Over training and chronic fatigue

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by trilobite, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. trilobite

    trilobite New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello All,

    I am new here. I have struggled with over-training-induced chronic fatigue for about 10 years now; I'm writing in order to share my experiences and also in the hope that there are others on this site who might be able to relate to what I've experienced and be able to offer advice.


    Back in 2003 I had my second high-intensity racing season. My body was over-stretching itself and I was so keen on riding that I wasn't listening to the symptoms it was sending me. By the end of the summer I was experiencing longer recovery times, odd mood swings, clumsiness, and decreased strength on the bike. In retrospect, if I'd take a month or two off I would likely have been fine. Instead I kept going. By the fall I just crashed completely. My quads and triceps ached and throbbed for weeks on end, I had brain fog, I felt very weak and had strange hunger pangs. I saw a couple of doctors, including one who was a riding partner, but they couldn't find anything wrong. By the end of 2003 I realised that exercise had become impossible, although I continued to cycle the 2 miles to work every day. Over time things improved. A year later I was running a mile or two a few days a week. That didn't last long: I crashed doing that too.

    I got depressed for a few months, but by about 2006 I had accepted that cycling in the foreseeable future would be out of the question. I begun to feel better and socialized more. In 2008 I changed jobs and no longer cycled to work. Although I now exercised less, brain fog, etc, largely cleared up and I could go for weeks on end without thinking about my fatigue, even though I know it's still there.

    So why am I writing today? Well, I dusted off my bike this morning, pumped up the tires and squirted some WD over the bits that needed it. I hopped on and rode somewhat briskly around the block. I learned a few things through doing this. Firstly, I have zero fitness. [​IMG] Secondly, my fatigue hasn't really shifted an inch. I now feel a slight light-headed brain fog and my triceps feel weak again. Although I know from experience that if I am to have a little "fatigue episode", it will begin in two days time. It's seems to me that my body has "learned" to feel like crap following exercise, and following cycling in particular. I don't know how to make it "unlearn" that. Thirdly, and most poignantly, I remembered how much I miss riding and how desperately I would love to start again.

    I know there is no magic cure to chronic fatigue, but if anyone out there has experience with it and come back from it then I'd love to hear from you.



    t
     
    Tags:


  2. Gav888

    Gav888 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    I went through something like that although not to your extent. I was having my best season ever and like you ignored the symptoms telling me to rest and kept going. I ended up mid summer sidelined with serious calf strains unable to walk for a few weeks. My calf's were seriously bruised and I still kept riding! 6 months of complete rest I slowly started riding again and over the following months got to a stage where I was riding without calf pains and could then start working on fitness. I learnt from that experience to listen to your body. Like you if I took a few weeks off I could have continued but hey ho lesson learned. I found for me having a good diet helped as it gave my body the nutrients it needed to repair, rest and walking. When I started riding again start slow and short, like 30min easy twice a week then build from there. It's a horrible situation to be in, but get your diet spot on and keep your fluids up. Try walking and gentle stretching then when trying to ride again ride slow and short and see how you go.
     
  3. ambal

    ambal Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2010
    Messages:
    895
    Likes Received:
    32
    Are you eating enough calories from good quality food?

    I ask this because the below image applies to a lot of people nowdays;

    [​IMG]
     
  4. trilobite

    trilobite New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    @Gav888 thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, I've tried the "riding slow and short" and it's more or less impossible. Through cycling it's absurdly easy for me to blow myself up and feel tired for days afterwards. Basically, my "safe level" is so ridiculously low intensity and short that it feels pointless. It's weird too: it hits hardest two days after riding, which is not at all what happened when I was normal. Plus, it's a feeling of malaise not simply normal recovery fatigue. Very different sensation. I prefer to walk the dog instead, which is much safer.

    @ambal Yes, I eat adequate quantities of freshly prepared food, etc. Regrettably, I can't think of any obvious changes of that sort that I can try.
     
  5. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,011
    Likes Received:
    176
    Get a full blood panel done by your doctor. Something's not right and to blame chronic fatigue induced 11 years ago is a bit of a stretch. What you described is very similar to what I felt like when I was anemic.

    Keep a record of everything you eat, everything you drink and any weird and not so weird supplements that you might take - including 'recreational stuff' like beer, dope, coke etc etc and how much sleep you're getting a night. Be honest about it and go see the doc. Get the blood work done and take if from there.

    As an amateur, unless you were putting in 20+ hours of hard training a week plus racing on the weekends I wouldn't even start to mention anything related to overtraining.
     
  6. trilobite

    trilobite New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, perhaps you're right and I should give it another shot. When this first happened I did a pretty broad blood screen (I don't know what was on it) and nothing came up. It's possible they missed something, of course. I'm not sure why you think chronic fatigue is a stretch, though. It's not uncommon for CFS to last for decades.
     
  7. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,011
    Likes Received:
    176
    But for CFS to really be CFS you need to do something that really induces Chronic Fatigue. 20 hours on the bike, very hard, less that 6 hours of sleep a night and a job - that might do it. The more common 10 to 14 hours per week and racing - probably not likely. Track your diet, sleep and exercise. Include any foods you graze on between meals, any naps you take and anything strenuous outside of exercise. Do that for a few weeks and armed with that info (and hoping you have a doc that will listen) it'll be a good starting point. Ask if a full blood panel includes red blood cell, hemoglobin and iron/ferritin. You could always start taking Vitamin B and iron supplements but since everything is seeming messed up already, you want to leave things as it until you get the blood work done.
     
