Burning in quads - fatigue or overtraining?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by DanFox, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. DanFox

    DanFox New Member

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    Need some advice on this one - The last few training sessions I have done, either on the turbo or on the road, I cant seem to get my heart rate up anywhere near what I used to be able to before Christmas. I had a two weeks off on holiday over the new year, and when I started back up again the first week or so was ok but my performance has been declining ever since. I also always feel a bit / a lot of a burn in my quads when getting to the top of the stairs....

    The problem is not that I am out of breath and cant carry on when im riding, I just seem to get a huge build up of lactic acid as soon as I begin to push myself and sprint. My max HR is 205 and If I was to do sprint repeats I could easily get into the high 190's, but now I cant get my HR up past 187 ish and it feels like im killing myself to try and do that. My legs just wont go.

    Iv taken 2 full days off and, had a day very easy spinning but when I rode out today as soon as I tried to blast up a hill or two my legs would scream before my HR would even pass 180?! Its very frustrating as I don't feel generally tired, my lungs are certainly not bursting but I just have really bad fatigue in my quads. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/hissyfit.gif

    Last week I got on the turbo, did a warm-up for about 15-20 minutes and I thought as a test I would try and do some Tabata intervals to see if I could max out my HR. I did the first two sets (20 secs max, 10 secs rest) and on the third my legs were like lead and I literally couldn't continue. HR was only 187.

    I guess what I'm asking is what should I do about this? and is it normal to feel a burn in your quads this easily / frequently? Iv taken my resting HR for the last week and its lower than usual if anything, varying between 49-52 (or maybe 55 after a hard session the day before). I was hoping this, and the fact that I don't feel generally run down or tired would rule out overtraining. Not sure where to go from here though, I have a race next Saturday and then again the following Saturday but I feel like at the moment after one or two sprints I wouldn't be able to continue.

    I don't really want to rest up completely off the bike, would a few days very easy recovery (30 mins) on the turbo solve this? Or are there any supplements / vitamins minerals etc that maybe im not getting that could be a reason for this?
     
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  2. gudujarlson

    gudujarlson New Member

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    I have no experience with overtraining syndrome, so I can't say much. Even if I did, I don't think you have provided enough information to make a diagnosis. Anyway, I don't think you should make max heart rate a goal. Does your trainer provide a speed or power measurement? If so, I would use that instead of heart rate to judge performance.
     
  3. DanFox

    DanFox New Member

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    Unfortunately I don't have power to go by only heart rate and perceived effort. Im not aiming to max out my HR, but the fact that I cant get within 20bpm of my max to me indicates something is wrong?
     
  4. edd

    edd New Member

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    Not necessarily - Your max heart rate is not a constant, it changes with changes in your fitness and with age. It is very easy to get to max heart rate when you first start to train, even when you are not producing very much power at all. You really need to know what your power output is. if you ride/train the same roads, check your speed on a hill climb, if your power is down your speed will be down, if you are fatigued your legs will let you down, they will let you know.

    If your legs are burning, sounds like they have not fully recovered from previous sessions. If you are over trained, two days off is not enough to fix it. I'd be re-examining my training schedule. To many short hard sprints will do muscle damage, you need time to recover from these. I don't know your training history so I can't say what is too much.
     
  5. scottz123

    scottz123 New Member

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    I would say fatigue. I have garmin results (in a MTB CC race situation) where my HR is low 190's first hour (My one hour pace) - than slowly dropping to low 180's the next 40 min - I think my legs were to fatigued to get HR up.

    When I used to run track and the coaches would run me into the ground - I would feel fine until I ran, legs would not feel right and times agreed - they were slow.

    This may help you
    http://www.trainingpeaks.com/YAF_Gateway/forumhost.aspx?g=posts&t=80481

    I found this link in it
    http://blog.trainingpeaks.com/posts/2012/2/14/follow-your-heart-using-hr-to-gauge-fatigue.html
     
  6. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Unlike most on this forum my goals are more cross fit where I combine strength training and endurance. Almost every week I have the sensation that you describe, but like others indicate we cannot determine if you are overreaching. That is something that you will need to figure out. For me I train through it. If I had to take a break every time I felt that sensation I would require a constant break.

    I stopped going by heart rate long ago and depend on my power meter. After training legs on Monday's my struggle then begins for the following days. Typically Monday evening is not too bad to hit L4. By Tuesday morning DOMS is setting in and Tuesday evening L4 interval are really discomforting with the burning sensation. Wednesday L4 gets slightly better and Thursday is improved a bit more. Saturday in good weather I will try to do my endurance ride that can approach toward 300 TSS and then Sunday I can feel that burning sensation during a 2x60 SST, but I push through it.

