I have been on a contiguous training plan (rolling road race) since the beginning of the year. Started using TrainerRoad last summer along with structured training) and it has been going well. I have been doing the mid volume plan (everyday, Monday-Friday) and have been seeing results. With the conclusion of the 8 week building block I finished this week I saw my FTP hit 250 which is a milestone for me (I started at 192 when I started TR last August).
Throughout the year I have always felt fresh enough, in terms of fitness and being generally “soreless”, to do the upcoming workout. But as of recently I noticed I am always sore, to some extent, in my calves and hamstrings. Especially now after completing this week’s recovery week. After two TR endurance workouts and two outdoor rides (~25 miles each, mostly in endurance and tempo zones) I am still feeling what I can best describe as DOMS in my legs. But this wasn’t really something I was feeling during the actual training blocks in the past when I was doing high intensity and interval stuff.
While I feel rested and strong in terms of cardio fitness, and I am highly motivated to ride I feel my lower body is telling me I need to rest. My last outdoor ride (again 25 miles in endurance/tempo zone) was yesterday and I still feel soreness in my legs. I speculate part of the reason for the soreness is a poor bike fit. I got a new bike last fall and never got a proper bike fitting. And as I increased my training volume and did more ambitious rides I started to notice some paresthesia in my outer toes and perineal area when I ride for longer.
I am scheduled to start my specialty block tomorrow but my thinking is to give myself a week off (and maybe more) and essentially start the block next week or whenever to allow some rest and get a professional bike fit. The only problem is I don’t want to go on a break. I feel like I have been doing very well with my training and I have been motivated by how much I was able to increase my FTP. Along with that I am enjoying cycling more than ever as warm weather starts to hit me here in Pennsylvania. To summarize, I am afraid that taking time to rest will have me regress on the progress I made or relationship I have with our beloved sport.
Leg soreness isn’t necessarily a reason to take a break from training. During a hard block, you’ll never feel fully fresh, not even after a recovery week, because the whole idea is to accumulate stress.
That said, interval training for 5.5 months straight certainly warrants a break. I do intervals year round, but in many of these months, I’m just cherry picking key workouts to maintain fitness. As for actual training plans, I’m only doing 1-2 per year (8-16 weeks).
You havent given age or training experience. You did say you are on a mid volume plan which is pretty damn taxing. 5.5 months is a long time without a break. You are seeing gains but your body is paying for it. Take the time off the bike. Work on mobility, order bike parts catch up with friends. Unless your A event is around the corner, you arent going to lose much fitness but you stand to gain a meaningful recovery and most importantly adaptation. Aerobic fitness is slow to go. Sharper stuff goes pretty quick but comes back just as fast. If you do it right, your ceiling will be higher. Not gonna lie. If you take time off, the first few rides suck but you can see gains pretty quick.
Typical type A. You have to realize that pros are genetic freaks. Part of what makes them special is their ability to recover. With their great ability to recover, they can add more training stress and ultimately reach higher performance. You train to get adaptation but the adaptation happens when you are sleeping/eating right and resting. So you tear it up in training but gotta let the body put itself back together. Start envisioning rest and rest weeks as the thing that changes your body which in turn leads to better performance. Yes some blocks like build and specialty can really hurt and fatigue you but its the recovery after that makes you better.
I’ve done multiple base-build-speciality cycles with good gains and want to disagree a little with what others said here. You’re about to enter speciality phase which sees TSS level off.
5.5 months is essentially SSB 1 + 2 and a build plan. That’s by no means crazy.
It’s normal that the legs feel heavy after 2 months build. The progression sees TSS build all the way from your first week of training to where you are at now. That’s great! You should certainly not continue another build plan but that’s not what you’re out for.
After some time of training this is more or less a constant feeling. Especially right before/after a recovery week. It’s been discussed multiple times on the podcast. If training is going well, you’re hitting your targets, you feel motivated, these are all good signs.
That said, it’s not wrong to take a week off. And plan a little season break after speciality.
As in so many cases if you’ve got to the point of asking the question you probably know the answer.
It’s not a motivation/discipline issue if you’ve just done almost 6 months of training. If I were you I’d block out a couple of weeks to do some unstructured fun riding, maybe a couple of smash fests and a few chilled ones. Just see where your wheels take you.
I agree with your points. The only thing that makes me (and probably the others who are disagreeing) pause is the rest of that paragraph, which you left out:
When I personally feel that way, I usually need to remind myself that
When I was younger, I didn’t listen to my body, and I was often injured. It took age and experience to learn that I’d rather risk losing a small amount of fitness to recovery than risk losing weeks or months to injury or overtraining.
If you think the pain/soreness is a result of a poor bike fit then you should try to address that issue before you do any substantial riding - be it structured intervals or not.
Agree with the others about listening to your body. In this case it seems it is telling you your position needs a review, not that you are overtrained or fatigued centrally.
As such - schedule a fit, reduce your riding volume significantly until that takes place. If you have extra physical energy - go enjoy the weather in other ways (hiking, swimming, idk) or focus on building a supplemental core routine. If you don’t have extra energy then continue the break and refocus your need to hit those workouts on nailing your diet and sleep for a few weeks
Don’t take a break. Based on what you wrote in your post.
Great. You are about to drive your body into a little bit of overreach. Perfect. Remember the 2nd week of your specialty phase will actually have a little dip down in training volume so don’t freak out if your legs feel bad during the 1st week of specailty…you’ll have a chance to recover and come back 2nd week. Since your legs are stressed don’t do any extra work 1st week of Specialty block. Save it for weeks 3 & 4.
You should have a recovery week before you next event/test. Re-assess after that…like around the 18th of June. Mid year I like to take a week off the bike…could be you would benefit from something similar but it’s not mid year yet.
If you’re asking then the answer is almost certainly “yes.” Enjoy it and don’t stress over it. If you obsess over your Performance Management Chart then you’re going to miss the opportunity to recover physically and mentally. You will loose relatively little fitness with such a short break and the high end fitness will come back quickest. Enjoy!