around 195 and recently it won’t go past 153.

I’m a 51 yr old 6’2 96kg enthusiastic (if slow) cyclist trading 2/3 times a weeks most recently for a triathlon and now for L’etape in a couple of weeks the LEJOG in August (5 days of 300km)

I’d been on the turbo early I the year then recently a 3 week visit to Italy. At first all good training at Zone 2 on long climbs, but one day my HR hardlined at 151. Unfortunately this was just before a three day bike packing trip during which my HR wouldn’t go up and each day was hit long and hilly, I used a power meter to stay in my normal zone 2 but it didn’t feel good. That was over 2 weeks ago, I took a week break then checked it out with the same symptoms and repeated it with the same result.
I’m pretty fatigued, sleeping a lot and I’m concerned.
Any idea how long recovery from this kind of this might take? Advice on doing L’etape and LEJOG? I’m thinking I might have to scratch the former but I’d really like to make the later which is still 5 weeks away.


Just in case of a bad HRM strap, did you verify with another HRM or by counting?


If you’re riding 2/3 times a week, the odds that you’re truly overtrained are slim, especially since you’ve taken some extended breaks. More likely you’re sick with something or your HRM is not working correctly.

Fatigue, excessive sleep, and suppressed HR are symptoms of overtraining but also of a lot of medical conditions.

Have you talked to a doctor?


Appointment booked though I spoke to a GP friend and they hadn’t heard of exercise induced low heart rate so might need to find a specialist

Good call, I checked the Garmin HR against a medical device and they matched up.

I’ve never heard of this, and won’t have any answer (except see a doctor asap), but what’s your power doing now, i.e. is power still consistent with the heart rate you are pushing, as before your HR topped out?

And when you say “I used a power meter to stay in my normal zone 2 but it didn’t feel good”…what does “didn’t feel good” mean"?

At my cardiologist appt last month, I had a convo with the doc about how I haven’t been getting my HR up into threshold and above hardly at all for several months, but it will get there on a gnarly hill in the summer heat, and I’m writing it off as my bike fitness is higher than I think it’s ever been and with this significantly higher power I’m pushing in zones 2 and 3 (and that I mostly ride mtb), so I don’t usually have to push to threshold anymore to keep up with my friends or be satisfied with my speed (and maybe pushing my technical ability limits at those speeds). :sweat_smile: Doctor said that sounds reasonable. But that’s obviously not what you’re going through.

Think you can really put yourself into a hole like that, I’ve heard it from ultra riders, and I’ve had it too. Fatigue, low HR during exercise, legs not quite there so that everything feels like an effort. It can take a couple of weeks to recover. It could obviously also be that you’ve picked up a virus as the immune system is surpressed, but I think you’d likely also get other symptoms, such as a high temperature and maybe a cold.

I wouldn’t call it “overtraining” as it’s the result of an event, and not constant training. However, I think if you go back into full training too soon, you can make it “overtraining” with long-term complications.

I’d give it another week maybe and see how you feel then.

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As others have said, see a doctor, as a starting point they can get blood tests done to make sure something underlying isn’t causing it.

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My guess is your suppressed HR has nothing to do with exercise. But again, just a guess. What you described as your training load is not overtraining, and when I see people who are overreaching, HR is depressed by 5-10bpm and they can’t elevate to max by about that amount. Not 40bpm. To me, you’ve got something else going on, so I wouldn’t go in there telling the GP “exercise induced suppressed HR.” Tell them the symptoms and let them figure it out.


Thank you all for the advice. It is helpful and reassuring. I’ve stayed off the bike and I’m at the Doctors tomorrow.