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 Post subject: Re: Post season rest
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:47 am 
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grid256 wrote:
So my question is simple: What specifically is my body doing during this period?

And, is that too much rest? Too little? And better yet, why is so little written about rest? It feels and sounds like a good idea but why so much information about training and so little about resting if it's so important?


1. Your endocrine system rests & recovers. If the system is not overloaded, 2 weeks time is sufficient for it. In case of an overload (very little likelihood for an amateur rider) it might take even couple months.
2. Mental rest. If you turn your riding into a training routine, mental rest and “unstructured” riding is so much relaxing!
3. Let all metabolic process in your muscles complete and fully recover. Glycogen recovery takes only 2-3 days, while damaged myofibrils rebuild in approx. 3 weeks time.

Best rest routine is a recreational non-structured easy riding not longer than 60-90 min at a time. Longer time already charges your endocrine system. With such effort you can ride as many times per week as your body is “calling you for”. It could be 2, or it could be even every day. Just listen to your body, no need for conscience structure.

VERY short & strong efforts, like 5-10 sec at a time, are also OK and even recommended, however not more than 10 repeats of such type per a ride, and not more than 2-3 times per week. It will help you maintaining your so-called “hi end fitness”, or in other works aerobic muscles. More than 5-10 sec efforts or more than 10 surges per ride already [EDIT] load the endocrine system, therefore unrecommended during rest weeks.

After 2-3 weeks like this you’ll be very well rested physically, psychologically and in terms of hormones and you still will be in almost identical shape as before the “rest session”. If you don’t do short efforts over the rest weeks at all then you’ll lose some “high end fitness”, but is that a problem before going into winter months w\o racing? Probably not.

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Last edited by Sandal on Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Post season rest
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:37 pm 
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^Great advice.

I'm a good case in point. Last season I took 7 days off in August, but we had a weird team training camp in September in the mountains that I couldn't be out of shape for and I still continued to do 2-4 hour rides all the time. I only let me CTL get down to 74 before starting my base in October.

I was flying in February and through March, but by April I was having serious recovery problems. I got bloodwork done, went to several doctors, reexamined my diet, my training, etc. and my coach and I were baffled. My previous year was barely 600 hours so how could I be overtrained. I kept pushing it and after a big training weekend in May I was sick with the flu for over a week.

After the flu I saw my CTL drop on my PMC and figured that I could use the drop to re-train for some late Summer races. I got a solid month of training in, started racing and soon had incredible fatigue issues again. Top end wasn't there above threshold and I couldn't figure out why/what it is. Mentally I was also more than done and had 0 interest in riding or racing. So I decided to just ride for fun and registered for a Grand Fondo. I didn't do any targeted training rides, just rode around by feel for 1-2 hrs a time on weekdays and 3-4 hours on weekends. I did a 5 hr ride and though since I wasn't structured I'd be ok. I also started doing yoga 2-4 times a week and ran twice a week.

Fast forward and I'm sick again. I will only hit something like 720 hrs a year but if you look at the overall picture this is what you get:

-My last targeted period of time off the bike longer than 1 week was in November of 2010. Every other period longer than 3 days was from illness. Illness is NOT recovery. By targeted off time I mean no long rides and a significant drop in volume.

-Even during my off time last year I had plenty of rides that were 180+ TSS. Same this year. My grand fondo last weekend was 7 hrs and 410TSS.

-I started cross training, but didn't realize that I was still hitting 10-14 hrs a week. So I was basically adding on other exercise to casual riding when I was supposed to be recovering. Basically I was over training. I couldn't bare the thought of gaining weight, becoming so unfit that it took months to get fitness back so I just filled my day with other types of physical activity. This is not recovering in the slightest.

-In 2010 I was in graduate school in a very cold area and did all of my winter riding on a trainer. 8-10hrs a week. I had a few 1 week breaks from moving to different continents, and a hefty summer of riding. This was my first real year of training. I barely broke 550 hrs of training despite a summer filled with 13-26 hour weeks. When I resumed riding my FTP was lower, but I was so amped to train it didn't matter.

Fast forward to later in the year. I had raced my first full season with completely mixed results. I had kept a steady diet of 9-16 hours the entire season, with an average week of 10.5 hrs including illness, off-days, etc. I increased my yearly riding volume by 100 hrs, or roughly 18%. I then took no real break and didn't let myself fully recover and took on my second season of riding, where my weekly average was 13 hours a week, I raced even more and my weekly winter volume averaged 16 hrs a week with several weeks of 18+ hrs. CTL was over 100 by early January and I stayed above 110 until March even letting my CTL drop a bit. I did several big training camps in cold weather as well.

-I also had to search for employment after school. At first I was working 2 jobs and coaching and looking for another job. This is stressful.

-I then started a new job, another stressful experience.

