Turning it down when (life) stress is going up

Hi, I am in what I suspect is a familiar phenomenon of modern life. I have just finished a solid block of SSBI and II. Build commences this week but some big issues (personnel/HR) at work have thrown me way off and are consuming all of my energy. I also know that exercising makes me feel better but don’t want to dig myself into a hole by doing too much.

Is there a consensus on what to do here. Obvious options seem to be push my plan back a week or two and do some leg spinners like Taku and Pettit. Or alternatively keep the intensity but just do some shorter versions of the prescribed workouts.

Any views appreciated

  1. Drop volume if you aren’t already on the Low Vol plan.

  2. If you aren’t tied to a hard timeline, swapping to a something like the “Maintenance” plans (in the Specialty, Enthusiast section) could be a way to get 3 hard, but shorter workouts. There are also 30 minute and 45 minute Time Crunch plans that let you hit it and quit it. So any of those could be a decent option for a plan.

  3. Consider ditching all plans and using the new TrainNow feature at random to pick a workout for the time you have from the 3 different focuses, based on your interest and energy level.


That has to be a personal call. I dealt with quite a personnel/HR headache from Dec 2019 through Mar 2020 that was all consuming from both a work and mental standpoint (thank goodness it resolved the day it did or I might still have to be dealing with it bc my company essentially halted terminations). If you don’t have a goal race, I’d just ride easy when you feel like it and then jumpy back on when the situation resolves. If you do have a goal race, identify the workouts that actually drive the needle and get those done when you get on the bike and then fill in with fluff as you have time - I actually kept moving fitness forward doing that… and then race cancellations happened, but that’s the same old story


This is the forum at its finest, thanks all for your input. I do have an event end of June but I can adjust accordingly and just do a bit of maintenance this week, riding to feel at a low volume.

Not sure I’ll repeat that penultimate week of SSBMVII - Spencer +2, Lamarck and Leconte are enough when done once in a year!


You are not alone in this breakdown/stress situation. In my case a full year of covid impact and juggling jobs, family, kids, homeshooling, no friends closeby, barely any contact to loved ones, family, parents etc must take a toll sometime.


My usual plan of action for things like this is try and do more of the fun riding. I’m still locked down so all inside, but in usual times I do 1 workout on turbo be and lots of smelling the roses type rides.

Just ride for the enjoyment, sprint up a hill if the mood takes me, or practice smoothly flowing corners, or just ride to somewhere pretty to eat some cake. We’re not pros, we have to work so use the bike to escape for a while.

Even if I have a goal event, is it that important that I’m miserable for weeks on end stressed about everything. Everything will be there when I find myself and my motivation. A week or so of unplanned fun normally whets my appetites to train again.


This is my problem every February to April as it is tax season. There is no magic answer. Even my doctor notes I am sick more often in May of every year. I still try to tone down the intensity…it doesnt always work.


I occasionally go through stressful periods at work and know I need to back off. My approach has always been to revert to steady low Z2 workouts. Anything above this seems to add more stress to life stress accumulated outside training. By working at Z2 and just breathing easy and going into/through/out of the workout with a mental view that ‘this is a relaxing session’ I always feel better and actually less stressed out at the end of the workout. The Z2 work will prevent a major loss in fitness (not sure on your goals, but for endurance stuff, some lower intensity work won’t hurt).

Also, if a particular day is super stressful and I’ve not had a rest day in a while, I’ll just take a day off and relax, maybe go for a walk. Dig myself out of my ‘life stress’ hole, get some sleep and reset.


I have been through similar periods, in fact just went through one.

I like to just turn down intensity and maintain as much volume as possible. The brain space for high intensity just isn’t there, and the nice steady rides do a lot for my general mood.



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Likewise, I try to focus on longer SS at times like this to maintain that skill and leave VO2 etc for another time when can go for it. Will sprinkle in over unders for when energy allows.