Training load and recovery

Hey! I hope I’m posting this in the right section.

I’m in need of some input on my training schedule and how I go about things. I’m currently not recovering enough between work, kids, training and other responsibilities and I need some other eyes looking at what I’m doing to see if I can change things up.

Age 36
Height 6.15 187cm
Weight 209 95kg
Bf 15%

My background is swimming, I was top 5 in my country for my age between 12-16 yrs but I quit when I was 17 and didn’t train anything in any capacity again until a couple of years ago.

I started going to the gym 3 years ago and worked out like a body builder. I did a recomp and what used to be alot of fat became alot of muscle.
The past 12 months I’ve been slowly incorporating more cardio into my schedule and my long term goal is to do an ironman. Maybe next summer or the summer after depending on how things go . I’ve done a few long distance open water swims with great success and a couple century rides in local races the past year and it’s gone well.

My schedule is as follows
(All bike riding is done on trainer with TR low volume plan)

Mon. 45m run
Tue. Morning Gym PUSH, evening 60m bike
Wed. Morning Gym LEGS
Thu. Morning Gym PULL, evening 60m bike
Fri. 45m run
Sat. 90m Bike
Sun. 120m swim

Now, between family, work and life i sometimes get involuntary rest days because something comes up. But I feel like I need to push even HARDER and it frustrates me I can’t recover enough already.

My diet is dialed in. Hitting all micros and macros and eating between 3000-3500 calories daily. 250g protein, 90g fat and the rest is carbs. Mostly rice. Alot of fruits and vegetables and supplements.

I’m guessing I’m not alone in having these feelings. What are the rest of you all doing to recover better ? Any advice or input on what I’m doing?

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I might be the rare one here, but, I find it difficult to complete any trainer road plan. Anytime I attempt more than 2-3 weeks worth of a plan (even low volume base) I am left just exhausted. I can comfortably take on 8-10 hours a week of polarized training with one day of VO2 max intervals to keep me fresh and I am fine. My HRV is stable, my sleep is better, my life is in more balance. I work sometimes 10-12 hours at my hospital in a single shift and can understand how hard it is to not only train but balance out life.

As soon as I take on more than two days a week of sweet spot intervals my HRV has huge swings and it takes me a long time to recover. My progression is normal, AI picks my workouts and ensures I don’t progress into something that is a breakthrough workout every time, and my training is not to the extreme. I just think the sweet spot style of training is just too much on the nervous system and body in addition to life stress. Maybe start tracking HRV with a good program like HRV4Training and see how a trainer road training block in addition to everything else you have in life alters your HRV and ability to recover.

Top man, we need more like you around here :grin:

Lifting heavy and hard bike sessions are tricky to balance, you have your swim/bike/run well separated but the obvious contradiction is the three gym sessions in a row mid week - I’m guessing that’s for convenience.

Also, putting leg day in between your two bikes will likely be non-optimal.

For those of us that do follow TRs recommended training, I think you are better off with a Tri plan than a standard bike plan - you haven’t mentioned what plan you’re using, as they do vary significantly.

The tri plans should guide you to have Easy days and Hard days, which is the fundamental tenet of multisport training. A heavy lifting day is a Hard day, even if you are used to them. Light weights, high reps might not be. If you are new to indoor and TR then Moderate workouts will likely feel Hard too.

So I would tinkering with your week without major changes I would do something like…

Mon. EASY 45m jog
Tue. HARD Morning Gym PUSH, evening 60m bike
Thu. HARD Morning Gym PULL, evening 60m bike
Fri. EASY 45m jog
Sat. EASY 90m Bike
Sun. HARD 120m swim

Given a free hand to reconfigure your week entirely I would go for…

Mon. EASY 45m run
Tue. HARD Morning Gym PUSH, evening 60m bike (VO2 Intervals)
Wed. Swim 60m
Thu. HARD Morning Gym PULL, evening 60m bike (Sweet Spot/Threshold)
Fri. EASY 45m run
Sat. HARD 90m Bike (Endurance) Evening Gym LEGS
Sun. swim 60m

As someone with a youth of aerobic fitness you probably can use swim days as equivalent to rest days if you don’t burn your shoulders out every time :wink:

You haven’t mentioned sleep, but you’ll benefit from a good routine, prepping for tomorrows training before you go to bed as your IM training builds up.