So basically for the past 19 months I have not taken a real break from riding, undergone several extremely stressful life transitions and upped by yearly riding volume from 550 to 720 hrs and ratcheted up my racing. I also had 0 endurance sports background before riding, so this is huge for me. My point is that you need to take everything as a whole not just for a few weeks or months, but years at a time. Your endocrine system is stressed by much more than just riding. If you're feeling some kind of mental/physical fatigue and it doesn't go away with short breaks then take longer ones. I'm at the point where a good 2-4 weeks off is probably what I need, but I don't want to take it. Don't get to that position.

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 Post subject: Re: Post season rest
Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:37 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Post season rest
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:35 pm 
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KW- What were you doing in regards to diet before or during the points where you were overtrained?
Were you under-eating? I ask this because I think a lot of the overtraining is a function of not eating enough carbs for recovery. Trying to get bodyfat down, etc.
If bodyfat gets too low, endocrine system is challenged and hormone production can drop.
On paper the low bodyfat thing sounds good... good power to weight, etc. But power can drop off.


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 Post subject: Re: Post season rest
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:50 pm 
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Location: Bay Area
boots2000 wrote:
KW- What were you doing in regards to diet before or during the points where you were overtrained?
Were you under-eating? I ask this because I think a lot of the overtraining is a function of not eating enough carbs for recovery. Trying to get bodyfat down, etc.
If bodyfat gets too low, endocrine system is challenged and hormone production can drop.
On paper the low bodyfat thing sounds good... good power to weight, etc. But power can drop off.


My bodyfat never got super low. I did diet at times and didn't at others. My background is in weight training so I'm pretty good about tracking intake and expenditure and at times it dipped low, but during the last big block I did I made a diligent effort to not come in super low. My weight was fairly stable as was BW so I do not believe that is it. Also, its usually T4 that is suppressed from extensive dieting not T3. It turns out that my T3 has always been low (found this out about an hour after posting), but the rest of my tests were oddly low.

Regardless of what TSS and those other new wave metrics say, a person can not just up their volume 20% in one year, and then 30% the next year without proper rest and expect no residual fatigue. I had a pro coach for most of the past year and rest was programmed into my training blocks fairly well, but both of us lost track of the bigger picture by overconcentrating on TSB and ATL. In addition, my CTL was, as I said, over 100 by January. I hadn't been under 80 TSS since mid-October of 2011. A lot of amateurs barely reach 100 before peaking and I spent 7 months so far this calendar year above 90. Never resting and let myself bottom out a bit made it so that I hit my ceiling fairly fast despite conservative ramp rates.

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 Post subject: Re: Post season rest
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:41 pm 
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From a psychological point of view I would take 3 weeks or more away from the bike. That's how long common sense says is needed to really get closure. Or maybe it's just lies from travel agents who want to sell long holidays ...

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 Post subject: Re: Post season rest
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:55 pm 
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Just my annecdotal experience: my off season rest consists of riding whenever I feel like it. I ride mostly MTB so I might just head out and focus on bike handling, trail reading and exploring new venues. I will be riding like that for 1 and a half month before I resume structured training.

Basically just having fun, nothing power/performance oriented, just riding. For me, riding is important though as I work very hard in the winter to keep/boost my FTP so I dont want to let it drop too much during the off season.

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 Post subject: Re: Post season rest
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:18 pm 
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My FTP only drops about 10% when I take about that much time off and it comes back up to normal within 1 block. To peak is a different story- every time I take a break I end up peaking higher.

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 Post subject: Re: Post season rest
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:25 am 
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It's all horses for courses. Rest and recovery is a must in just about any training/exercise regime.
I have gone from 12-13hrs per week to 7-8 due to work commitments and I still need to periodize.
After a huge final 4 months of 2011 riding 12-15 hours a week and climbing 6000m a week on average followed by a gruelling 40C Alpine Classic in late January this year and I was totally trashed for over a month. I tried to compensate by only riding 10 Hours a week for the first 4-6 weeks after the event but still couldn't get back to where I had been leading up to it. Both physically and mentally I was struggling to find the desire to ride. Due to family/work/life commitments my riding has tapered right off but never a week without riding. I have only really become motivated again in the last couple of weeks. Looking back I wish I had just taken a week or 2 off the bike instead of fooling myself that I could get the same result from riding less. I have some good friends who are semi pro and they take a break every year. Some for a couple of weeks - some for more. I have been assuming because they ride at least 25% more than me (When I was at my peak) that they needed the break and I didn't.
Maybe at 47 my body needs a different approach to training than others who are younger but I am starting to believe that a complete break from the bike may be not only good for the body but the mind as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Post season rest
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:45 am 
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http://www.jssm.org/vol8/n4/19/v8n4-19pdf.pdf

This study tends to take a look at it and concludes some activity is better than nothing, but the difference is fairly small between the two (around 3% of vo2 max).

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 Post subject: Re: Post season rest
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:50 pm 
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i always did some cycling and lots of skating


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 Post subject: Re: Post season rest
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 4:06 am 
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1-2 weeks completely off in October followed up by 2-4 weeks of non-structured training will not ruin your 2013 road season even if your season starts in February. If you feel tired, or even if you think you don't feel tired, there's much more to lose by not taking the break.

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