    Now that might sound insane to many just reading my typical routine and they would tell me that I am over training, but I have been doing this for a couple of years now. My mental and physical status seems to be really good. I stay motivated and rarely can I think of times where I am dreading a training session. Feeling burned out and dreading training is sometimes an indication of mental fatigue. Typically if I stick with it my legs will clear up, the discomfort of the burning sensation subsides a little and I hit my goal for the day. Not always, but most of the time. On the physical side I have been doing this routine for a while now (several years) and all seems to be an upward trend in WKO+ and my FTP continues to improve. So I am recovering okay it would seem despite this sensation of extreme discomfort at times.

    Is training through right for you? I would not say so at all. Only you can determine this and it seems like what most have stated in their posts as well. Like edd stated times like this are good to reevaluate your schedule with the race coming up. You will probably start tapering soon anyway. Hopefully you have invested enough in aerobic training that your fitness will be there on race day.
     
  7. DanFox

    DanFox New Member

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    I'll check out the links, thank you.
    And yeah I think your right that it is fatigue. Its frustrating because i'm not run down or tired at all, and I feel if anything my fitness has improved a lot over the past 6 months or so. I had a 3 week break over the new year and then jumped right back into 6 day training weeks with 3-4 tough interval sessions per week. I guess I must have overdone it, too much too soon and all that.

    Its annoying as I have races approaching and want build some speed and power, but as soon as I start sprinting im finished after a couple and my legs feel weak and shaky and my quads are super heavy and all lactated up.

    Is there anything I could be doing to speed up recovery? Iv decided to take a week off and see how I feel after that :/
     
  8. DanFox

    DanFox New Member

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    I know what your saying, that pushing yourself and riding intervals etc is always gonna hurt because that's the whole idea, but rather than it feeling like im working hard it feels like my legs are stopping me from working as hard. I normally just ride through the usual fatigue as you do,and of course there will always be an element of this whilst im training regularly.

    I can manage l4 intervals, its just that I physically cannot get my legs to push hard for shorter more intense intervals whereas maybe 3-4 weeks ago I could push really hard. I cant even max sprint for 20secs which to me says that something is up.
     
  9. scottz123

    scottz123 New Member

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    Recovery - when fatigued I may take an extra 'b-complex' vitamin (read it somewhere) along with protein powder (due to amino acids). I always supplement with protein powder. Always with recovery shake. But, that's me.

    Are you using a recovery drink after training?

    Maybe this link I answered will help - see links in it also
    http://forums.mtbr.com/xc-racing-training/have-you-ever-had-one-those-seasons-840620.html

    Not to do with recovery - but as a short sprinter, I supplemented with Beta Alanine - I have read some top cycling coaches have there athletes supplement with it. (I heard it in beet juice conversations)
    http://speedendurance.com/2011/10/14/baking-soda-and-beta-alanine-ethical-cheating-or-ergogenic-aids/

    I have never tried it, but if you are like me 'you feel like you have to do something' - yoga? See comment on link on recovery
    http://www.trainingbible.com/joesblog/2008/02/yoga.html

    I would come back slowly - I would not jump into intervals because you are coming off rest and think you are good to go. Something like tempo ride, recovery spin, SST ride, recovery spin, etc.

    My disclaimer: Just my opinion

    Keep us posted on how you are doing
     
  10. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Some good info here. My 2 cents is also that you need to take time off from hard training to let your legs heal. The hard efforts cause micro-tearing of muscle fibers which take time to repair. Depending on your age, overall health, nutrition and sleep, this could be a few days or a week or more, but it takes whatever it takes. IMO, there is no point in more hard training while your muscles are still sore. Let them fully recover before applying more stress. Suggest you stop all hard training efforts between your weekly races. Stop "testing" yourself all the time. Take short, easy recovery rides daily, but keep in the small gears and spin, never force the pedals. Be confident that you'll race stronger on rested legs.
     
  11. edd

    edd New Member

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    Seeing you have a race coming up I wouldn't get off the bike completely, I'd be doing very easy recovery spins for the week.

    How old are you ?

    How long have you been riding ? Racing ?

    What sort of intervals are you doing ?

    Six days a week of training is fine if you are not overtrained. I do short hard interval work twice a week, recently I brought the duration of the intervals down on one of these days and felt much better for it. 20 sec intervals at max effort with trash the legs even at high cadence. Short low cadence heavy climb intervals will trash the legs as these to muscle damage just like resistance training in a gym.
     
