Unexpectedly horrible training days support group

I was thinking a support group for those who had a very bad day in the saddle could be a good thing. It’s always a relief to ventilate your disappointment and worries about a total disaster day in training. And I was also thinking we could try to help each other to understand why things went wrong, to ease the anxiety and stop it from happening again.

I’ve had two really, really awful days in the past week. First was Friday 24th. I was going on a long ride between A and B with a huge amount of hard climbs. I felt immediately that this is not going to be a good day and thought it was because I had not been training much the past days, I tend to get a little sluggish after 4+ days without proper training. Anyway, I just felt worse and worse when I was hoping my legs would wake up. I soon had issues with reaching zone 2 power and everytime I stood up my arms just screamed no! It was just horrible from minute 1.
The day after it felt better but pretty bad and on the Sunday I felt almost normal. I can’t really pin point what happens when I shut down totally like that.

Fast forward to yesterday. Another horrific day out there. I had an okey training week with threshold intervals and felt fine even if I had a day off due to stomach issues. The stomach issues was lingering a bit but didn’t really disturb me so I went out on a planned 4 hour ride including a KOM attempt on a 15-18 minute climb. I quickly realised that it’s not gonna be any efforts today but I still managed fine to keep my regular 200 Watts up the first climb. When it started to flat out and then going downhill I felt worse and worse and I feel that the “auto pilot” is off. I hit the second climb on low altitude and can’t keep 180 Watts. I will turn back and this will be a 3,5 hour ride instead. I can barely get any Watts in the pedals so I call my girlfriend who picks me up. The rest of the day I feel very very weak but not sick. I have no appetite but eat and drink anyways. I felt tired when I woke up today so decided to skip today’s training.
I guess it’s the bad stomach but I still get nervous and anxious. I have a stage race (Sunday today) Friday - Sunday so I’m not really where I’d like to be physically.

Do you have any ideas what could have went wrong? Have you had similar days? What should I do or what should I do in the future?

Do you have a traumatising training experience when the body shut off without any explanation? This is a safe environment to tell your story.


I was just thinking about my last ride and how I struggled with it!! Going through the spiral of all the things that caused it.

Too much protein before the ride, bad rest, overdoing it on the workout before.


My ride yesterday was pretty much like that. I had a bad night sleep and my summer job is draining more and more power from my brain, power that obviously is not going into pedals.
Either way, I tend not to stress too much about it. I only ride from October till April and while December sees me at my top condition, I’m now on my downward spiral because I know I will be soon storing my bike. As you can see we’re all different with different life and riding paths, so unless we are paid to ride I’d say screw it, my next ride will be better.

Ps. the miserable riding day turned out to be great because once back home my 7 years old boy wanted to go run at the park and I was warmed up already. So, 49 years old mamil jumping around and running with is best pal ? Priceless.

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I know it was most likely all of those things combined for me. I try to laugh it off and know that I can be better than my performance on a single day, but yeah it’s frustrating at times!!

Definitely had days when it’s not there. When it turns into consecutive days I usually just ditch the workouts for a day off followed by a few days of recovery. Could be stress, sleep, body is fighting off a virus… or maybe the body just needs some time off (when was your last vacation?)

Don’t know your training but another option is to do a week or so of workouts that are achievable. We don’t always need to be “moving up” and pushing to increase PLs.


I had one of these days yesterday. My first mistake was going ahead with my scheduled 4 hour Z2 ride even though I spent a few hours digging out bushes with a shovel on Saturday followed by a 4x12 steady state interval workout. I felt wrecked when I woke up. Second mistake was choosing a new route from Ride with GPS that I didn’t know much about.

I got 2 hours into the ride before my body was screaming at me and I couldn’t even hold Z2. I decided to push on because I’m an idiot and I thought it’d be easier just to keep going. Ended up having to walk my bike up a steep gravel road that had been closed by the Park Service, not because of winter like I assumed, but because of massive washouts with big downed trees you had to carry your bike through. Ended up falling and losing my expensive sunglasses, and nearly lost my bike computer.

After that, it was all a downhill breeze. Moral of the story is that HTFU should come with an asterisk and that I was an idiot for not listening to my body.


Hard to say without looking at your training, metrics, HR, HRV, journal entries.

IF sleep, recovery, nutrition, stress are ok, AND you still feel bad, go to the doc, something is not ok.

Don’t push when you feel bad. Cover the basics first.

The HTFU tactic only works when the body is alright and the motivation might be slacking. Hopefully you were just tired from garden work and intervals and will be back at normal after a well deserved rest day :slight_smile:

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That’s the thing. All those datas pointed towards a good or normal day. I had two good interval days followed by a nice recovery day and the lousy day came from nowhere.
I didn’t push through, I stopped and called for a pick up and took an extra rest day.

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YES! I need to vent this without sounding like I am looking for pity. End of Nov I tested at 272 FTP, then moved to 4000 ft elevation. Two weeks of struggling, and I got the flu. Recovered from that, and my trainer failed. Had to send it back for a replacement, and with a crazy snow year here, couldn’t get on the road. Got the new (refurbished) trainer and didn’t realize at first, but something is wrong with the calibration. 70% efforts (of my new FTP of 254 :hot_face:) skyrocketed my heart rate up to threshold. 120% FTP intervals would crush me. I failed multiple workouts because of this. Some days now the trainer works right, other days it seems 10-15% high. I’m smashing for part of a workout, but then so smashed that I can’t finish and don’t even have the heart to finish up with some Z2. I feel like my season has been sabotaged and it is only mid March.


One thing I’ve been noticing lately (and thanks, @WindWarrior for helping me think in these terms) is that it seems like there are kind of two different recovery streams (at least for cough Masters athletes): there’s the physical recovery (i.e. legs) but there’s also the autonomic/stress/not-sure-what-else-to-call-it recovery that affects the overall body and for me typically shows up in how it impacts my sleep. I think it was the combination of intense rides with a stressful job and busy family life that kept my system from downregulating. Just because my legs felt recovered, it didn’t mean the rest of my body was recovered.

A couple months ago I found myself starting to burn out doing 16 Weeks of Sweet Spot from Fascat (using their Optimize app). I was keeping pace, doing all the recovery, and sometimes taking additional days off, but even though my legs generally felt well recovered I still felt pretty sluggish and wasn’t sleeping well.

For the past six weeks or so I’ve been focusing on keeping it at one or two intensity days a week, then trying to pushing out the volume with Endurance rides (mostly by RPE but typically watching Power and HR while keeping a closer eye on HR). It’s been helping a lot. I’m sleeping better and am generally feeling better, partially because there’s less physical stress from fewer intensity days. But I also find a lot of Endurance riding to be somewhat stress-reducing, even when it’s not a low intensity recovery ride. This seems to be allowing me to push my volume up significantly higher than it’s been in years, so it’s feeling like a bit of a win-win-win: better recovery, more volume, and I’m just enjoying being on the bike more, even on the trainer.