Pushed a little too hard? Advice?

Hi everyone,

Former runner here. Have been injured since January and it has been driving me insane. I always feel the need to be continually getting better physically, so thought I would channel that into cycling until I can pick up running again. I bought a turbo, TR sub and have been just choosing random workouts on TR without much structure, and rather inconsistently.

The inconsistency comes from my own silly decisions, I believe. I always choose the hardest workouts I can find instead of following an established plan. I just don’t seem to be able to control myself and stick to the intervals, end up pushing too hard on one particular day and sometimes spend an entire week paying for it - extreme fatigue, lack of motivation and inability to workout. This then leads to depression and further lack of motivation.

I have just started training again last week after some time off, and likely went back too quick. Again, unstructured. I did two workouts, a threshold on Tuesday (not recommended one, as you can see I failed) and also went a bit crazy on Saturday, originally going for a sweetspot with some added z2 but ended up doing closer to tempo and totalled 4 hours for the workout after consuming a little too much caffeine beforehand. I have attached screenshots of the training week.

After Fridays workout, I felt very nauseous for about an hour or two before eating some salt and carbs which helped. Felt OK the day after but then come Sunday I could barely get out of bed, extremely fatigued and even slow walking was a real effort. I am also holding on to more fluid than usual. I seem to always get edema in the days following a very hard or long session.

I intended to start on a structured plan: ssbhv 1 and try sticking to the workouts prescribed, but am still feeling fatigued today. I’ve taken so much time off training in the last few months I really don’t want to have to take any more off. Its destroying my mental health. Does anyone have any advice? On when to push through or rest? And how long to rest for if so? How long should I rest after an effort such as Fridays? Any feedback is appreciated, thank you.


How much are you eating during these workouts? Nausea after a workout like that which is solved by consuming salt and carbs sounds like you bonked hard.

Workouts like the Rainbow +6 look like it could be a fueling issue as you start out okay then you fade.

To come back from that extreme bonk, make sure you are eating, sleeping, and drinking enough. Then take Monday off. If you are feeling okay on Tuesday then do an easy workout, like really easy (under an hour (probably like 45 min) and under 0.65 IF). Wednesday do an easy endurance ride (like 1-1.5hr at ~65-70%). Then take Thursday off. Friday ride another easy endurance ride. Then probably stick to endurance but can go a little longer on the weekend.

You not only bonked super hard on Friday but you also did a pretty big week of training before that. So you have to recover from both.

My advice would to not do SSHV. It’s already high volume and if you are as inconsistent as you say you will almost certainly do more than the plan calls for and then regret it.

You really need to try to adjust your mindset. One big workout will not make you faster but it certainly can hurt you and set you back for a week or more. What you need is to be consistent, complete manageable workouts, fuel them, recover, and be consistent (yes I said it twice).

Consider doing Traditional Base Mid Volume. It will feel super easy for the first couple weeks but I think you need that rest. These workouts should not be killing you. They are just to gain some physiological adaptation and to then allow you to recover, improve, and then hit the next one.

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To be honest, I am not eating during workouts of 2 hours or under, nor do I plan to as I personally believe it is unnecessary and inconvenient unless doing a race. The body can store over 2000 calories in glycogen alone, so provided I’ve eaten plenty of carbs the night before and the morning of the workout, this should be sufficient. I did let TR estimate my ftp though, as I cannot face another ftp test. I get super nervous and, last time, got a result that seemed very inaccurate.

I believe my ftp for the threshold on Tuesday was too high because of an inaccurate estimation by the TR software. I have since taken off 5 Watts. From the start of the first interval I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold 134 Watts for 3x30.

I also didn’t eat during the 4 hours on Saturday. I intended to, but ended up putting it off and it never happened. Really do not enjoy eating on the bike. I drank half a litre of electrolyte drink and that was it. I didn’t intend on being on the bike for that long, hence the poor fueling. But actually ended up feeling fine on the bike with the nausea only hitting after I got off. The first thing I ate was seaweed and meat at a barbecue, and felt a lot better after the salt.

