Heart Rate and performance

Hello everyone.
I tried a search but couldn’t find any answers. It has been 5 weeks since my last Full Frontal and I did poorly (15% drop) because I couldn’t push my heart rate to around 162bpm which is where my peak performance is. I followed up with a half monty and the half monty showed better numbers which is a 2% gain.

For the last 5 weeks, I guess I have been searching for answers as to why I have suffered in performance. Whether it was fatigue, allergies or something else. Nothing seems to work.

I can’t seem to do workouts which I can push 160-165bpm for 20mins. My Intensity Factor seems to be below 0.90. I was struggling with Long Scream yesterday and hard to turn down the intensity.

Previously at my peak I was able to ride and sustain 160-165bpm for 20-30mins and it won’t feel uncomfortable.

Have I lost fitness? Do I need to do FTP blocks? Turn down my Intensity for workouts? Am I suffering a burnout?

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This can be a case of being fatigued. Don’t fret too much, have a week where you really dial things back and then get back to it and see what happens!

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Going to start with a caveat - there could be a medical reason for this and a bunch of random strangers on the internet aren’t the ones to turn to for an informed (by your history rather than their own) diagnosis imho. And if it’s training induced then, well, ditto.

Having said that my HR response is extremely consistent so I’d also be looking for answers if I saw the same kind of issue. Fatigue is a simple answer… but then also not a simple answer if it’s gone on for some time.

There’s a SUF article on heart rate that’s worth a read. Check it out, see if it gives you some pointers.
https://thesufferfest.com/blogs/training-resources/heart-rate-and-training-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-but-were-afraid-to-ask

Have changed the topic category to “training” - a coach might then see it and offer some more informed advise. Good luck with finding your answer and getting back to crushing it.

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Azrine,
That sounds like overtraining. I’m not a Dr, but I have been through the wringer more times then I’d like to say. I followed the post ToS plan and it worked Great :+1: for my new 4DP 6 weeks ago :volcano:. Another solution is to cut back the # of days in the saddle and do something else…walking/hiking or Swimming my favorite.
Relax and recovery

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It could be fatigue but it’s been going on for 5 weeks. Ever since I started cycling outside, I could feel the allergies acting up more.

Also, I don’t think I’m over doing things because I only cycle about 40-60mins on the trainer using sufferfest Tuesday to Friday and cycle outside 1 hour to maybe 1 hour 30min max outside on Saturday and Sunday.

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Hi @Azrine, this is certainly a frustrating issue. Searching for one “thing” to pin the changes on. And there have been some great suggestions for what it could possible be. Before I get too far down the road here I will say that I am a coach, not a doctor, and it never hurts to get a physical and have a conversation with a qualified medical professional, in person. Especially if you are having fatigue that carries over outside of your training into your “normal” life.

As far a HR goes it can be a great indicator of general fatigue. When you are tire it is hard to do the mechanical work to get your HR up to peak levels. On the surface, it does sound like fatigue. However you have to broaden the scope here. What has your training level been over the last month and beyond? And how does that compare with what you have done in the past? Also, what has your life stress and sleep quality been lately? Have you had any significant life changes? These factors can have as much or more of an impact on heart rate response and fatigue as your training. You have mentioned that this is something that has been going on for the past 5 weeks. During these 5 weeks have you tried a deep rest or have you simply been trying to hit targets and not been able to? It’s often easy to keep swinging at a target rather than backing off for period of time to “reset” and then come back at it.

There are many other factors that could play into this. But first I recommend a deep rest/recovery. And get in to see a medical professional, just to be on the safe side. Get the all clear and then ramp back up and see how you feel. But don’t short cut your rest.

During this time I also recommend that you begin to take your resting HR every day and start getting some additional information rather than only looking at the top end. You may already be doing this but if not, this simple method can be a great indicator of fatigue. High level athletes have been using this method for decades. The next step in that path is looking at HRV and sleep patterns. There are many options on the market for this if you choose to go down that road.

Wishing you the best!

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@Coach.Jeff.H - are there general guidelines on best time of day to do something like FF or an interval workout more generally, in order to be at your most rested state? To get the most out of it. For instance, I remember reading an article a while back that suggested the best time to work out was in the late afternoon. No idea if that is true - suspect each individual is different. However, I have noticed that there can be quite a difference in my level of fatigue throughout the day based on how fast my HR progresses higher into other zones. It also made me wonder (if managed right) if fatigue can be put to use in training - (for instance do an additional late day zone 2 workout but stop when HR can’t stay in zone 2). Could that be a kind of ‘progressive load’ or is it best to just return to the bike the next day. Or better yet - stick to a training plan!

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Hi Coach Jeff, thanks for reaching out. So prior to my last Full Frontal on 10 Jul, I was following the SUF program. My Weekly TSS summary From Jun is as follows
Week beginning
1 Jun TSS total 447 (6 Jun first ride outside since lockdown)
8 Jun TSS total 529
15 Jun TSS total 212
22 Jun TSS total 466
29 Jun TSS total 252
6 Jul TSS total 302 (inc Full frontal)
13 Jul TSS total 375 (inc Half Monty)
20 Jul TSS total 234
27 Jul TSS total 389 (last week)

For the week 20 Jul, I went hard on 23 Jul with a sub threshold 5X4 for 1hour 15 min 63TSS with an out door ride on the weekend 54 TSS & 30 TSS.
For the week 27 Jul, I went hard on 28 Jul with Downward spiral 82 TSS, 31 Jul with Zwift 58min 70TSS, 1 Aug 2 Hour 24min 138TSS

Work stress has NOT been stressful and sleep patterns are OK. I have also been looking into HRV and am using EliteHRV with a Scoshe Rhythm 24. My morning resting heart rate has averaged 56 for 14 days. (range is 50-63). I am still not sure if the HRV numbers are good. The app does calculate readiness but it varies up and down.

Last Monday, I took a rest day and yesterday I did Primers which is supposed to be a light workout but today I felt a bit fatigued and sore.

I am just going to do a recovery ride from today through to the end of next week.

What should the resting heart rate data tell me? Will it rise if one is fatigued or overtraining?

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@DancingCyclist. Again, great question. There have been several studies looking at performance levels related to time of day and how that relates to body temperature, blood pressure, nervous system function energy availability etc. To my knowledge, the general consciences it that mid-day to early afternoon is the best time for optimal performance. However, that is not necessarily true for everyone. Again, there are so many factors that contribute to how you perform; what time you wake, eat, work, etc. Often we don’t have full control over our schedule and just have to do what we can when we can.

However, if you want to be the most consistent and have the ability to do so, I recommend that you find the time of day that you can do on a consistent basis and pick that one. I think it is also important to remember that even though we always want to do our best in a “test” that these “tests” are simply a snapshot of where are we now. The more assessments or snapshots that you have over time the better the view is. I know I got off topic a bit here but the truth is that it really doesn’t matter in the big picture.

Now, for some fun… mix it up and see. Do a test in the morning, take a few easy days 3-4, do a test mid day, take a few easy days, and do one in the evening. Compare your results. I know this seems like cruel and unusual punishment but you won’t know until you try it. But don’t do them on back to back days! I would not recommend this if you are in the middle of a training plan but the other thing to remember is that testing is training.

Keep up the great work!

Cheers,
J

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@Coach.Jeff.H. Thanks for the response! I agree - so many variables but I’m definitely up to experiment - I suspect you were thinking of FF when you suggested it might be ‘cruel and unusual punishment’! How hard could that be every 3-4 days. LOL!!

I also like the idea of thinking of workouts as ‘tests’ that provide a snapshot and how they provide a better picture over time.

Thanks!

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