Recovery and purposefully detraining

  • Creator
  • #59676
    Edgar Carby


    Listened to Scott Johnston’s podcast on recovery by feel and it got me thinking.

    I’m stuck around 65-70 CTL for the last month or so. I’ve put in several 10-12 hour weeks in that time frame. I’m maintaining but I feel like I’m working pretty hard to do so. I’ve noticed my sleep is not great, I’ve got some work stress (it’s good, but stress is stress), legs staying sore, etc.

    My desire is still good so I’m torn.

    I wonder if I ever totally recovered from my last 50k (a warm 7 hour effort with 6500 ft of climbing).

    It seems obvious I should take a mini-break, but how much? A time frame or a CTL number?

    I’ve attached my last 28 day PMC. You can see how flat the CTL is.

    EDIT – my 28 day ramp rate is 4 so I’m not working too hard objectively but I *feel* pretty beat up all the same.

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  • Participant
    Nate Emerson on #59698

    Edgar, If you came into this program with a CTL of 65-70, I wouldn’t necessarily expect much increase yet. Depending on your weekly workout composition, 10-12 hours might not be sufficient to push CTL too much higher than 70CTL. Don’t worry, 65-70CTL at the start of a transition period could be a solid starting point.

    Another point: we don’t always need to see an increase in CTL for it to be “good” training. Sometimes it’s good training simply adapting to a solid weekly volume.

    The precise reduction in recovery week volume is very individualized, both in time and volume. The programmed recovery weeks show a reduction that would work well for a large group, but could be more individualized over time with good notes.

    Regarding *feeling* beat up:
    You raise a great point about your other stressors. If your sleep is impacted and compromised on a regular basis, that needs to be addressed if you want to keep ramping up your volume. If you can improve sleep quality, that would be a pretty convincing way to show that stress is being reduced.
    It’s outside of the scope of the program to prescribe particular changes. One way to approach this could be to journal your daily activity to get a better overall picture. From there, you could start to identify areas to improve stress management. Some suggestions for the Covid WFH-era are identifying ways to compartmentalize work, or identifying ways to improve sleep hygiene.

    If the 50k was well outside the time/vert of your typical long day, then feeling “beat up” could be due to “underrecovery”. This could be from the length of the race day, the pace, the terrain, or the eccentric loading on descents. Race days can take a toll and could require at least one deliberate recovery week or more. A recovery week post-race could have a notable reduction in volume. The body needs recovery and we have to let our CTL drop at various points in our training cycles.

    If integrating strength/conditioning into your program is new, consider that 65-70CTL might not be the same as a previous 65-70CTL. This is one reason why it’s helpful to reduce training volume as you transition into a new program. 70CTL with familiar workouts feels different than 70CTL with a whole new set of weekly workouts.

    Edgar Carby on #59720

    Thanks Nate. My sleep patterns are definitely telling me something. As you know, life is so dynamic that it is hard to pin down what variable needs to be modified. It could very well be life stress rather than workout stress that is making me feel run down.

    I’m going to take the rest of this holiday week off from running, ride my duration/TSS requirements and do the Chamonix workouts. Then I will do the built in recovery week next week and hopefully that will be enough reduction in volume to allow some adaptation to take hold.

    I will also start journaling within TP and track my subjective feelings. A couple of sad faces in a row should be enough to alert me to a negative trend.

    Nate Emerson on #59950

    Yes, so many variables to pinpoint one, so just do your best. Getting a grip on sleep hygiene is great. If you are doing all the recommended steps to have great sleep and it’s still sub-optimal, that could be an indicator of too much stress.
    Treating TrainingPeaks as your workout journal will be really helpful moving forward. The subjective interpretation is really important. Simply using the built-in RPE and feeling notes in TP will help you build a more complete picture. A couple of short notes are even more helpful. Some athletes “grade” their workouts (TFTUA, pg 128).
    Good luck with this step and hope that you feeling ready for more in the weeks to come!

    Edgar Carby on #60354


    Just reporting back – feeling great. Took it kinda easy during Thanksgiving week and then did the recovery week as written. Also started yoga twice a week AND got my sleep headed in the right direction. It involves not one but two sleep masks and a trip to the audiologist for custom fit ear plugs, but it seems to be working.

    Anurag Doshi on #60393

    How can you tell if fat mobilization is improving?

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