Should I have waited?

Last Saturday I embarked on a hilly, 120 mile ride with a group that left me dropped at mile 105. I was completely cooked (I had adequate enough base mileage to confidently do this ride so I didn’t feel I was too in over my head). Not thinking too far ahead though, I had scheduled the start of my training plan the following week and started the Tuesday after this ride. I figured a couple days of rest would suffice as I wasn’t feeling too terribly fatigued by that Monday. However, 4 days into my first week of training I am wondering if I should’ve pushed out the start of training a full week to allow for more adequate recovery. As this is my first time pursuing and completing a legitimate training program I am not too sure I should be feeling the amount of fatigue I am already feeling after not even completing a full week. I have a lengthy workout today and tomorrow and I am honestly unsure I will be able to give a good enough effort for both of them. So here’s my question, particularly aimed at veterans of training plans… Is it normal to feel excessive amounts of fatigue before even finishing your first full week of training? If it is, I will grit my teeth and push through. If not, would I be better off to give myself one full week of rest and just start over? I definitely don’t want to overreach so early on… or at all for that matter!

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#1 - Are you in Adaptive Training and answering the surveys on difficulty accurately?
#2 - Did you take a ramp test or try the new AI Ftp tool?
#3 - Are you taking in enough calories on and off the bike? On the bike calories are critical to ensure you can complete workouts as intended.
#4 - The best time to start any plan is TODAY. If you are feeling tired, then use the workout alternates or turn the intensity down. If you are feeling REALLY tired, take a day off, don’t beat yourself up and come back the next day.

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I would have only regretted what I didn’t do (If I hadn’t rode). I can’t remember far enough back to my first week of training with a coach and how it affected me. I doubt it would have impacted negatively me in such a short time though.

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1- Yes and I do answer honestly.
2- I used the new AI FTP detection because I am TERRIBLE at ramp and FTP tests. I always end up hitting lower numbers and any subsequent workouts using the scored FTP ends up being too easy. I do wonder if the AI has me too high though.
3- Yes. That is a practice I most definitely have been focusing on.
4- I appreciate it. My main fear of training has always been overtraining/overreaching. I have no problem pushing through and doing the work.

I could be overthinking it… this level of fatigue I feel in my legs is probably acceptable for the training load and I’m just not used to it. :man_shrugging:t3:

You shouldn’t feel totally beat up halfway through your first week of a block. I would probably take at least till Tuesday to rest and recover and start the block fresh.

I disagree. If you start a block of training already with the fatigue like you’re describing you are setting yourself up for failure. Not only could you just dig the fatigue deeper but you probably aren’t getting the intended adaptations.

Also, I’d the fatigue is high enough that you’re questioning your ability to complete workouts less than a week into the block then you’re much more likely to see your compliance and motivation fall off a cliff and bail on the plan weeks/months down the line.

Starting the plan a week late will give you a negligible difference in outcome but driving your fatigue deeper could have lasting effects.

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Yea well that quote of mine has a lot of nuance attached to it. Of course, if you overstretched yourself only 2 days ago I would not recommend you jump into hard intense intervals. But getting yourself on a plan; even your own plan of riding easy and doing some ‘prep’ work is better than not planning anything at all.

That’s all I meant

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That’s exactly what I don’t want to do. I’m going to skip today and tomorrow to hopefully allow for adequate recovery. I want to feel fresh for the upcoming week.

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Agree with all the comments above.

What level plan are you on? Is that an increase from the volume/intensity you did before you started doing structured training? Are you a Masters age athlete?

I started the high volume build plan for sustained power. I’ve been riding 8-10 hours a week for awhile so the volume didn’t necessarily intimidate me but I know the intensity is what counts. Yes, I am masters age.

That’s a really tough plan. VERY few of us are on HV plans. Even the TR team frequently say that most people shouldn’t be on HV plans. You might be better off doing a LV or MV plan and then adding in some long Z2 rides to get in your hourly goals. Make sure you take a rest day or two also. Those are more important as we age.

Good luck!

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I might start over with a MV plan but I’m going to see how I feel for tomorrows workout first. I think if I can get my fatigue back to “normal” I would be able to manage the workload of the HV. We’ll see though. I appreciate the input!

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The last time I did a hard century (even properly fueled on a Saturday) I went into Tuesday and Wednesday doing hard rides as per my usual routine and dug myself into a huge hole.

Take the time off as you need. I would recommend sticking to east stuff this week. Start the plan well rested and ready to jump into training. Want that mental and physical fatigue to ease.

My 2c

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When I read your post, my first impression was that you just couldn’t hold the pace and overextended yourself. I don’t know how to judge whether you had “enough base mileage”, because pace makes all the difference. If you were by yourself, yes, then you can complete a ride at your own pace. But you blow up when you try to follow people who are too quick for you.

Also, if you are not used to such long rides, you will incur a lot of fatigue, especially if you went overboard. That will derail your training. Structured training is a very different beast than regularly riding for long distances on the weekend.

How do you know you are terrible at FTP tests?

How many calories and g of carb per hour have you been taking in?

All forms of structured training are based on the idea of progressive overload, i. e. you will overreach a little as compared with your current capabilities. That is intended.

And in your situation I don’t think you have to worry about overtraining for a long time. Real overtraining requires an entirely different level of excessive training.

