What does peaking feel like?

Hi, first post on the forum.

I am currently working towards my first ever peak for a race in July. Half way through speciality and completing all workout’s without failure. I have never gotten this far before in a plan and trained this consistently.

The question is, what can I look forward to in a peak? what are the sensations I’ll be experiencing? Floaty legs? high motivation. :thinking: i dont know…

What have been other’s experiencing in a peak?

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I have truly peaked only once in my 20-year racing career and that was perfectly timed for 2019 nationals. A week before the race I did a casual zone 2 ride for 4 hours, included some sprints and 3 minute efforts. I did some all-time top 5 sprint powers that day. After the ride I felt I could do the ride again instantly. Two days later, I did my all-time best 20min effort.

Then in the nationals, I was wondering how these other guys are suffering so much while I feel so easy. Legs felt heavy in the morning though. Eventually, I crashed very bad that day, broke some bones and then had 2 months without cycling. I have thought that maybe I wasn’t as alert as usually, because of the unbeatable feeling.

So… my experience of peaking: I just felt much more powerful than ever before. I could beat all-time records and it felt easy.


I don’t know if it was truly “peaking” for me, but I just did a taper after a long hard block of training.

I kept my intensity but dropped the volume by a lot.

I felt strong, but what really felt good is not carrying that fatigue I had gotten used to carrying. At work I felt great, I would sprint up stairs instead of feeling the burn of them. My heart rate was much more reactive to effort, it would immediately shoot up if I started to work a little bit, but in a good way like “I’m ready, lets GOOOOO!”

I assume it was a peak for me but I am trying to carry it now and enjoy it as long as possible.


Lack of a fatigue you didn’t even know you had.


I would adjust the above to say “previous efforts” vs. “all-time” records…but a pretty good summation.


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@Power13 Yeah. For me it was really all-time records :joy: never been that fast again

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Oh yeah…not discounting what you said at all…but for a lot of riders (especially us aging guys!), smashing all-time records when we “peak” just ain’t happening. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Now I see your point :grin: not relevant to compare the records at 60+ age to personal bests of mid-20s. However, I see a lot of +50 guys still in their prime and racing in the elite nationals. Sorry, a bit off-topic.

It would be interesting to hear if peaking feels different at older age. I would guess it doesn’t.

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To me my legs feel fresh, no soreness, without any mental and physical fatigue. Also feeling able to repeat many efforts while maintaining a good pace after an effort. I’ve had this feeling only a couple times and lasted a week or two. If I have an A race around that time, afterwards Ill then take a full week off. That’s without any extra activities besides work/life stuff, and start base back up.

This might help guide you thereby ensuring your peak and race weeks are optimal.

yeah, I would argue I am as strong now as I was in my 20’s / 30’s…but I also train a helluva lot smarter (and more).

Feels pretty much the same, IMO…being able to do rides / workouts with ease that were once challenging and ready to do more.

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Yeah I never felt this. High school championships, college nationals, shooting for the Olympic trials marathon standard… I never got to the end of the season and felt free of fatigue. In fact most of my best races came during a load phase. Not sure why but every time I let off the gas I felt more sluggish. My best races usually came after a down week and I ramped things up again. My “peak” was only about 48 hours of recovery (i.e. day off on Thursday, shake out on Friday and race on Saturday). But that’s me.

Yeah right! also hopefully it will have positive affect in my day to day life too

Same. I’ve had better results at the end of Build than end of Specialty.

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I know I am peaking when I recover faster and repeatedly from hard efforts that would normally leave me suffering.

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Heart rate down, perceived exertion down, repeatability up for a given constant power. To me, it feels like I can breathe during a vo2 interval like im just pedaling through pettit. Its magical, really.

When it feels so go that you’re convinced that your power meter and heart rate monitor must be malfunctioning. And z2 feels like no chain riding.

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The aerobic ability you build slowly over six months with HLVI will last you for quite a while until you’re in your mid-50s.
The maximum vo2max, rapidly accumulated with HIT within a period of about 6 weeks, declines rapidly from the moment you stop exercising.

The funny thing about peaking. You don’t know you were there until after it happened.

It’s one of those things that it’s there and it doesn’t necessarily feels different. But once you perform the race, then you will realize you peaked.