Getting crushed by workouts after mid plan Half Monty

So, I’ll use this as a bit of a collection of questions and insecurities that I have about training. I started training a bit over 2 Months ago to counteract the effects of covid to my fitness. I (24M) have never done any structured endurance training in my life but I used to go lift twice a week before covid happend.

After a first Half Monty assessment I decided to go with the couch to crusher plan as it seemed like the best choice. Everything went fine and dandy until I did the mid plan Half Monty. Ever since I got my new MAP/FTP targets and slightly increased my AC/NM targets, workouts just smack me around. I had to abort Nine Hammers in the 6th hammer, reduce the intensity of the second set in the Shovel or soft pedal some of the intervals in the Omnium. Yet still in every workout I feel like i’ll fall off the bike right after I’m done. And then, the next workout I feel like I’m going into it with fatigue. Is it supposed to be like this? I feel like I’m not getting enough recovery between sessions and every session seems to focus on short, hard AC/MAP intervals. Recently the weather has been getting better but I feel anxious about riding outdoors at a base intensity because that might screw my recovery even more.

Outside of that I’ll have my first FF in about 2 weeks and I’m already anxious because of it. My current plan is to go with the novice all purpose road plan (Indoor only) as it looks a bit less intense and supplement it with outdoor rides whenever I feel like it (or the weather is good). Is that a good idea?!

Anyway, I really like the training. Some of the workouts have been great and super fun like ‘the Cobbler’. Some of the workouts have been dreadful… but that was to be expected.

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Welcome to SUF.

Yes, it is meant to be hard, but recovery rides/rest days are meant to be rest days. Rides like 9 hammers are notoriously hard and a lot of people never finish it. The catch phrase is that if you finish 9 hammers at 100%, it’s time to do full frontal again.

Anytime you get new numbers (from half monty or full frontal), the next few weeks will feel tough.

Stick with it, make sure you focus on rest/recovery as much as you do in each work out session.

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Welcome! And yes, all of this.

200

Thanks for the warm welcome.

Back when I was lifting, my trainer told me that I shouldn’t do sets to failure if I felt fatigue in that muscle area unless I was very advanced and wanted to achieve hyper-compensation. Especially when I started he told me to take it easy and worry about over-training. Anyhow, my main issue is that I feel like I’m going into a lot of these intensive sessions with fatigue. And looking at the upcoming sessions I don’t think it’s going away until the last week of the plan. Is it supposed to be like this? I looked at the other beginner plan (the all purpose road one) and there seems to be more of a mix between intense and not so intense workouts. There are no multiple weeks of back to back to back hard hitting MAP/AC sessions.

Anyhow cheers for the answer. I wish the app would tell you that you are sort of expected to fail some workouts after you get new numbers.

The biggest difference between novice and advanced choices in plans is the number of hours you can commit to training. It doesnt get harder, just more of it.

Generally, you will have 2 hard but short rides- 45 minutes to an hour. 1 endurance ride in zone 2 (and hour to 90 minutes). 1 recovery ride for 30 minutes in zone 1 and maybe zone 2 every week.

For the advanced options the endurance rides increase in length and you might end up with two endurance rides in a week.

But generally, two hard rides a week is all you should have. Some people do 3 every now and then, but two is best bang for buck.

Recovery really is key. Better to take a day off and recover than get tired/injured/burnt out and have to stop for a week or more

If you can be 80% compliant with a plan you will still get good results. Structured training is tougher than just going for a ride, but the results will come.

Martin

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The two weeks after HM on the couch to crusher do look brutal! Nine Hammers, Chores and 14 Vice grips all in 4 days is going to break anyone on fresh numbers from a half monty! Bat, Omnium and Shovel the following week. Yikes!!

It still puzzles me a bit why Nine Hammers often appears after HM so often on the training schedules. It’s as if you’re meant to do it on your old numbers rather than on the new - which almost always sets you up to ‘fail’.

Yo, Adrian,

Welcome. I, like you, gained a ton of Covid weight, too, but we’re here, and we’re doing something about it. So Cheers!

Endurance training is different from weights, but u knew that, and we know you’ll get the hang of SUF.

There is no shame as you get going in this to calibrate back your intensity settings at the start of each workout - just so you can finish. It’s okay to know your body, know ur tired… and move a workout back a day, or skip it even, and recover.

It’s even okay to bail on one training plan and go another way if it’s too much, too soon.

This community and the workouts should never demoralize; challenge, yes: humble, of course. But by asking Qs already shows you’re going to succeed.

If I were u I would advise do one more week of the plan ur on, but at least for the next 2 rides back ur intensity to 75%, until you feel “good” again at the end of a ride. vs fall off the bike.

Then do the Full Frontal one week prep plan. The best part of that plan is the rest. You will be glad you did. Day before Primers is totally underrated.

I just joined in Sept and have done FF 4 times, and I’m still learning something new each time. I just figured out the 5 sec sprint on the latest attempt (921 vs 661 on my first) I use Level 3 for the Sprint, so the gear changes really hit a good max for my high cadence. I wait until very late to come out of EFG, during the warm up warm/up, otherwise I’m way above target watts, I use Level 0 for the 20 + 5 and Level 1 for the 1 min. Those better match my cadence and gearing preferences.

If all that sounds foreign, it’s totally okay. Trial and error are your friends. Anxiety isn’t. Anxiety loves to hang around all the time, talks a lot of shit, but never picks up the check.

After that FF, whatever plan you select is going to be calibrated for Adrian, and you should see good results.
Those outdoor rides might pleasantly surprise you.