Here is what I would do:

  • Try to get better at estimating your FTP, and I would recommend doing more FTP tests. Stick to one testing methodology. This is crucial. My recommendation is the ramp test. You need to get a feel for what your FTP feels like and stop constantly second guessing it. If you systematically need to correct the FTP upwards or downwards, make a mental note of that. Saying that “you are not good at testing” tells me you don’t know what it feels like to be in different power zones.
  • Start easy with a low-volume plan and if you do additional rides, e. g. on the weekends, replace one workout with your outdoor ride. Don’t overdo it on these rides. If in doubt, stay in your endurance zone (Z2). You don’t need a power meter, a heart rate monitor suffices. Just stay below 135 bpm. Pick your routes appropriately, i. e. avoid longer climbs since they many require you to go above Z2.
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I definitely feel I should’ve given myself at least another day or two for recovery after that big ride.

I have taken several FTP tests over the years, both Ramp and the standard 20 minute tests such as the wahoo systm 4DP Full Frontal test. As stated, all subsequent workouts after updating my FTP have almost always been too easy. I have been riding long enough to relatively guage what zones I am in but have only recently installed a power meter on my bike, so now outdoors I can have true readings. I don’t trust my heart as much as I do power. I take in 60g of carbs per hour during training but on bigger rides like what last Saturday, I am shooting for 90-100g per hour.

I am definitely going to consider restarting with the mid-volume block and I will try the ramp test beforehand. I am going to see how I feel going into next week first though.

The guys I rode with were definitely strong! I held on fine for the most part because it wasn’t a high pace until towards the end. My base mileage was definitely adequate for the ride I feel.

Several is too vague, and the fact that you have done so many different ones makes me think that you don’t have enough experience with any of them. It is much easier to leave something on the table with traditional FTP tests like the 8- or 20-minute tests.

The fact that you write that you test too low tells me that you are not really going to exhaustion in the tests. (Most people complain that the FTP they get from a ramp test is too high.)

I have been riding for decades without a power meter, and the difference was super stark once I got the hang of using my power numbers to inform my riding. The fact that you wrote you only recently got a power meter on your bike means you don’t have much experience connecting power numbers to the physical sensations in your body.

And if you don’t know your FTP, you don’t know the difference between high tempo, sweet spot, threshold and “light VO2max”.

60 g per hour is not enough, you should aim for 80–100 g per hour. Maintaining 90–100 g during such a long ride is much, much harder than during a 1–2-hour training ride.

I recommend you start with low-volume, not mid-volume. You wrote that this is your first foray into structured training, and you should definitely not be starting with a mid-volume plan.

I wasn’t present at the ride, but experienced riders would aim for a consistent pace during such a long ride. Increasing the pace at the end seems odd to me.

As for your “base mileage”, within the context of structured training base mileage has a very specific meaning: you are riding in Z1 and Z2. Most people who ride without a power meter don’t adhere to that. And “adequate” means very little here, either. If anything, the outcome (= you not being able to hang on and having your training derailed for >4 days) shows it is not adequate as measured by the ride you did.

Distance isn’t in isolation to intensity. Completing 120 miles at your steady Z2 pace, with low Z3 on hills is very different to trying to do it at steady Z3 pace, with bursts of Z4 or Z5 on hills. One is relatively easy to fuel and maintain pace the other will burn you out.

I’m very much in the school of listening to your body and binning workouts if it’s not going well. You can usually tell if it’s not happening during your first interval set. If so, bin it, do some easy spinning. If it’s the morning sometimes I stop a workout and then try it in the afternoon or evening and that’s been enough, or if evening I have delayed till next day.

It’s hard at first as you don’t yet have a feel for fatigue that is fine, fatigue that needs an easy day, and fatigue that needs rest.

If you are like me, having days off is really hard, and you have to remind yourself that days off are important. It’s rare to have to motivate yourself to have to get on the bike. Be as disciplined as to when it’s time to have time off the bike.

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I actually don’t agree with this. I know we’re all different, but for me personally, the 1st hard set is usually the hardest of the workout. If I’m suffering on the 1st set, I will go into the 2nd set to see if it’s as bad before I make any adjustments. For whatever reason, the 2nd set is almost always easier for me than the 1st.

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2 things I notice on long group rides.

  • Nobody has the discipline, lack of fragile ego or attention to go endurance pace. There’s always someone showing off and rest trying to match and even if it’s not a big contrast, even 10 watts over what you normally ride means you can overcook over several hours once those excess watts start adding up.
  • You chat, you have fun, you enjoy yourself and you forget to eat & drink enough. and most people don’t eat enough already cause they are trying to diet on the bike, think carbs are evil, or they have some special magical body that doesn’t require fueling to perform. You said you focus on nutrition so you might be in the eating less than you think category. Believe me it’s possible. Month ago I almost doubled my carb intake. I pop 2 clif bloks every 20 minutes. That’s 72 grams of carbs per hour. I finish 3 packs in 4 hours. On top of that, I pause once at a gas station mid ride to eat another source of fuel. Could be anything that had a little more substance to it than pure sugar cubes. My choice is a pack of nutter butter and a can of nitro black coffee. 1000 total calories. I don’t feel hungry once and feel consistent surge of energy that makes me wanna push hard even at 3 hours into the ride. This in contrast to when I ate half the carbs and calories on the same exact ride and was miserable in the last hour of it every week. On the drinking side, as an example, mid 50’s on yesterday’s ride and I went through 4 full 26oz bottles of water (pure water no electrolytes in it. This changes in warmer weather). With all those carbs it’s essential to drink enough to help digestion.

Endurance ride problems are almost always issues of riding too hard or undernutrition IMO. Sorry if this doesn’t help and you’re doing all the right things but might be worth making sure!

Best of luck in the next big ride.

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