  8. trilobite

    trilobite New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    As you say, it seems reasonable that something should be inducing a state of chronic fatigue. The issue, however, is that it often isn't clear what this trigger is. It doesn't have to be some major and very obvious stressor. I have a colleague who succumbed very badly to CFS (she's house-bound) and there was no obvious trigger. She wasn't an athlete, she wasn't sick, she wasn't a "hyper" or stressed person. Clearly something did trigger it, but the point is that we don't know what that was because it was subtle. In other people it has been claimed that long-term viral infections eventually lead to CFS, which continues even after all traces of the virus have gone. Perhaps for years. Obviously in most people a virus infection doesn't have this effect. There are many such examples. All of this leads me to the conclusion that the threshold for inducing a chronically fatigued state differs greatly between individuals. It may take >20 hours of hard training a week for 6 months on end for person A, but person B might succumb with much less. As far as I know, the medical literature contains no information whatever on what the threshold is for inducing CFS in an otherwise normal athlete.
     
  9. bmoberg337

    bmoberg337 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trilobite, You definitely seem to meet the criteria for CFS. This syndrome is not homogenous in its presentation and severity from person to person which makes it difficult to say what an individual is capable of dealing with. An outstanding theory is that CFS is a stress related disorder and is the combination of both physical and psychological stress. Everyone’s threshold for stress is different so what may be manageable for some is greatly overdoing it for others. Unfortunately there is no cure for CFS. There are plenty of people that make full recoveries and then there are some that don’t. From my research I have not seen any common treatment routine among those who have recovered other than ample rest and establishing a strategy for managing stress. This is probably the most difficult part of recovery because it forces you to recognize aspects of your personality and life that got you to this point. Such things are forged in mind and habit and thus take a long time to rewire. For inspiration you might find Anna Hemmings story helpful. There is also a lot of literature out there on people who have overcome CFS. There is some on- going research being conducted throughout the U.S that is using low dose Ritalin and a nutrient supplement to up-regulate CNS activity in CFS patients. This is known as the synergy trial (http://thesynergytrial.org/). If there is a provider in your area it may be worth enrolling in this study. CFS is only diagnosed through exclusion so it’s important that you address other areas of health that may be causing fatigue. In addition to fatigue lasting more than 6 months, the following tests should be completed and come back with normal results (this list is not all inclusive): -Full CBC​​​​-Lyme -Vit D. -Full CMP​​​​-EBV​ -Vit. B-12​ -Aldosterone/Renin Activity​​-CMV​ -Thyroid Function (TSH and Free T4, T3) -Dexamethasone Challenge test​​-HIV​ -Urinalysis.​ -Creatine Kinase​​​-Hep B&C -C reactive protein​​​-ECG Wish you the best of luck. CFS is definitely a game changer, but can potentially change things for the better if you are open to it.
     
    trilobite likes this.
  10. baker3

    baker3 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    1
    A few years ago I followed a low carb atkins paleo style diet and it screwed me up big time. I felt like death and had no energy for anything remotly intense like training.
     
  11. trilobite

    trilobite New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, your post is useful.
     
  12. Yonni

    Yonni New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    A couple of points from different perspectives... When I switched from running (training approx. 3-4 times a week up to around 6 hours total) to triathlons, my training went up to 8-11 hours a week. It was a struggle at first but I managed it. Later it resulted in a huge crash of 4 months off with absolutely no excercise and extreme fatigue. When I went back to light training I felt OK but just a slight increase and Bang! I crashed again. This went on for several years of me not even being able to jog for months on end no matter how easy I took the return to training. I dropped the Tri's and concentrated on cycling and eventually managed to build up again over the last 5 years to a point where I can attempt the etape du tour and ride several sportives a year without crashing again. I had plenty of bloodwork done over this time and the only thing that showed was a low liver function. This eventually recovered but did seem to coincide with the crashes. whether it was a cause or a symptom we never found out. I know that this isn't the same as CSE or ME but, having cared for my wife's ME for 3 1/2 years her descriptions of the symptoms were very similar to mine. I have no idea how I recovered. Maybe I finnally got it right without realising it, maybe it was a bad virus that finally shifted. Guess I'll never know but overtraining isn't a one off specific thing that requires X to = Y/ The other point was that my wife was virtually bed ridden for those 3 1/2 years and I was her carer. Eventually, after trying all sorts of remedies she tried something calle the Lightning Process. The result was amazing. She is now fully recovered. It took probably 6 months before she really felt her old self again but after a 3 day treatment she was markedly improved and just got better and better over the next 3 months. We live in the UK so, not sure if this exists where you are but well worth a try.
     
  13. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    0
    Quote:
    I know there is no magic cure to chronic fatigue, but if anyone out there has experience with it and come back from it then I'd love to hear from you.





    Didn't happen to me, although I'm constantly tired (from working 60hr/week at least + training).

    But there are at least 2 names which pop in my mind, having received this diagnostic, having been told that they could be stuck with it for life. Euh well. Given the sort of regiment they now go through week in week out, this leaves me wondering. Not sure if I'm crossing the limit here, but one of them would be the famous coach Adam Young, co-owner of SwimSmooth. Again well.... I think he now works harder than I do. It's been a while since I had a talk with him about this case, but if he still suffers from this, given how successful he is, I want the same diagnostic for myself!

    Again, these 2 cases got this from their "professional" activities and possibly from their personal ones as well (that I don't know). They are both much happier with their professional lives now, and I think it could be related.

    There's a third case, closer to I, was an athlete of mine, an age grouper (Master Level if you may), and what I witness was an unexplainable performance/energy/happiness collapse. It happened almost overnight. Personal life wasn't easy, it was troubled. I didn't want to dig in deeper. This case could have been triggered by over training I donno.

    Finally, an athlete of mine back to the 90s did his Master degree on this topic, overtraining, and at that time, it seemed to be very difficult to distinguish overtrainning from depression of nervous system, etc... It seemed that one could lead to the other so a complete diagnostic was difficult to achieve without a psychiatrist.
     
Loading...
Loading...