Form, Fatigue, freshness

Have I not put in correct data? The Fitness data says I’m moving into “Fresh” but my legs feel like lumps of lead! Any thoughts?

This is an addendum to this topic in order to clarify a point. My legs are tired and I know why and that doesn’t worry me as I have overtrained a bit recently, bit silly as I have a Sportive coming up on the 26th May. The question is not about my tiredness but why the data was showing me as “FRESH” when I’m not. Simple. I’m now in recovery mode hoping that the legs will behave themselves on Thursday.
Optimal to me as a natural English speaker means “best or most favourable”. And I wasn’t at that moment.

Impossible to answer without seeing trend data and discussing history.

Does this help Howie?

@Stephen_Humlen-Grins, yes, it does. :+1: More info is needed.
Items to consider:

  • Sleep—any changes?
  • Nutrition—any changes? (General description of diet could be helpful as well.)
  • Life & work stress—any changes?
  • Motivation—any changes?
  • Weather—any changes?
  • Sickness—any changes?
  • Weight/body composition—any changes?
  • Relational & emotional status—any changes?
  • Any underlying health concerns/issues? Any meds?
  • Do you track daily resting HR and HRV? If yes, any trending changes?
  • What’s your age?
  • What are your sports? One sport or several?
  • How many hours per week of training? (Including strength training.)
  • What’s the intensity distribution look like?
  • When did you last have a full blood panel done? (Lipids, hormones, minerals, hemogram, etc.)
  • Do you track blood glucose & blood lactate? If yes, that data would be helpful.
  • Any allergies: food, seasonal, animals, etc.?
  • Any mold exposure?

Your graph shows a nice steady incline of consistency of roughly 7 weeks. But the graph is only reflecting what it can pick up from wearables. My guess is that something will pop up in the answers to the questions above. But even if there’s nothing to note (which is highly unlikely), there’s still a cumulative effect from consistent, low intensity training. Rest (i.e. quite walks in nature with birds and trees or seascape) could be in order.

1 Like

To answer your questions:-

  • Sleep—any changes? NO
  • Nutrition—any changes? (General description of diet could be helpful as well.) NO
  • Life & work stress—any changes? NO
  • Motivation—any changes? NO
  • Weather—any changes? Been bloody cold for 6 months; I live in Norway
  • Sickness—any changes? NO
  • Weight/body composition—any changes? NO
  • Relational & emotional status—any changes? NO
  • Any underlying health concerns/issues? Any meds? NO
  • Do you track daily resting HR and HRV? If yes, any trending changes? NO
  • What’s your age? 75
  • What are your sports? One sport or several? Cycling
  • How many hours per week of training? (Including strength training.) 6 +/-
  • What’s the intensity distribution look like?
  • When did you last have a full blood panel done? (Lipids, hormones, minerals, hemogram, etc.) Not for many years. Have seen no need. I’m in good health
  • Do you track blood glucose & blood lactate? If yes, that data would be helpful. NO
  • Any allergies: food, seasonal, animals, etc.? NO
  • Any mold exposure? Not that I know of.

I don’t think it anything abnormal, body and mind are OK, just tired. But can’t understand why the data doesn’t agree with what I feel.

According to your plots, you have been increasing training stress for more than a month now. Being “in green” means that you train more than usual. It might seem like a good idea to continue this “productive” state indefinitely. But you should give yourself a recovery period from time to time. I suppose you are moving into “fresh” exactly because you cannot handle another load increase at the moment. Take a rest, give your body some time to rebuild — you get stronger when you recover, not when you train.

Usually one should take a recovery week for every 2-3 weeks of training. Age also greatly influences recovery time.

Thanks for your input Andrii. I actually thought I was training with enough rest and recuperation as I felt really good until last Wednesday. It could be that I’ve been using one day a week for hill intervals and one day on the MTB and both perhaps take more out of one than Z2 road riding. Anyway, going to rest up for a while now :grinning:

Good stuff @Stephen_Humlen-Grins. Dags att dyka lite djupare. Om det blir personligt kan vi ta det på mejl. :+1:

@Andrii_Magalich, brings up something I was thinking about. We see approximately seven weeks of consistent and increasing load. Are you taking any full days off each week? I recommend at least one complete day off per week. This allows for recuperation in both body and mind. What we don’t see is your previous six months (while it’s been cold in Norge). If consistent weeks of training isn’t the norm it will be harder on the system than if it’s the norm for the past ten years.

Blood glucose and lactate are really good measurements to have. During all my trainer rides of ≥2 hours I take both measurements every 30 minutes. It tells us a lot about metabolic health.

Tracking daily rHR and HRV also tells us a lot about the system. I can often see a need for more recovery, or even an issue, before I’ve become fully conscious of it.

Blood tests are something I recommend for everyone, at least once a year or more often. Again, trends over time are what we’re watching for, and then picking out things that are changing or outlying in an unhealthy way. Even if we are healthy, blood tests can indicate issues/changes before they become a problem. I appreciate the desire to avoid doctors by staying healthy. For us in Scandinavia, it’s easy to get tests, then input if we want it. At 75 things may be changing; it’s good to have an inside look.

For recovery, there are various approaches. The traditional method is to have a week of much less volume and no intensity. At ~6 hours/week there’s not a lot of volume to reduce. You didn’t indicate what your intensity distribution looks like. If you’re doing more higher intensity (in an attempt to make up for volume) then that would definitely have an impact. (You can’t make up for volume via intensity.) Nils van der Poel had a different approach, taking two full days off per week and extra days off as needed either attached to the two standard days off or in the middle of the week.

