While recently writing the detailed guide that clients who purchase one of our Training Plans receive, I had a thought that it might be beneficial to share this with everyone.
Firstly this article focuses more on the subjective elements, rather than objective information from a power meter, for example. While using a power meter to monitor progression and fatigue is very useful, I am always keen to ensure that my clients understand what being fatigued actually feels like. Not only might it change the way you train, but, it might also change the way you go through life; giving yourself more time to chill out and relax from busy days and not mindlessly forcing activities which ultimately are at detriment to mental and physical health.
We recommend all of our 1:1 Coaching clients track key performance indictors like their HRV, weight, sleep, general wellbeing, and a few others. I recommend a great app called HRV4Training which makes all this very easy, and even syncs up with your TrainingPeaks account.
For example, after a pretty intense or prolonged day’s training you might wake up feeling a bit rough, have dropped weight, not slept as much (or too much) and have an elevated resting heart rate. This is common due to the stresses intense or prolonged exercise places on the body. If you’ve done a hard session you may have scheduled in an easier or rest day anyway. The key to look out for is gradual increases over time that do not drop after one or two rest days. This can be a common sign of fatigue. Apps like HRV4Training, can really help you visualise and track your subjective scoring.
The issue, if you ignore it, might only get worse. Your performance will drop off. You might suffer and potentially need a longer period of time off the bike, not what you want! From what I see from coaching riders and conducting regular fitness testing on my athletes, is that actually people are more inclined to over train than under and if you’re not monitoring it you may not notice it. It won’t happen all of a sudden but over time, you actually won’t notice that feeling fatigued is how you normally feel. It’s only when you take a longer break, that you realise this has happened.
The little changes are easily monitored and by just keeping a track of them you can tell when it is time to take an extra day off or even a week. Our qualified coaches will do this for you.
Of course there are some individualisations that need to be made for some. A perfect example will be anyone with a medical condition or who has to take regular medicine that might elevate a resting heart rate. Sleep patterns can fluctuate depending on the time of year and feel good factor is another problem that can be confused with exercise dread or anxiety!
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If you’d like more information on how Spokes can tailor a training programme to your exact needs, why not check out our products and services. Need more info or would you like to speak to one of our coaches? Get in contact.