I would like to do a high volume plan if possible. I am used to running 80+ mpw and now have 12 hours per week to train which id like to make the most of, really. I want a challenge and always just have trouble finding trust in plans over one to one coaching which I can’t afford. This is why I opted for ssbhv, but intend to stay within the Watt range and not go over like I usually would.

I admit I do struggle knowing how much I am supposed to be eating to fuel this. I am very small (4’11 and less than 40kg). I am aiming for around 2500 cals per day but it feels like it could be too much for someone so small. I lose weight doing this kind of training on 2000.

Also, incase you were wondering what the random drops in cadence are, that’s just because saddle Discomfort gets progressively worse the longer I go and I have to get out of my saddle more frequently.

I would consider reconsidering this. Yes, it is possible to do intense workouts and races under 2 hours without consuming calories but you are limiting your performance and recovery. Those glycogen stores are precious and require lots of time to rebuild. So if maintaining them is as simple as eating or drinking carbs during rides longer than an hour or so then I don’t see a good reason not to. Also, think about what it means to run those stores down. You aren’t just at a quarter tank of gas and your car keeps on running till empty. Your body can tell that you are running low and will begin to limit you from depleting them. Since running them down to 0 means you die and go into rigor.

Yeah 4 hours with an hour or so of SS is not a ride to go without food on. Unfortunately, if you don’t like eating on the bike and you keep doing rides like this then you are going to find yourself in a world of hurt. You have to remember that if you are looking to train 12 hours per week that you aren’t just fueling to do well on that current ride but also to be able to recover quickly to train again the next day and the day after that. Running your glycogen stores down can take 72 hours to fully refuel so by not eating you are compromising half your week of training.

If I was you, I would choose the LV and then fill in with pure endurance riding. Once you get to a steady state that you know you can follow and recover from then consider moving up to MV. The HV plans are really really intense. They should really be called ‘Expert’ plans. Most (like 99%) of people would be better suited by on of the lower volume plans filled in with endurance riding if they have the time for the HV plans.

Just like everyone else (though maybe less calories due to your size). Find your daily calorie burn (before exercise) then add in your ride calories. You also need to be fueling on the bike. It will take some practice and maybe just carb in your bottle will be the easiest but I promise you it will make both the ride and recovery easier.

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TR and the forum here tends to push the SS as a way of time crunching an aerobic base, but I’d argue that with 12 available hours, you’d be better served exploring one of the traditional base plans. If boredom from that much indoor z2 is concerning, throw in one VO2 max workout a week during your base phase. That dynamic, punchy, anaerobic stuff is typically reserved for specialty and/or build phases. Don’t skip a base phase though, no matter which route you take. (I’m not a fan of SSB plans but the occasional SS workout could be a nice addition to a TB plan as well).

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No, TR should do away with them entirely IMO. And this user is a prime example of why. She wants to train a high volume, but the intensity coupled with the volume and the difficulty of the trainer… all combined with her lack of cycling experience… make that choice wildly inappropriate for her.

@Isobel_Thomas there is a lot to unpack here.

You’ve got issues with calorie consumption and your thinking about it is wholly incorrect. You need to be taking in calories on these rides to achieve better performance and health. If it’s 1 hour, that’s fine on just water. You’re getting up to 2-4 hours and doing them without taking in calories based on faulty thinking about glycogen storage without accounting for depletion and replenishment. Simply put, you are doing every ride you do in a carb-depleted state which is hampering your performance and likely entirely unhealthy.

The HV plan is inappropriate for you (and, frankly, probably everyone).

Running fitness does not translate to cycling fitness very well (the reverse works better!). While you no doubt have a high level of aerobic fitness, you are asking your body to do different things than you ever have before, and you’ve gone and jumped off into the deepest of ends trying to tackle a TR high volume plan.