Cheers! Keep us in the loop!

Brian

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Hello @Adrian - congrats on getting into a great new structured training habit! While we don’t truly have a great handle on the long-term effects of Covid infection, it’s possible that there could be some interactions. Be sure to communicate with your doctor if things don’t feel normal.
Overall, there are often points in a training block or plan where you’re doing work, but aren’t getting better at the time. Having to back off a bit on some of the harder sessions (especially 9-Hammers, The Shovel, and The Omnium) is fairly normal. Also, for The Shovel and The Omnium, most are better off using Level mode - not Erg mode. (See Power or Cadence? Erg or Level? Quit or go on? – The Sufferfest for some great information/guidance).
Also, if there are other factors impacting your recovery - like nutrition, stress, sleep quality or quantity, etc. then you might be better off backing off a session or two each week.
For your upcoming Full Frontal, just take it one effort at a time and just see what you can do - don’t judge yourself too hard. Then goal is to see what you’re capable of doing, and you’ll have more insight into what your strengths and weaknesses are after Full Frontal. After a 12-week plan, we generally recommend a rest/easy week before starting your next plan - so make sure you take a little break, regardless. Happy training! Neal

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Have bailed on an overly-aggressive plan. Dialed it back. Much better. Can confirm!

:+1:

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And sticking with your plan, but taking a day or two off or a day or two easy instead of another hard workout is not a bad idea. I have done that on occasion, as well. Or switching around a workout or two here and there, or dialing back a workout to 90 or 80% when you just aren’t feeling it. Or Sometimes just sleeping in when I know I need it. In the end, you’ll get more benefit from a day off with extra sleep than you’ll get from doing at hard workout while overly fatigued, especially when you have to keep dialing it back. And if the plan really does feel too hard, take a week off, consider doing a new FF, then take another week off before starting a new plan (or restarting the same plan for a second go).

First off, thanks for all the great advice.

I kind of feel the need to clarify my covid experience. It was about changes in my day to day life and not having to deal with the virus directly. I used to walk around 20 kilometres a week. Now it’s a lot less since there are many days where I don’t even leave the house. The long term advice for people who had covid sounds very solid however.

Now that Kayabike is done, I have 2 recovery days coming up so I’ll see where it takes me. Hopefully my legs feel a lot better next week but looking at the sessions ahead they look quite tough. Worst case, i’ll just dial back the intensity.

FYI

I did Nine Hammers yesterday after being away from SUFferfest for quite some time. I based my numbers on HM as I can no longer face FF anymore. I also failed in the 6th interval - I took a short break and finished. Then I failed again, and did the same.

Nine Hammers is the most difficult session here for me. I think lots of people fail in that one so you’re not alone.

@Yojimbo Sounds like your numbers are about right based on your 9H experience. See the below post from Coach Mac noting that 9H is a benchmark workout.

So. I just did my FF and it tells me I’m a attacker. Now the Software tells me my 5min MAP is more than 142% of my 20min FTP.

I feel like I paced my 5 minute effort very well. Maybe even sandbagged it a bit since I shifted down a gear for 30ish seconds in the 4th minute because I thought my legs were blowing up but as it turned out my legs were fine.
For the 20 minutes I started at around 75% to 80% of the 5minute effort but after seeing my heart rate push above my LTHR 3 minutes in and growing, decided to shit down a gear and hold that speed for the remaining time. In the end my HR was around 178 to 180 for the remaining 15 minutes (LTHR from Half Monty was 179). I even started to feel some stitch in the last 3 minutes. I think I paced it quite well yet I’m unsure if I sandbagged the effort. I want to add that I rode both efforts with a high cadence above 100.

I now adjusted my FTP up by 10% so the calculation of FTP times 1.3 equals MAP is true. Should I do that? Or ride the FTP I got in my FF?

Anyhow, what an effort. I definitely got fitter and would prefer to not do it again. Ohh… is there some truth in the feeling that I have an easier time pushing and holding big watts in level mode than in erg mode? It’s just a feeling but doing a minute at 300 watts in erg mode feels much harder than a minute being slightly above 300 watts in level mode.

Basically, unless you have specific instructions from your doctor to stay under a certain HR, you should be riding to power, not HR. HR is way too variable based on too many external factors and non-bike stressors, plus it also lags behind your efforts. And it’s very possible you can safely hold a higher HR than you think. FF should be a good test to show you your actual maximum HR and LTHR. So, if you rode a lower power than you could have because you were worried about having your HR too high, then you likely could’ve ridden harder for your 20 minute effort and ended up closer to your MAP power.

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I agree with @emacdoug. My LTHR is 179 and I was above that from about halfway through the 5 min MAP interval, with a peak of 188. In the 20 min FTP interval I was up around LTHR after about 5 mins and then crept up to 185 by the end.

Is there any specific reason why you decided to do the 20 min interval above 100 rpm? For me that would spike my HR way too high. For reference I did the MAP at 90-100 rpm and the FTP at a very steady 82-83 rpm. Then AC above 100 rpm.

Regarding ERG vs Level mode, I think Level mode is just more forgiving. Level mode allows micro-drops/surges in power which naturally occur as you ride. ERG mode is relentless and any slight momentary drop in your cadence is immediately punished by increased resistance and most trainers then overshoot their target power levels slightly (or quite a lot!) before settling down again. So you have to be super-smooth with your pedalling to avoid (or at least minimise) these ERG power “ripples”. This effect tends to become more noticeable at high power levels too.