Thank you for the quality responses! Much appreciated!

Having read some other threads it seems to many people that the trainerroad plans are simply too hard to follow. I started a costum low intensity plan that will take me through different phases starting August this year ending in may next year when my outdoor season starts.

My HRV definitely takes a dive on the days following sweet spot work and it certainly doesn’t recover fast. I’ve also noticed my sleep quality is down the toilet on those days too.

I’m almost inclined to ditch this plan and do something one of you mentioned and do more polarized training.

The reason why i have gym in the mornings is because of life. That’s the only time I can go because of kids/work.

My sleep could be better. I work shifts alternating morning/evening, but i get about 6 hours on weekdays and 8 hours on weekends.

I’m really amazed and impressed by those who manage ironman as parents :slight_smile:

Join us on the Ironman training thread, doesn’t matter when your race is and we all have challenges.

I would not draw the conclusion that TR plans are hard or that polarised is a good idea, but the forums are not always dominated by regular TR plan users so its easy to be waylaid. My life currently allows for the Low Volume Full Distance plan plus a bit more, last few weeks was double day experiment

Mon am TR Vo2 bike, pm TR sweet spot/threshold bike
Tue am short easy run, pm long.moderate run
Wed am commute 1h15 bike, lunch swim hard 45min, pm 1h15 commute bike
Thu am short easy run
Fri am commute 1h15 (TR Outside) bike, lunch swim hard 45min, pm 1h15 commute bike
Sat am easy run
Sun lift

Thanks I will make sure to read through the thread during next week! :+1:

I’ve decided to scrap the plan I’m currently on, and loaded up a low volume/intensity triathlon plan for half distance. That’s about as much training I can reasonably do for now and with my current fitness. Especially since I’m dumb and insist on keeping my three gym sessions in there.

I’ve also installed hrv4training as suggested and will order a compatible chest strap as the camera thing didn’t quite work out for me.

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Careful with the half distance tri plan. There is more intensity in the low volume than you would think. I haven’t loaded it up in a few months, but it usually has 3 hard rides / week (in my mind tempo rides are “hard”, as they usually will push your heart rate above endurance zones). Keep monitoring your recovery and make sure you don’t over do it. Low volume plans on TR are typically very intense.

You’re very young (in middle-aged athlete terms) so should be able to recover well if you get enough sleep and the TR SSB plans should be no problem for you at all unless you’re cooking your legs in the gym. Gym time isn’t really going to help you much for an Ironman. Big muscles are just more weight to carry around. IM is a game of endurance so beyond using the gym as strength and conditioning i’d tend to move away from it and spend the time on the bike. it really isn’t necessary to do any leg & gym stuff to be a good cyclist, it’s a bit of a myth. I remember a guy i knew who proudly told me that he could now hold 400W for 30 seconds thanks to his gym work: He was spending too much time in the gym and not enough on the bike. i didn’t tell him that i could hold 400W for something like 4 minutes and I have barely set foot in a gym in my life, just done a lot more cycling…

Just follow the TR plans and get very good at riding for very long times at a reasonable effort and it’ll all fall into place on race day. IM isn’t so hard - it’s just a really really long way.

Thanks again for taking the time to write such great and thought out responses all of you!

The reason I go to the gym is, well, I like being a big boy. I like the pump and feeling of being muscular. I will simply have to work on upping my rep range and lowering weights. I know I’m bound to loose lot of muscle in the upcoming year but I’d like to retain what i can :slight_smile:

I am not a triathlete - but am your age and have two kids.

I workout every day - but do a custom LV plan (only 2 days of intensity) and endurance rides other days (I make my friends wait on climbs when I don’t crush it - and I don’t care.

I try to ride 5 days a week (2 intervals, 3 endruance (one of those is Z1 commuting) and lift upper body (mix push/pull) the other two days. I think the only reason I can do this is I do not lift lower body in the summer. You are not giving your legs any days off. Even swimming with the constant kicking is some resistance. I think you can accomplish what you want if you give your legs at least one full day off.

Are you following the recovery weeks with the LV plan? I also de-load my lifts every other recovery week (so every 6 weeks). Try to get more sleep - but your a parent so…good luck with that.

My 2 cents