I have been hurting on the bike this week…
I have been feeling way off almost all week long. I suspect it’s a combination of the caloric reduction while continuing to train hard, along with the heat. The heat this week has been nothing short of hellish.
Taking a look at my rides this week…
On Monday I did a solo 50 kilometer (30.7 mile) ride with an average wattage output of 209 watts (Zone 2/Endurance). My average speed was 32 km/h (20.1 MPH) and my average heart rate was 159 BPM. There was a fair amount of higher Zone work as well. Here is my zone distribution chart from that ride (click to enlarge):
On Tuesday I’d planned to do a solo Zone 3/Tempo ride, but a couple of hard hill sprints early in the ride quickly let me know I was not feeling up to par. In short, I blew apart and had to back it down. That 53 kilometer (33 mile) ride wound up being another Zone 2 effort: average wattage was 199 watts, average speed was 32 km/h (20.0 MPH) and average heart rate was 155. My zone distribution chart chart looked very similar to Monday’s chart (click to enlarge):
I decided I needed a light recovery ride, so on Wednesday I did a 65 kilometer (40.6 mile) spin with an average wattage output of 154 watts (Zone 1/Recovery). On that ride my average heart rate was 133 BPM and my average speed was 29 km/h (18.2 MPH). Here’s Wednesday’s zone chart (click to enlarge):
Yesterday morning I could tell that I was not feeling anywhere close to 100%, but decided to test the water with another solo Zone 2 ride, punctuated by a few harder efforts. I set a few new PRs on yesterday’s 43 kilometer (26.7 mile) ride, but I was really hurting: my heart rate was much higher than usual, and my recovery from those harder efforts never really happened. My average wattage output was 199 watts, my average speed was 33 km/h (20.3 MPH) and my average heart rate was way up there at 167 BPM. Thursday’s zone chart (click to enlarge):
As you can see, yesterday’s ride was the shortest and, overall, the least intense ride I had this week (ignoring the recovery ride, of course), yet my heart rate was significantly higher than the other rides–12 BPM higher than Tuesday’s ride, for example.
I can’t say I’ve felt weak or “bonkish” on the bike. It’s more cardio-related, along with a low-grade headache and a general feeling of being off my game.
The heat/humidity has been a significant factor this week. How much? Well, yesterday, for example, I finished that short morning ride down 3.2 pounds. That’s crazy. I normally only take a single 25-ounce bottle of water on these relatively short morning rides (I’m well fueled and hydrated before setting off), but I guess I’m going to start taking sports drinks instead of plain water, or pop a Salt Stick cap along the way.
Of course I’ve been eating under maintenance all week long, and that certainly may be playing a role here. Yesterday I increased my food intake to just under 3,000 calories. 3,000 calories is still under maintenance for me (when factoring in my activity level), but higher than my typical cutting calorie level at my current weight. Depending on how I feel today, I may further increase my caloric intake.
So this morning’s ride will be extremely light–probably the easiest ride I’ve ever done in my life. I’m going to soft pedal around and try to keep my watts in the lower 100s. I want to keep my heart rate down, and stay as cool as possible.
There’s a 200 kilometer ride tomorrow that I’d really like to do, but the way I’m feeling that’s absolutely out of the question. Unless I’m feeling worse tomorrow, I’ll probably do a local ~100 kilometer group ride and keep a low profile.