Fitness / Freshness

When drugs don't work: training and health tips!
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Fitness / Freshness

Postby BigFatBloke » Sat Sep 07, 2013 15:12 pm

I think many riders are afraid of rest because they fear they will lose fitness.

But although resting may cause a drop in volume of training does that mean we lose fitness?

Failing to rack up Training Stress Score points does not mean you are losing fitness, it means you are losing fatigue.
You only lose fitness if you continue to rest after you have fully repaired, rebuilt and adapted to the previous training. But even then you lose very little fitness if any until after 7 to 10 days without training.

Fear of rest is common and this fear is reinforced by the phrase Fitness + Freshness = Form. Too many riders train too much, too hard and at the wrong time, then race too often. They fail to rest and recover and spend an entire season failing to improve their power because they are afraid they will lose fitness whenever they try to gain freshness.

So in my opinion it is not a case of losing fitness to gain freshness and form. Form comes only after you have built fitness by first training then second recovering and adapting from it. You have only gained fitness when you have done both. Not all training increases fitness but all training increases fatigue. Some training particularly training done at the wrong time and too high an intensity for the level of fatigue and underlying fitness just layers more fatigue on existing fatigue. You might have generated training stress points but you will not have gained fitness.

You must also remember that one mans rest and recovery may involve another mans hardest training days. Some respond better than others to more or less rest and recovery and different events require less or more rest and recovery.

Good form is the result of fitness which is the result of adequate suitable training rest & recovery.
Bad form is the result of poor fitness which is the result of inadequate or stupid training or inadequate rest & recovery or all of them.

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Re: Fitness / Freshness

Postby matt-h » Sat Sep 07, 2013 22:11 pm

I understand what you are saying, but is there a quick way to find out what works for each individual?


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Re: Fitness / Freshness

Postby SBezza » Fri Sep 13, 2013 08:38 am

Well you do start losing fitness as soon as you stop training, as soon as your CTL starts dropping you are losing fitness, obviously one or 2 days off training mean very little loss of fitness in the scheme of things. How much you can tolerate before it becomes noticeable is very individual. This is one of the reason why trying to peak for events should only be done 2 or 3 times a year otherwise in trying to peak you end up losing a lot of fitness over time. One gauge of trying to peak is to not lose more than 10% of the CTL you have built up, so if you have a CTL of 100 before resting, in the taper period try to ensure that doesn't drop below 90, if it drops too low you will have lost too much fitness.

When you are trying to peak for target races, you build up that fitness, and yes fatigue at the same time, but to shed that fatigue you will shed fitness at the same time. Luckily though you shed the fatigue a lot quicker than the fitness, hence why Fitness + Freshness = Form. You can have a very high CTL for example after a big training block and hence be very fit, but you will be so tired from it, you would have no form whatsoever. One thing I don't agree with from what I have seen on some forums, is that the higher the FTP the fitter you are, fitness is more than just that, my fitness goes up and down based on my training, yet my FTP will only ever really move if I target FTP and above, and by doing so my CTL will likely drop as well, so IMO fitness is multifactorial.

As for knowing what works for yourself, well there is no quick way, it is a bit of trial and error to be honest, and what has worked one time, might not work the same way next time as you might have trained slightly differently, accrued stress differently (and remember stress is not just training stress, life and work stresses add to any training stress).

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Re: Fitness / Freshness

Postby gavt0333 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 09:37 am

So I have researched this a bit being a doctor n all and it seems you lose your endurance fitness much quicker than your actual bodily capacity to perform a specific task or motion. Your ability to metabolise sugar efficiently and get rid of waste products in muscle starts to degrade after about 5-7 days but not before this. After 2 weeks however, you lose about 50% of this aerobic endurance capacity. I personally find 72 hours is good for me to recover after a hard workout and even up to 5-6 days after proper race events. I agree with OP regarding over-training and it's important to evaluate whether you really should train as hard as you do so frequently. Each training session should have a specific task, say frequent sprints or hills, then recovery, or building aerobic capacity. Personally I combine recovery and building an aerobic base together but you have to be very strict in not trying to push on these rides. It really will detract from the other higher intensity rides. Sport and hard exercise is very addictive and the harder you go the more endorphins you produce, so those who train at high intensity but aren't progressing aren't going to like this, but you must take adequate time for muscular recovery to de-stress the body and prepare for the next conditioning process.

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Re: Fitness / Freshness

Postby SBezza » Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:14 am

Most riders simply do not train hard enough, for long enough to become properly overtrained, especially if you leave it 72 hours between each training session. Yes you can become overtrained (or more likely underrested), but overtraining is a long term issue which creeps up over time. If you are fit, training hard on a daily basis is very possible and doable, this is where the good gains come from, you just need to make sure you do take rest days however.

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