Ok, hadn’t thought I would get such deep answers, so here’s a few details. Came off the road around November time and went on to the turbo with focus on my VO2max and Lactate threshold. Doing about 4-5 sessions per week.This was spoilt somewhat by a reaction to the 3rd covid jab in January so took some time off and then cut back a bit. Went back on the road again again about 5 weeks ago and only riding 3 times a week. Normal club rides and not too hard. I’ve felt strong and on form and happy with my recuperation, all seemed well. Have done some of hard hill intervals (3, with week between each session) and a couple of MTB rides so my feeling was that the tiredness was a normal reaction to this. But let me add, its normal tiredness, nothing I’m worried about. I am actually not surprised about feeling tired, what I am surprised about is that the data is (if I understand it correctly) telling me I’m fairly fresh or optimal. So that is my question. Why isn’t the data showing me as being more fatigued and off form. Am I reading the data incorrectly.
It’s not that easy getting a blood test here in Norway, you have to have a valid reason, like most other countries the health service is overwhelmed so difficult to even see a doctor, never mind just popping in for a blood test; but I’ll see if my GP will do one just as a precaution.
PS Er du svensk?

Good info. My first recommendation is to start tracking rHR and HRV. This will help provide insight. I’ve tried the gamut and finally settled on the data provided by my Polar watch at night. It gives me trends, and the data coincides with all other methods I’ve tried.

Regarding your question about why the data isn’t showing you the fatigue and decreased form that you subjectively feel, you may want to make a Calendar Entry to adjust your Fitness Days and/or Fatigue Days. For me, I know that fatigue lingers longer in my body longer than it does for others, especially my mates who are significantly younger than me. (There are several reasons for this difference other than age. I’m 55.)

Curiously, looking at your extended graph, it appears that there’s a pattern of unload after ~7-9 weeks. It’s easy to say that it’s due to an unusual event (i.e. 3rd shot) but when it happens several times it does prompt further investigation, even if the answer is to adjust fatigue days. What’s also interesting is the big dip in form that’s shown on the right hand side of the extended graph. Seen in context it stands out a bit more. Since that big hit you’ve been loading pretty consistently. “Optimal” means ‘favourable’ stressor/adaptation balance but the body and mind can still use more recovery at times to charge and fill the batteries.

Ja, jag är svensk. Bor en timme sydväst om Örebro. Här i sverige behöver man inte besöka en läkare för att ta prover. Jag anlitar Blodkollen | Hälsokontroll genom blodprov. Det finns flera prover som inte finns på hemsidan som kan beställas. På webbsidan finns information om värden (högt, lågt, normalt) för att uppskatta situationen. Själv har jag medicinsk utbildning och flera vänner som är läkare och sjuksköterskor. Kanske finns det liknande möjligheter hos er.

I haven’t mentioned this, but I am 75. I would like to understand in more detail some of the things you mention. Can we chat more privately?

You wrote above that you are 75. Just PM’d you.

75 yep and answered your mail :grinning:

1 Like

I am not an expert, but have been training for 10 months and gone for some of those learning pains. Take an easy week with less load and just go into z2 and some z3. I have been doing 3 weeks of incremental load, 1 easy week and it has been working for me, though sometimes i have hit a wall like you do, usually by external factors (illness, too much training the previous days, etc). Just take an easier active recovery week and see how that goes

That’s why tracking rHR, HRV, and the wellness entries of Sleep Quality, Soreness, Fatigue, Stress, Mood, Motivation, Injury, as well as recording RPE and Feel after each session are important. Once the graphing of Mood and Motivation are fixed it’ll be easier to see those two influences.

Structured scheduling of weeks on/off doesn’t account for the actual readiness in the body and mind and the enormous number of circadian rhythms in the human system.

1 Like

just a simpler reminder about those numbers. the relation between the zones (fresh, optimal, etc) and the load number is relative.

as said, to keep on green means you are progressively overloading over time. what that means is, if you are carrying an average load of 40, you’ll need to keep summing higher loads to progress. if you keep the load on 40, you’ll be always on the gray area. if the average goes down, you’ll start to fall on fresh and so on.

if you summed up an avg. load of 60 over the last weeks, you’ll need, at least, to keep that load on 60 just to stay on gray (maintaining).

the zones are a reference. they don’t reflect perfectly your real estate, but they are a good signal. you just entered the freshness zone. probably if you keep the load on that area for some days, you’ll feel the difference in your legs — keep also in mind that the graph doesn’t take on consideration your age, at least not that i’m aware of. there isn’t enough data nowadays about midlife and older athletes. all this technology is too recent and life expectations skyrocketed over the last century. too little time, too much to research.

and, for sure, 3-8 weeks of progressive overload is kind of the limit without taking a break for any age.

the fitness is all about physical conditioning. is about your capacity of doing more strenuous activities, not necessarily reflections on numbers like ftp. for sure it can impact or at least prepare you to enhance the numbers, but is more about do more with what you have. more training, longer activities, more of the same intervals and so on.


Thanks for your input. If what you say is correct, and I don’t doubt it is, then the “legends” are grammatically incorrect and misleading. To me, as an English person, green means good and the word “optimal” means best. Therefor my endeavours at keeping my workouts in the green zone is completely wrong. So to sum up, not at all strange that I am carrying fatigue.

Thanks David. Yes I understand the training methodology, my point was that I know I went into training overload so should pull back. What I could not understand was why the data was showing me in the green “optimal” area when I was obviously tired. So it is the data I was questioning.

1 Like

I would recommend a very easy week or two if you feel like that. If I’ve understood your training history, you haven’t given your body a rest from training for 6 months (recovering from Covid jab side effects doesn’t count as a rest).

The form / freshness numbers are algorithmic guesses at what is going on in your body, not truth.