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Recover or Train Harder?

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Recover or Train Harder?

Postby charleskline » Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:40 am

So I am relatively new to training. The past few years I have raced cat 2 mountain bike races doing good, but not great. This year, I decided it was time to step it up and have been training with more purpose and racing cat 1. I'm doing well overall, getting a few podiums and finishing top 5 in most of my races. It's been a long season and I took a few weeks break about a month ago when we had 5 weeks without any races. I eased up on my training, which had been 4 days a week (doing the Carmichael TCTP stuff) which I felt had been really helpful in my racing.

Well, for the past couple races I've had either good days or bad days. My training has been different since I felt that I needed more time on the mountain bike and less on the road bike, so I haven't been doing the Carmichael stuff; just getting out a few times a week to either do a hard MTB ride or a road ride where I throw in some intervals. I'm racing almost every weekend right now too.

My experience at yesterdays was not good. I felt fine at the start and had a good position for about the first 10 minutes. My heart rate was up, as expected with a fast start and lots of climbing, but then it didn't come down as it usually does. Just kind of stayed up at around 95% and my power was crap. I started to feel weak and had to back way off. It was a rocky race and I just didn't feel any power to push through the terrain. I just did my best to keep going, fueling as usual with Heed and a few gels. I've also started using Energy Surge so I took a few more of those between lap 2 and 3 as well as a couple more Race Caps and a couple more Anti-Fatigue caps. I do think this helped keep me going, but I was still sucking. On the third lap I started feeling better and was able to recover some lost time and even had a little juice to sprint a finish to get one more place back.

I'm not sure if what I need is to train more - getting back to doing a more regimented interval regime or just rest. Maybe I'm just tired? Since I'm new to this, I'm still learning both how to train and also what my body needs.

Any insight or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Charles
Charles Kline
http://www.ibike365.com
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Re: Recover or Train Harder?

Postby samuelnaney » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:25 pm

Hi Charles:

I have very little to no knowledge of cycling training in particular, but having had my own experience with overtraining, I have come to believe that when things are going poorly (and earlier they were going well) in a racing season, some rest is in order. While more training may help the issue, the possibility that it could send you farther into the hole is, I would imagine, more than you want to risk. On the other hand, a few days full rest to take stock and see if your body bounces back will not greatly hinder your overall fitness. As I understand, it takes a minimum of 5-7 days of full rest before you start eliminating the precious mitochondria whose numbers were built up during the base training.

One method my coach has our team use and one which is used by many other athletes, is a simple morning HR test. While merely taking your morning HR upon waking can be a useful metric, there are variables such as a rude alarm awakening which can affect it. We use the Polar OwnOptimizer test on our HR monitors, but here's a simple one that just takes a regular monitor:

Upon waking and probably after going to the bathroom (it doesn't matter if you do or don't, just make it consistent), lie back down on your bed and take your lowest HR over the course of a minute. Then stand up and take your HR after 1 minute has passed. You will have to build up a fair data set of these numbers for them to be useful in patterning but I found that when I was rested and feeling good, my prone HR was low and the HR after 1 min of standing was within 10 beats of the prone. However when I was tired I would have higher prone HRs and my standing numbers would be significantly higher. These variations have to do with sympathetic versus parasympathetic nervous system functions. I'm not too savvy on the science behind that so I'll leave it to Steve and Dr. Bill to explain. But the useful part of this data is it can preempt poor results or failed workouts by informing you of oncoming illness or carried-over fatigue, thus it can become a beneficial part of your "training toolbox".

My two cents.

Sam.
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Re: Recover or Train Harder?

Postby charleskline » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:50 pm

Sam,

Thanks for the feedback. I took almost the whole week off and raced again this past Sunday. I did well, but I had to work very hard for it. Now 2 days later, I'm feeling run down. Guess it's time for a real rest. So hard to do when I enjoy training so much :)

Guess this is my body telling me to slow down a little.
Charles Kline
http://www.ibike365.com
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