You’ve been given good advice: if you must do a TR plan, choose a low-volume plan, and supplement it with EASY riding for as much as you want. And FUEL YOUR WORKOUTS.

As I read your posts, my thought is that you need to get your mindset fixed first and foremost. From what you’ve written here, it sounds like you have an unhealthy relationship with exercise and maybe food/fueling as well.

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Oh, I don’t disagree with you at all. I was just going off the condition that it is there. It should be covered in red flags and warnings and have you read extra documentation about why it might be a bad idea.

Though definitely, best case, it would be reworked it have like 60% of the intervals and the rest being endurance. Unfortunately, TR was built for indoor only, time crunched people and seemingly with the assumption that people can’t ride for more than 1.5hrs at endurance pace on a trainer.

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As you’re not following a TR Plan and like to select your own workouts, can I suggest a tweak to this approach?

Why not use the Train Now option? You will get three different ‘types’ of workout to choose from. If none of them take your fancy, you can essentially refresh that selection and three more workouts will be available. You can do this until you find a workout that fulfils your needs. You can also adjust the length of the workout.

This approach (my description is simplistic, at best) might help you to adjust to the workload whilst keeping your sessions enjoyable and productive.

I think the advice you’ve been offered with regards to fuelling is great and I could only see it aiding you :+1:

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I totally understand what you are going through. I am a very similar mindset re training, and like you I get very depressed if I can’t train. I was a runner but after 30 years of running I was plagued with injuries ( ususally achilles tendon) .
I still run, but fairly slowly and only two or three times a week.
What you didn’t mention is are you using the cycling just as a temporary thing while you are rehabbing back to running?
It is certainly a good way to keep active and get the blood flowing, but it could also be detrimental to your recovery if you push too hard.
I think the LV plan would be the way to go for you , and then you have the option of adding some extra endurance (low intensity) should you wish to.
You didn’t say what your injury is, and if you are seeing a physio/getting the right rehab.
Working at the excersises they give you can be another form of training ,and keep the depressive moods away.
Re nutrition, this is what I have for a 1.5 hour TR workout (Tempo and upwards intensity).
1 x 500 ml bottle of water with 2 measures of Torq electrolyte/carb drink .
If it is a 2 hour session ,I will have a caffeinated gel before half way through the session, and I have an extra bottle of just water incase I need it .
On a 4 hr ride outside, I usually drink 2x 500ml bottles of Torq energy and take 3 gels, tho’ I often come home with one unused!
I am 5ft 2" and under 8 stone.
I hope you can get back to running soon, and don’t be tempted to build up your mileage and intensity too soon!!

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Take some of that time you want to be on the bike and read these two books:

  • On Top of Your Game (Carrie Cheadle) - General mental skills / sports psychology book.
  • Rebound (Carrie Cheadle) - Mental skills / sports psychology book related to the injury recovery process.

TBH, the idea of 10-12hrs/week of TR while trying to recover from running injury doesn’t make sense to me. Hopefully with some guidance and self reflection you can figure out how to improve consistency, not always beat yourself into the ground, etc. Good luck.

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I can hear the answers from the TR team

Structured training works bc it’s structured

Fuel your rides

Accept the suggestions of AI.

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Decent summary, but you missed their Low Volume plan recommendation, especially for people new to cycling and indoor training.

  • (Often coupled with High Vol is for a very few of the most advanced riders with a lengthy training history).
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I think running lends itself better to cycling fitness than cycling does for running.

