The timing of this blog is especially funny, coming just days after my praise of the lovely laid back life in Girona in Somebody pinch me. It seems that even here it is possible to over train, to try to fit in too much, to ramp up the training too fast and as a result get ill. But I was so pleased with my increasing training vs. working ratio which had got to 1:2!
Last Thursday on my second ride of the day the legs felt a little hollow. To fit training in around work I got up at 6am for a heavy leg turbo and then after work nipped out for a 2 hour spin. It’s just the second ride effect, I told myself. On the Friday I did my usual 2 hour ride over a couple of substantial climbs including Els Angels (which often highlights in the Volta Catalunya). Again, the legs felt hollow. Here is where I should have probably taken a rest over the weekend. But it was so sunny and having all that free time without work, well, what else was I supposed to do? So I piled on the Km’s with 4-5 hour rides Saturday and Sunday. After Monday’s early morning spin my body started to close down and here I am Wednesday with a dressing gown on and working (honestly) from home.
So what are the tell-tale signs that we are training too much and how should we react to them? I have decided not to reference any scientific papers in this blog, just speak from my own experience.
- The legs feel really hollow even though you have eaten well and have had a good night’s sleep. There is a difference between pushing on during a hard ride and really feeling bad from the start. If it is the latter go home, rest and get a nice cup of tea.
- Really dry throat, or headache. Normally the first signs of a cold. Take a day or two off the bike until it goes.
- Cold sores, eye stye’s, or any other infections. It happens to all of us when our immune system is low. This time round I got an eye stye. Although the cause of this is not related to overtraining (but a bacteria from my nose – how lovely), it is more likely to take hold when I am tired and my immune system is low. Easy tell-tale signs of over doing it.
- Constantly starving. Eating a lot is not a bad thing as I wrote about in my blog about just how hungry a cyclist can get but this is of course within reason. That constant starving feeling can also mean you are doing too much.
- Your Training Stress Score (TSS), hours on the bike, or Km’s are way higher than normal. TSS in Training Peaks is a great way to measure your load compared to previous weeks. I have just proven that a load of 800 TSS is my maximum for this time of year. It resulted in a high fatigue and opened the door to catching something. Equally you can use miles covered or hours on the bike.
Balancing training, work and occasionally a social life is one of the joys of being a cyclist. Sometimes we get it wrong and get a bit ill but it is still the best sport in the world. Keep pedalling!