  12. DanFox

    DanFox New Member

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    Cheers for the reply edd. I'm 27 and been riding on and off for five years but only racing since last summer. As far as intervals are concerned I try and get a mix of threshold / zone 4 intervals (2x20mins), shorter intervals of 2-4 minutes and some max sprint intervals here and there. I'll basically do intervals in the week and ride out on the weekends and go as hard as I feel I can. I've taken the last 2 days completely off, even went to yoga (ouch) and I'm gonna take your advice and maybe do a couple of recovery spins up till maybe Thursday and see how my legs are. I don't wanna race next Saturday having been off the bike for a week because I know I'll feel awful. Maybe do some short sprints Friday or something?
    Don't really go for recovery drinks and stuff like that, I'll make sure I get some food down me str8 after a ride though generally I eat well so I'm not sure it's down to poor nutrition or anything
     
  13. leanman

    leanman New Member

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    this goes to show how good the pros really are, racing super hard in a stage race, anywhere from 2-20 days in a row.... or is the the magic drugs they take to make recovery so ez, making them do daily races with no problem? i know the pros are freaks, so good, strong, able to recover, but i do bet, the drugs they take, even though they say they are clean(lol), helps them a ton..
     
  14. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    +1
    My post was done in haste this morning and it bugged me that I could not correct my thoughts until now. I meant more in line with edd's thoughts and less of a "harden up" tone that is in my post above. You may not have it in you to train the higher intensity levels, but at least you can keep your legs active and keep your fitness up some.

    I know for me that when I take time off my legs get blocked up really bad and it takes several rides to get them open again. I am one of those that is better off in that somewhat fatigued state than when I am totally rested.
     
  15. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    You are going by perceived effort. The problem with that is: As you get stronger if you keep the percieved effort the same, your actual effort increases. And you never know it.

    You need an objective measure. I would suggest that you compare your training times over courses that you have done in the past and can do now.

    ---

    So do you ride hard for 20 minutes on the weekend or hard for 4 hours? There are ways to do a long weekend ride that helps in your training and ways to ride which do not.
     
  16. scottz123

    scottz123 New Member

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    A question I did not here: Were you trying to cut weight in preparing for this season?

    To me it's cheap insurance: 16oz of grape juice, 4 tbsp of dextrose and a scoop of whey protein as soon as possible after a challenging workout.

    http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2012/01/should-you-use-protein-after-a-workout.html

    It sure can't hurt. As serious as you sound, I am kind of surprise you don't - I cannot get food down in that 30 minute window after hard workout.
     
  17. DanFox

    DanFox New Member

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    Iv considered that maybe my power has increased but the percieved effort is higher - but tbh I'm almost certain that it hasnt. I know my fitness has increased because I feel a lot more comfortable on the bike especially at a higher HR, and my resting heart rate has gone down. But im certain muscle fatigue is preventing me from actually putting more power down than before. I usually race my mates up hills on the weekends and can hold a sprint to the top, but recently my legs force me to ease off before the end of the climb.

    Id ride hard for 3 hours max, I dont enjoy being on the bike for any longer than that. Usually I would ride a 25 mile hilly route on a Saturday and then do a longer 50 mile route on sunday but trying to keep my HR down in zone 1-2. Most routes I ride include quite a few climbs, nothing too long but some failry steep gradients. Maybe i need to spin round some flat routes for a while or something.

    Good idea measuring training time round a set route. I'll start doing this weekly so I can see improvements / declines in performance.


    I'm similar to you in the sense that I always ride through lower levels of fatigue and I have become used to not feeling 100% fresh - but its unusual for me not to be able to then push myself and have a good training session.

    I'm taking today off too (so thats 3 days completely off in a row) and tomorrow I think i'll jump on the turbo for half hour and have a spin see how my legs feel. Will I still recover provided I just push an easy gear and spin for a bit?
     
  18. DanFox

    DanFox New Member

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    I have been trying to cut weight, but not by cutting calories - infact I'v upped my calories to compensate for the training increase. But one thing that has changed is since the new year I have started doing upper body workouts on my lunch break. Usually 4 times per week i'll do 40 mins or so. I dont work my legs though as I save that for the bike. Could this have anything to do with it?

    I'll try making myself some recovery drinks, see if that helps too. I used to drink a bottle of yazoo (choc milk) after hard sessions but I stopped that. Not sure why. Maybe thats my problem!
     
  19. edd

    edd New Member

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    That's a mistake !

    There is a lot of "money sucking - promise you everything do nothing" supplements on the market. However the high-science whey proteins get absorbed very fast as opposed to a good steak that can take up to eight hours to digest, they are cheap and they work wonders in accelerating muscle recovery (I still like a good steak though). Get them into you straight after a hard session. I make a meal replacement out of them, frozen blueberries, yogurt, chia seeds and a natural vanilla whey protein.

    Recovery enhancing supplements are still legal !
     
  20. edd

    edd New Member

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    Think there is a lot of things in the mix that all together make the problem. Upper body workouts are going to tax your system and effect recovery. I don't know what sort of upper body work you are doing, but I'd be bring this back to twice a week or even stop them while you have a race in mind.

    Think about getting a cycling coach, could be money well spent. You may have hear of this bloke <http://www.rstsport.com/>
     
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