Here is my advice:

  1. Start simple. Pick a low-volume training plan using Plan Builder (that’s important!), because only then are your workouts adapted. If you are not sure, use rolling road race unless you know you are doing something more specific (e. g. duatholon —> tri plan).
  2. Start building good habits. The lowest hanging fruit is sleep. Don’t train when you have had less than 7 hours. Just don’t, it’s not worth it. Same with eating: learn to fuel your workouts on the bike and eat regularly during the day.
  3. Consider rest as part of your training. Once I understood this, a lot of other pieces fell into place. You don’t need to “earn” rest, you don’t need to feel fatigued from the previous workout to need it, this is quite literally when your body makes you stronger. Don’t cut back on nutrition (because you aren’t working out, right?), your body needs the energy to repair and strengthen muscle tissue.
  4. Do not try to optimize everything at once.

You should not start with high volume. High volume is HARD and you need experience with structured training to be able to grok this. Basically, you will need to have your life dialed, specifically sleep, nutrition, rest and all that. The burnout you describe is a natural consequence.

Start with low volume. It’ll seem easy, but the effect of training fatigue will only become apparent with time. If you want to add any workouts, add endurance workouts — but then stick to your endurance power zone. Do not try to push harder or find the hardest endurance workout.

This is what you should fix. Fueling during workouts, even shorter ones has a huge impact on your ability to give your best performance. When I started fueling correctly (90-100 g carbs per hour), my performance went up-up-up. And in my opinion you should do this during every workout to build a habit. Last Sunday I went on a ride with my mountain bike — no power meter, I didn’t pay attention to heart rate and fueled by feel. You know how many carbs I ate? About 100 g per hour.

What worked for me was log the food I ate during a workout. Also, you will need some time to get used to regular fueling and likely need to experiment with different foods. Some folks swear on liquid calories, others use gels or gummi bears. Personally, I use a combination of them, I almost always have carbs in my bottles (SIS energy mix) and then supplement with gummi bears or gels. Liquid calories are likely easier on your stomach.

That packs in a bunch of assumptions on your part like that you are able to store 2,000 kCal, that your body will not throttle you once it senses that you aren’t going to replenish your glycogen stores, etc.

You did not build a habit nor got used to it, and it shows during regular rides, too. Drinking only half a liter during a 4-hour ride not only left you low on carbs, but dehydrated.

This is another advantage of fueling on the bike: before I got that down, my eating habits got all wonky when I started or stopped training. When I stopped training, for a while I’d still eat as if I were training — with predictable consequences (weight gain). When I started after a period of not training, I’d be underfueled. Once I learnt to fuel on the bike for ever single ride, my portion sizes during normal meals have become much more consistent, no matter whether I trained or not.

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Thanks to everyone who has replied so far, I really appreciate the insight I’ve gained from more experienced cyclists.

As a runner, most of this goes against everything I learned as a runner eg not fueling runs under 2 hours as i never found it improved performance, saving fueling for the race and trying to adapt to burning fat as fuel during long low intensity sessions.

Also keeping easy days easy and hard days hard, I would usually combine my harder longer workouts into one session and do the rest as short easy runs. In cycling, it seems to be more common to do interval sessions as shorter sessions and then a separate long endurance the following day.

I am currently considering 3 options:
1. Ssbhv
2.TB (put off by lack of intensity, especially in TB1, so would consider starting from TB2 here)
3.SSBLV padded with z2 for 10-13h total volume

Options 2 and 3 are pretty similar. With SSBLV, the fact that sessions are only 1 hour puts me off as I like to be on my trainer for at least a 90 min workout and with TBhv I feel there is a lack of intensity. I’d like to know what you guys think, or if you have any alternative suggestions?

I feel 3 days of intervals rather than 4 might be better for me as I tend to prefer higher volume training of a slightly lower intensity, and I prefer to add to plans rather than take away parts that might be important (if i were to alter ssbhv and ssbmv) . I feel that extra day of intensity in high and med volume plans would be better off as a longer lower intensity session to avoid evoking a stress response too frequently throughout the week.

I will take on board the fueling advice. I am just not sure what the best structure is eg where to add the intervals, how long they should be, where to add the z2 etc.

Thanks in advance!

Possible option #4 would be to try the one of the TR Experimental Polarized plans.

