Question about "overreaching" / over training / Garmin's tracking

I am a recreational mountain biker, early 50’s, mid 40’s VO2 and in off season so riding only indoor. I set a 3-4 a week program by following the wizard like setup for mountain biking to conclude in the spring. I use a Garmin Fenix 6 and recently started using an HRM strap (because I’m a data nerd and wrist seems janky).
Anyway, my VO2 has moderated down a bit I think because of more accurate data and burst my bubble some (was high 40’s based on the wrist).
Now with the HRM the Garmin is now doing more training tracking and is saying I am overreaching and recommending rest quite a bit. Wondering if I should heed it’s advice or just follow the program?

I gotta ask is “Chocolate Kettle” a british expression?? :slight_smile:


“As useful as a chocolate teapot” is


I googled the expression and when I saw an actual image it all made sense :slight_smile:

I wonder if it has something to do with relative data and going from nothing to something?

I think I know what is up. This is my longer term data.

I think the issue is that when the outdoor season ended and I went back on the trainer and switched from zwift to TR, I only used my garmin to broadcast HR…and did not record an “activity”. When I decided to go to the HRM and wanted to get better data I realized I needed to use the “indoor biking” activity…which has now kicked in tracking properly as Garmin would expect to have it.

Yup that’ll do it. Garmin doesn’t seem to track any of the ‘more advanced’ fatigue and fitness metrics unless you record the activity on a Garmin device. So even though you can view other activities in GC their metric algorithms don’t see them and thus don’t take them into account when calculating fatigue. So as far as those metrics go you just spend 8 weeks sitting on the couch and then jumped into a training plan and went from 0 to 700 for your 7 day load.

It tries to look at your recent historical training data and extrapolate what load you can handle without over training. But as they say “garbage in, garbage out”. So because their metrics aren’t actually looking at all of your data they won’t be able to give you an accurate analysis.

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so in other words, power on with training and at some point it will start to come in line.


Here’s my take on this. While all these devices can be useful in some instances, are we losing touch with our own feelings and instincts?
I bet you could bin all your devices, ride your bike, based on RPE (rate of perceived exersion).
And you would know when you need to rest/ have an easy day or 2.
You don’t mention which TR plan you are on. But the low volume option may be best if you are concerned about overdoing it.
Also look through the podcasts ,/ forum topics on over training, and the symptoms, effects and treatment .


To @Lydiagould point, trust your body and instincts. Use technology to see if your feelings correlate to the data. My coach does a better job at managing training load than Garmin or HRV data (HRV4Training) or looking down and seeing a “hot” HR while warming up in zone2 before starting intervals. But that’s just me and you might find something different.

It’s like using a power meter, I think it’s better to ride by feel and use the power meter to calibrate your feelings.


Yes exactly what I am trying to do…learn more about what is going on under the covers vs what I feel and how I progress. Being somewhat new to all of this I wanted to make sure i wasn’t ignoring some important information. Thanks all for the inputs.

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I find Garmin metrics mostly useless. They almost always tell me I’m not doing enough! According to the load distribution, they want me to do more anaerobic and more threshold work. And they think I’m doing too much base in base season.

I’ve looked for the documentation on Garmin’s training metrics and I really couldn’t find much. As far as I’m concerned, it’s useless for a serious cyclist.

Do you feel overreached? You may also need to have your FTP, weight, and age set correctly for the metrics to work as they should.

I saw that along with a lot of ‘non-productive training’ while using TrainerRoad plans. All of that changed when moving to non-TR plans a year ago and then more recently custom plans from a coach. The Garmin metrics now correlate quite well (not perfect, but much better) with my actual training. FWIW.

The Garmin metrics would certainly push me towards a top heavy pyramidal plan. I know you’ve said that your current plan is more pyramidal now. I also have relatively good anaerobic power so doing a lot more to jive with Garmin wouldn’t see productive for me. I’ve got nothing to sprint for right now or for the foreseeable future!

My only frustration with the Garmin metrics is that they present no plan on how to get where they might want you to be. They would also have you doing the same load focus all year long rather than implementing any periodization.

A month ago I did an extensive SS/threshold block and the load focus did start to move closer to what Garmin likes. Still, it’s a little too vague to be the only thing I would use.

I’ve never seen that.

From my point-of-view, TR SSB plans are top heavy. While doing TR SSB, Garmin was pushing me to do a lot more low aerobic (zone 2) work. And Garmin was showing a lot of unproductive days.

I take pretty much anything Garmin gives me as “for entertainment purposes only”. I’m often being told I’m overtraining or being unproductive, or detraining. If I responded to it’s assessment I’d be chasing my tail and never accomplishing anything. I mainly just use garmin connect as a way of tracking TSS across multiples types of activities. Beyond that, they’re just adorable that they think they know what they’re talking about.

So far the Garmin* stuff to be pretty much right in line with how I feel. When I feel tired I look at my “Body Battery” and see that I didn’t fully charge the night before. I look at the recommended workout, and it is often similar (in concept) to my next planned workout (though far less advanced). THe FTP estimates have been close enough to work, being within a couple percentages (and hypothetically not requiring me to ride to failure, though I did anyway).

But I track EVERYTHING on my Garmin devices. All my rides, and my runs, everything is on there. I don’t use TR for recording anything, I delete the workout before it is done and let my Garmin data sync to TR. Without tracking all your activities, Garmin won’t be able to help you track your load and fitness. Imagine being upset that TR was telling you your TSS was low because you weren’t entering in outside ride data.

On the other hand, it is all just for curiosity, as I completely ignore it (and ignore the TR data, TSS, etc) and just look at the data for entertainment. Seems kinda wasteful I guess, but maybe I will figure out how to leverage it some day.

*The analytics are not actually Garmin, they are from a lab that Garmin licensed the analytics from. Though Garmin did recently buy that company.

and that I need to do more low aerobic. I saw all of that while doing TR plans.

However since moving to non-TR plans my FTP and short power have increased, I can do maintenance resistance training 2 days/week, and the Garmin metrics are actually reasonable (e.g. a lot of my training is productive).

Generally agree with ‘for entertainment purposes only’ and would never recommend using it to guide training.

As with most of these outside-the-lab testing devices and apps, I think the value is in tracking trends over the course of days,weeks,months,years within that respective ecosystem.

I think waking up on a given day and saying my “HRV” or “Body Battery” or “Whoop Score” says I should or shouldn’t work out today isn’t helpful. But if for instance, every time you have a rough night sleep, or didn’t eat right the night before, or had a hard day at work, AND the score is low, and your see a corresponding result one way or the other in your workout, and that’s replicated over days/weeks/months, then THAT starts to have value… But that’s a bit more tracking than I’m willing to do at this time.

you are not following TR Plans at all?