Tired Legs w/ Low Volume Plan & Extra Outside Rides

I did some searching on the forum to see if this was already covered, and I kinda found some relative posts, but not really. So if this specific situation has been covered before I am sorry to repost a similar question.

In late December I created a year-long plan using Plan Builder with my A races focused in the Fall/Winter for the CX racing season. I had a sprinkle of B and C races in the calendar from April through September but like everyone else that was shut down. Most races were Gravel and Short Track races, and a handful of late Summer & early Fall CX races so my workouts were built around getting ready for such events. My plan is Low Volume (three days a week - Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for a total of 3.5 hours a week) and some times I meet the crew for a Sunday ride on our usual loop, which is about 2.5 hours. As the year progressed I noticed gains in FTP, gains in how I felt on TR workouts as each training block progressed (even increasing intensity in workouts on final week of a training block), and finally positive feedback on group rides.

Over the last month or so with the weather getting nicer I started to add more outside workouts, and more outside non-TR rides to my training weeks. Even a few rides where I replaced a TR workout with an online race or long outside team ride.

Then about two weeks ago after a recovery week I noticed that my legs were not responding to workouts. My ramp test after the recovery week was much lower than current FTP, I couldn’t finish my VO2max workout, and that week’s threshold work felt like extra-long VO2max efforts. A few outside rides also felt really, really difficult.

The last 2-3 months of workouts have been lot’s of Bluebell, Spencer +2, Darwin, Jepson, Ericsson, Taylor -2, for example. Basically all VO2max and Threshold work.

Have I overdone it adding the outside rides to the kind of TR workouts I’ve been doing? Is it possible to do too much on four to five days a week?

I’m currently taking a week completely off the bike in the hopes that I can come back from these tired legs feeling fresh. Lot’s of Powerdot recovery sessions and massage stick/roller time.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

This is entirely possible but would be hard to diagnose without seeing your full training calendar and history. Depending on how hard these extra rides are you could just be doing too much intensity. I see most people saying that you should be shooting for 2-3 days of intensity (depending on your total training volume. And some people being able to handle 4). So if you are doing 3 intense TR workouts and an intense outdoor ride or two to the week then you could just be digging yourself into a hole and not having the aerobic fitness and recovery time to back it up.


Yeah, I’d take a look at how hard you’re pushing yourself when you’re riding outside- you’re already doing 3 quality workouts a week on low volume, so ideally you want to keep the intensity of your additional rides fairly low. If you’re doing hard group rides or something similar, you might be better served by dropping one of the workouts from the TR Plan, or going for minus versions. I’d also be careful that you’re not adding too much extra volume to recovery weeks.

The other culprit could be that you’ve been doing v02 and threshold work for a fairly long time now, which will likely burn you out eventually, especially if you’re doing other hard rides on top of that. You might benefit from using the nice weather and additional to work on some aerobic/base conditioning- this could also work really well if you don’t have races planned in the near future.

In any case it sounds like you’ve been working hard for a while now, so I think taking a few days off the bike is a good idea :slight_smile:

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@mwglow15 - yeah, the additional rides are typical group rides: chill for the most part but definitely some intense pace lines and attacking/sprints for signs, and of course digging deep on the hills. I’d say you’re right that I don’t have the aerobic fitness to back up the extra efforts. My recovery weeks are usually very strict, I stick to the program, but I went back and looked at my last recovery week before I started feeling this way and I definitely went off plan. Several days of hard efforts when I should have been chillin’ in z2.

@toribath97 - definitely digging too hard on these group rides and extra days. I think it’s a good call to replace one of these TR workouts with the group ride instead of trying to have it all. When I look at TSS and IF from my group ride the numbers are either in line or higher so makes sense to replace a TR workout with the group ride. As for the all the VO2max and threshold work… when I deleted all the B and C races from my calendar I thought my workouts would change once TR recalculated but everything stayed the same. Maybe because I’m a few months out from my first race (if it still happens)? I don’t know. I’m going to look now at recalculating my plan to see if it takes me back to some base training as I think you’re right. If it doesn’t I might benefit from scrapping my current plan and start fresh.

I went for a ride yesterday and today and felt way better after a week completely off the bike, so I think that was the right call. Rest tomorrow and then I’ll do a recovery week just to be safe. Now I need to be careful about not digging myself into that hole, again.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!! I really appreciate your time!

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A lot of riders feel much better after a mid season break. This is true because the season is pretty long, and training impacts you physically, and mentally (both are equally important!). You will not loose a lot of fitness, but you will be much more motivated to train than you were before.

From my personal experience, I had to take a mid season break (1 week completely off exercise) due to injury last year, and I was really motivated and fresh to start training. I was able to successfully stick to a plan (which seemed nearly impossible before my injury). I also raised my FTP from 276 to 300, which made me enjoy long endurance rides by reducing the uncomfortable cardiac drift!

Major red flag that you need to take a mid season break! Good decision!