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39x21
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy,

I've recently stepped up my cycling; I was previously logging roughly 45 miles a week whereas I started this week with a 60 mile ride on Saturday and covered another 50 or so miles across the week. I want to take my cycling more seriously and intend to keep covering more ground each week. I've also made a conscious effort to use the big ring more and bring up my speed on the flats, so most of these miles were done at ~20mph (when not on the hills) and a steady cadence of 95. Today doing a regular 8 mile commute I noticed my performance was really lacking and well below par (despite a days rest), I was forced to use a much lower gear combo than usual and found the bigger hills more demanding than usual.

How should I address this apparent burn out? Should I push on through and persist with my revamped riding schedule or spend a few days out of the saddle to recoup?

Any advice is much appreciated!

Cheers,
Matt
 

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Are you making sure you are eating correctly? Do you have a lean diet? veggies, fruits, carbs and very lean protiens? If you are eating correctly 110 miles per week should be no problem. If you feel you need a few days off the bike go for it.
 

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39x21
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
While I can't entirely discount diet, I'm pretty certain that isn't the issue; I'm pretty lean and eat a reasonably healthy, balanced diet. Maybe it's just a result of upping the tempo and my body playing catchup?

Anyway, I'll consider a few days off but I'm still unsure if that's the best approach..
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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There could be a number of reasons why your last ride seemed tougher than others, but I suspect it was a combination of ramping up your miles and intensity.

No matter the reason, unless you feel physical discomfort/ pain, I don't think it's necessary to take several days off. Rather, taper back your schedule (and intensity) to what it was previously and ramp up slowly from there. Add some miles each week, push in some segments of the rides and cruise in others, taking rest days (if need be) in between. In other words, moderate.

Taking cycling more seriously is a worthy goal, but IME it needs to be a slow and steady progression of efforts, and along the way we need to pay heed to what our bodies are telling us and act accordingly.
 

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Sounds like you're over-trained and need more rest. You're body hasn't fully recovered from its previous effort. A common mistake is thinking that you're undertrained and by adding more miles/intensity in a fatigued state is actually detrimental.

If read some current literature on cycling fitness, it will help you understand how to train. You need varied days of intensity and duration and REST. Rest is just as important as miles on the road. Pick a book by Chris Charmichael or Joel Friel.
 

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You had a bad day, who doesn't. I wouldn't get worked up about it. You training schedule isn't anything to worry about.
I agree to take it slowly and not push to the point where injury is a risk but no one has ever accomplished anything athletically by backing off everytime they didn't feel great.
 

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Unless you're in a big hurry, it seems like a popular rule of thumb to increase mileage by ~ 10% per week.

I agree w/ the sentiment that continuing to push it when you are genuinely fatigued is in most cases counter productive. Most of the training plans I have seen will have you only really pushing your limits 2-3 days a week w/ the rest of the rides focused on recovery or sustained tempo riding. Hammering every day not only prevents recovery, but can lead to injuries.
 

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agree with the above poster

sounds like you're going both faster and farther than what you're used to

training harder is important if you want to get better, but sounds like you're ramping it up before your body's ready for it
 

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I think you're over-thinking this. Sounds like you're a little tired, a little over-trained. Take a day off, do a few easy days. You'll recover. The term "burnout" usually means a more profound crash in both physical well-being and psychological attitude, with people describing feeling so crappy they don't feel motivated even to try, dread starting a ride, don't enjoy it, etc. That doesn't sound like the place you're in. It's usually experienced by guys who are logging hundreds of miles a week. One long ride on the weekend and several 10-15 mile days during the week isn't going to put you there.

Here's my advice: don't take it so seriously; don't pay so much attention to the numbers; ride as much as you feel like, and as hard as you feel like, and you'll get better and stronger. It's supposed to be fun. If you turn it into a job you really will burn out.
 

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Cycle Boy
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Rest first for two days. Completely off the bike and "feed" yourself accordingly for the 3rd day's ride. Then see what gives. I did a climb last week and was perfectly fine. Killed the climb actually. Then I did the same climb a couple of days ago and didn't even make it to the top. I realized it was either over-training or nutrition. In any case, I'm ramping it up again slowly to see what kind of good efforts I can do this weekend.

Just listen to your body and be very conscious of your recovery periods.
 

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vexatious enigma
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You can't just ramp things up so suddenly. You can go slow you know :) You should ride at a fair cadence instead of just mashing the gears at 95. That will result in you having a lot of pain and possibly injury. It is okay to really hammer it one or two days out of the week (with a comfortable cadence going) and then take it easy for the rest of the weeks. I have days where I will rarely leave the small chainring just so that I can commute, rest and get the legs moving after a hard day/ race day.
 

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Sometimes it's just a bad day. That can be caused by a myriad of things ranging from being dehydrated, not enough sleep, having a big fight with your significant other, work stress, etcetera... Get a good night's sleep, don't stress, and you bounce back.

Other times it's a downward spiral from taking on too much too soon. Your body has amazing recuperative abilities, but we can often do too much that we don't recover enough and keep digging a deeper hole. This will usually show up as a trend as a number of days or weeks of poor performances, many times after what we consider a really good block of training. It's just that we reached the point that we have overcooked ourselves when this happens.

Also remember that improvement is not a simple matter of constantly moving upwards. Oftentimes as an athlete we hit plateaus and setbacks for various reasons and just have to roll with the punches.

I would also recommend following a hard/easy training approach. Almost all endurance athletes follow this type of regimen where you only have hard training efforts 2 or 3 times a week, and the rest of the week is filled in by easy training. If you research the science and philosophy behind endurance training, you'll understand the rationale behind this method. Remember it's not during the hard training that your body gets fitter -- you are actually tearing it down and getting weaker -- it's during the recovery afterwards when your body builds you back up stronger and faster than before!
 

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39x21
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the replies guys, that really shed a lot of light on the issue. I think I'll set aside the weekend to recoup and then ease back into things on Monday, but with a more thought out training regimen.

JCavilia thanks for the pointer on terminology, I'm certainly not going through 'burnout' as you describe it - just another beginner's error!

Cheers,
Matt
 
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