  • The Low Volume plan contains 1 High Intensity and 2 Low Intensity workouts per week,

  • The Mid and High volume plans have just 2 High Intensity workouts per week with the rest as Low Intensity.

Might get you more than the Traditional Base (especially 1st phase) that you seem to not like. These need to be “turned on” to access them, but might be worth a look and consideration.

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If you do SSBLV, you could probably choose 90 minute alternates for all the 60 minute workouts that your plan gives you.

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I have never done structured training for running, but there were periods where I did run quite regularly. To me the biggest difference was that I wanted to keep things quite minimal while running. Even taking a bottle was a nuisance. That’s very different with cycling. strong text

With cycling you can’t combine the harder sessions into one (assuming you have more than one per week). Harder workouts should be separated either by at least one rest day or one easy endurance day.

I strongly advise against option 1. I’d go for option 3 and resist the temptation to immediately pad the workouts so that you get to 10-13 hours. Take it slow and see how your body reacts. If you switch sports, your body needs time to acclimatize. You can’t just bombard it with 13 hours of training per week and expect to manage that long-term. You need to get used to schedule, a rhythm. When done right, you’ll get waves of long-term fatigue that feels very different than the short-term fatigue you feel after a hard workout.

As a beginner to structured training on a bike, you should not start with a high volume plan. Start with low volume. If you want to spend 90 minutes on a trainer, I recommend you do you hard workout and then add a 30-minute endurance workout from the library. That’s what I have done for several seasons. If you are offered a 60-minute endurance workout, look for a 90-minute alternate. Resist your temptation to add too much. Rather do less, but stay consistent.

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I’d recommend option 2, but starting with TB1. Why? Because again, you’re wanting to jump in with really high volume AND add a bunch of intensity at the same time.

Start with Traditional Base high volume for four weeks, then add a little bit of intensity at a time with TBHV2 and 3 and let Adaptive Training do its thing (FWIW). That will get you the volume numbers you want while making sure you can actually handle that along with adding intensity more intelligently than doing three very hard interval sessions per week and adding endurance.

Whatever you do, stay the heck away from Option 1 at all costs. Just put it out of your mind.

Lots of advanced cyclists do their interval work as part of longer rides, but again… one thing at a time here. Get your long rides dialed in with proper fueling and recovery, then worry about adding intensity to them. Your best bet is to work on building volume, and do your intense sessions as shorter bouts. As you progress, do the intervals and then add some quality zone 2 riding time after the intervals (or before them if you care about fatigue resistance for racing).

But again, red flags all over the place here with respect to wanting this much volume, not respecting fueling and proper recovery, and worrying about not enough intensity when stepping on the trainer for 10-13 hours per week as a cyclist new to the sport.

Not sure who taught you that, but that’s crazy to me that someone would tell you that fueling runs under 2 hours wouldn’t help you improve performance. I would agree with no need to fuel runs under an hour, and you don’t need to take in a bunch of sugar for a 2-hour run… but something would improve performance, no question in my mind. Like a gel at 30 min and a gel at 60 min, minimum, would improve performance IMO.

I’ve coached half- and full-marathoners to PRs of 10- to 30-minutes and the single biggest thing they changed was fueling (taking in more). For whatever reason, so many runners think they’re immune to needing to fuel, and I just think that’s totally nuts.

My most recent marathoner wouldn’t take in anything on her training runs. I got her to start training her long runs at 200-250cal/hr and we noted immediate performance improvement leading to full- and half-marathon PRs. Most recent half-marathoner didn’t take in anything for 2hr runs, I got him taking in 250-300cal/hr and he knocked almost 15 minutes of his time. YMMV.

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Let me play devil’s advocate here: @Isobel_Thomas has trouble fueling to put it mildly. I would not recommend TB, especially in its high volume incarnation before she got better at fueling her workouts properly. Even with traditional base, I’d start out at low volume.