While recently writing a detailed guide for my clients on Training Plans I had a thought that actually it might not be a bad idea to share this with everyone. For some it might be sucking eggs, for some it might be an awakening, and others will probably read this and think what a lot of effort for minimal gain. But if one person’s season is saved then it was all with it 😉
Firstly anyone using a power meter to track their performance, or anyone who regularly visits a Coach to have their fitness tested might not need this as much as those who don’t. But this article is about the indicators of fatigue or over training.
All my 1:1 Coaching clients are requested to track key performance indictors like their HRV, weight, sleep, general wellbeing, and a few others. I recommend a great app called HRV4Training which makes all this very easy, and even syncs up with your TrainingPeaks account.
For example, after a pretty intense or prolonged day’s training you might wake up feeling a bit rough, have dropped weight, not slept as much (or too much) and have an elevated resting heart rate. This is common due to the stresses intense exercise places on the body. If you’ve done a hard session you may have scheduled in an easier or rest day anyway. The key to look out for is gradual increases over time that do not drop after one or two rest days. This can be a common sign of fatigue. HRV4Training, does all this hard work for you!
The issue if you ignore it, it might only get worse. Your performance will drop off. You might suffer and potentially need a prolonged period of time off the bike. Not what anyone wants! From what I see from coaching riders and conducting regular fitness testing on my athletes is that actually people are more inclined to over train than under and as I say above if you’re not monitoring it you may not notice it. It won’t happen all of a sudden but over time, so noticing it can be hard.
But that might be a little scaremongering and it certainly is an extreme that I thankfully don’t see too often. The little changes are easily monitored and by just keeping a track of them you can tell when it is time to take an extra day off or even a week. A Qualified Coach will do this for you, and should structure rest or easy weeks into your Training Plans.
Of course there are some exceptions that make this impractical for some. A perfect example will be anyone with a medical condition or who has to take regular medicine that might elevate a resting heart rate. Sleep patterns can fluctuate depending on the time of year and feel good factor is another problem that can be confused with exercise dread or anxiety! If in doubt consult your coach…