Raised Heart Rate for any given workload following illness

Any advice / thoughts appreciated… Following a recent bit of ill health (general fatigue leading to an abcess in one of my teeth -bacterial infection - which needed a couple of courses of antibiotics) I have been able to return to training - I have tried to keep intensity low - but even so notice my recovery time from long steady rides is still longer than usual, with a bit of extra muscle soreness. Most worryingly though my HR is up by approx 10 beats/min for any given workload - I am 43 - so at sweet spot - say 250watts - my HR is now approx 155 - where prior to illness it would have been closer to 140-145.
Is this simply telling me I am still ill? or loss of fitness or both. I had 1 week off the bike all together and then one week of zone 2 only with much reduced weekly TSS. It seems to quick to have lost that amount of fitness - I am a fairly experienced cyclost with a few years hard trainjng under my belt. I am now able to complete sweet spot workouts - but intuitively have avoided anything of a higher intensity. My general wellness is fine. I am perhaps still feeling generally fatigued, but that is about it.

Should I just get off the bike for another week (s)? or re-test on ramp test and see if I have simply lost watts/fitness. Any thoughts appreciated

I would say its both, I know on a recent podcast they talked about the same thing happening with them. I forget who was experiencing it though.

I would just slowly ramp it back up again, give the body a bit of time to re-adjust to the workload after being off the bike and ill for a time.

If your in the middle of a plan I might restart it or go back a week or so and give your body time to get back into it.


Thanks for this. I will definitely go back to the start of my plan and will probably take an extra week or so to rest/ zone 2 only.

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I’m in the same position here. After having had something off I’ve restarted a week twice and then took several days completely off the bike. Started this week with Pettit and then did Mills yesterday and Darwin today. All with at least 10bpm higher HR than “normal”. Well I assume that because Pettit was higher. Workouts feel tougher basically. More tough than I’d expect. How have you all had it when you’ve been off for 5 days? Because this doesn’t feel great. My resting HR is also higher than usual and Garmin Connect signals higher stress than normal. This would be connected to higher resting HR though.


I just watched a video that covers this in relation to how fast your detrain. It seems that one of the quickest things to detrain is you blood plasma volume, and this will cause your heartrate to be higher for a given effort when you start training again. Obviously you had more going on that just sitting on the couch, so there could be more at play, but it sounds like higher heart rate is to be expected.
The video is by Dylan Johnson is below. He seems to back up his points with research data, which I like a lot.

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I calculated it and it seems that my HR has been about 5% higher than previously. So probably not strange but it feels pretty crappy anyways. Well well. I hope an outdoor ride today for the first time in 7 weeks will compensate a little. :slight_smile:

I got sick after a big rainy ride in September, sort of flu-y cold. I was mostly off the bike for two weeks:

I had grand plans to try to keep the legs spinning while I was sick, and I did a little of that, but it felt miserable. There’s a lot of advice on this forum and on the podcast and the support articles to just stop working when you’re sick, because any effort is going to divert your body’s attention from healing itself, and extend your sickness.

When I was feeling recovered, I started up SSBMV1, but replaced the ramp test with the endurance version of Mount Field, and replaced the sweet spot work on Saturday with a longer endurance ride (per the week tips) to ease back in. I’d ramp tested recently, so I figured I’d start from that benchmark and drop things down as needed instead of digging myself into a hole with an all-out effort or guesstimating my loss of fitness:

Everything felt hard, it was all much higher RPE than I expected. My heart rate during Mount Field, 3x12 at 85%, was hovering right under my LTHR. Reinstein is over/unders but at a 2/1 ratio, and even with 10 minutes of rest in between my heart rate never really recovered. I think that’s probably unavoidable when you’re coming back from not riding, and I’m really glad I eased back in instead of slamming it from day one.

I did the same Sunday long-and-slow replacement on week 2. By week 3, everything felt back to normal, “tough but doable”. (McAdie was still a slog.)

All that to say, give yourself a little time. You’ll bounce back.

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Wow thanks a lot for that! Super nice feedback and experince. Much appreciated! I’m doing SSBMV2 week 4 so it’s a wee bit tougher than SSBMV1 which I’ve already completed 100%. I will restart and do SSBMV1/2 again after SSBMV2 is done so not the end of the world if I can’t make all workouts but I really hate dialing things down. Skipping is not an option if I’m not sick. :slight_smile:

Same experience, different illness this year. It took me 6 weeks or so to get back on the bike in any serious way. Don’t fight it, and listen to your body. The good news is you probably didn’t lose that much fitness and when your body is done recovering it will come back relatively quickly. Once I started to feel like myself again my HR returned to closer to normal range.


It just makes me wonder if I perhaps started too early with high intensity. I’ve just stressed out seeing fitness/CTL-figures drop and VO2Max on my Garmin plummet along with workload. I’ve tried not to stress about it but once I didn’t have any issues I started with Pettit and went on with Mills then Darwin. All with much higher HR but no fatigue in the legs so I don’t know if I should look too much at the HR.


I think we TR data geeks shoot ourselves in the foot a little bit when we’re coming back from illness or injury. We have clear metrics for oh no, your fitness has declined in this quantifiable way, just think how hard you’ll have to work to get back to baseline, but we’re less likely to have metrics for hey your healing is on track, way to get better, good job not digging yourself into a deeper hole that will take even longer to recover from.

Think of it as part of the mental strength you cultivate when you’re 2 minutes into a 3-minute VO2max interval: Stay strong! Heal! Resist the temptation to do the unproductive thing!

(And that said, it doesn’t really sound like you’ve gone off the rails. You were sick, you took time off the bike, it makes sense that your heart rate is up, it’ll come back down again. I don’t think there’s a scenario where you take a bunch of time off the bike and come back and immediately have exactly the same physiological responses you had before.)


Hey thanks for the positive attitude. Really appreciated. :raised_hands: I’m sure it’ll clear and get back on track. Being sick or off the bike is highly unusual for me so I don’t really know how to handle it.

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