Signs of over training/fatigue/poor recovery…

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May 2013
4:51pm, 29 May 2013
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Feeling a bit despondent about my training so far this year – although I have hit my race objectives earlier this year I never felt the same “training high” as I did the back end of last year in the run up to my Autumn Marathon. I put it down to the anxiety of wanting to get my GFA time combined with the shitty weather I was training in.
But since the marathon I still don’t seem to have found that “ZING” neither on my runs or my bike. Im still churning out similar performances but it just seems more of an effort and on my bike Im struggling even to churn out the same performances although to be a fair Im a bit behind on mileage than I was this time last year…..but not massively so.
So Im thinking maybe I have got so efficient at steady running with the marathon training I need to pep it up a bit with some faster work so I stuck some intervals and spinning classes in – which was great for the last couple of weeks but then Sundays bike ride was appalling and the last spinning class I did no matter how much effort I was putting in my legs were toasted before I could get my heart rate over 160bpm

So Im guessing this is a sign of fatigue?? so Im having a few days rest. I normally have one day off per week but some sessions are low key. I don’t feel ill, don’t have a cold so I don’t think Im off colour. Perhaps I have just plateaued? Maybe I just need to not be a wimp and push harder??!! Lol At the end of the day Im not naturally talented – im just an average joe – but I do like to see some improvement 
I also don’t run or cycle with a club due to time/money constraints so I just make my training plan up as I go along and while I think Ive got better at doing this with running Im still a bit vague with the cycling – and even vague-er with the mix between the two! Lol Is there an approx. rule of miles per bike equivalent to running miles?

And finally good recovery techniques…… I don’t really use any! I do try and stretch/foam roller regularly. A massage is a luxury treat due to finances and I guess this is one of the main differences from last year that I managed to get a sports massage once a month. Would that make such a difference? Would some kind of recovery drink / nutrition help muscles recover better?
Sorry for the big ramble, I do realise that training is pretty individual and what works for one doesn’t always work for another but some hints or tips would be great particularly with recovery techniques and training volume cycles as maybe I need to be a bit smarter about that.
Just feeling a bit *meh* today……
May 2013
5:31pm, 29 May 2013
8,773 posts
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sorry you are *meh" today. You do way more than me so I am not really fit to comment other than to say I reckon it took me over six months to get anywhere near back to feeling as if I was running "properly" after my marathon - I was v dead legged and just couldn't get a pace that felt natural - so have a rest but don't be despondent.

On the subject of clubs, I know nothing about cycling clubs, but my local running club is cheap as chips - about 20 quid for the year and they offer 3 meets a week with a variety of sessions on offer at each one - varied by pace/length/track/hills etc. so don't rule it out. I am a crap runner, but I attend the track sessions at my club and they make me do different things to what I would/could do on my own and, if I'm honest, I work harder at them than on my own too.

Good luck, I'm sure someone with more ability/knowledge will be along soon
May 2013
5:51pm, 29 May 2013
636 posts
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Jog-on, It does sound like you might be at least over-reaching (a level of training stress that produces a mild decrement in performance, from which it is possible to bounce back to peak performance after a taper), but there so far there is only slight evidence of over-training (the level beyond which persisting damage to performance occurs).

Looking at your training, it does not appear that you are doing an excessive volume, though it is really important to recover well from a marathon. This can take more than a month if you pushed yourself to the limit. The conversion of bike miles to equivalent running miles for the purpose of estimating training stress depends on individual factors but a ratio of 3-4 bike miles = 1 mile is a rough rule of thumb.
Resting heart rate is a moderately reliable guide to over-reaching. The tricky thing is that mild over-reaching is associated with increased HR at rest (and also at a specific running pace) whereas when you are at the edge of over training, HR actually falls. This is the beginning of 'parasympathetic overtraining'. A fall in HR is associated with greater perceived effort for a given pace is a fairly reliable sign of reaching the border between over-reaching and over-training.
Try cutting back volume at bit. If you are over-reaching rather than over-training, it usually best to cut back volume while continuing a small amount of moderately high intensity work - but don’t push yourself too hard. If you go beyond feeling exhilarated you have probably overcooked it.
May 2013
6:11pm, 29 May 2013
1,004 posts
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Canute - "A fall in HR is associated with greater perceived effort for a given pace is a fairly reliable sign of reaching the border between over-reaching and over-training."

Yep - this is how I felt at my last spinning session..... and I guess to a lesser extent with the running whereas I can maintain the pace but it doesnt feel as easy as I think it should! But then again in prep for my ultra later this year I am doing more off-road running so maybe my muscles have just got to adapt to the different terrain of XC than to road running.

Perhaps I was just ready for a "down week" but as I dont have a proper plan It hadnt registered! gawd knows! All I know is I get cranky with lots of off time but just as frustrated with poor performance (for me! lol)

Mulbs - thanks for your comments about the running clubs - Im going to look into my local TRI club as it will encompass bike and run hopefully! I think the money issue I have is I pay a monthly fee for my local gym which is about my limit of expenditure then to pay for a club of which I might not be able to make many of their sessions Im a bit reluctant. Maybe I need to re-visit my options on gym v club! I do tend to use my commutes for training to get the training in as I work full time and am a single mum so I only get certain nights I can make club sessions and typically they never seem to fit in lol!

Thanks very much for both of your comments, my training is what keeps me sane (haha!) so it does get to me when I find it more frustrating than pleasurable. But I guess I make my own monsters with that issue! :P **rueful smile**

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Feeling a bit despondent about my training so far this year – although I have hit my race objectiv...

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