Q: Because I live in Ohio, I’m stuck inside on the trainer. My typical week includes three weight sessions for my legs, two 60-minute trainer sessions done very hard, and a weekend trainer ride of two hours, also very hard. I use training videos so I get pushed to my max. But I’m wondering if I’m overtraining because my legs ache all the time and my performances aren’t improving. — Shane B.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies:
I grew up in Ohio and know about the weather there. You’re a tough guy to spend the winter on the trainer.
Your schedule looks hard, but I can’t be certain that it’s too hard because everyone’s capacity for training is different. The schedule that prepares a pro rider for the Tour de France would put most of us in intensive care.
Here’s my rule:
If you think you’re overtraining, you probably are.
In general, hard trainer sessions, especially when using workout videos, represent extremely “high cost” training.
That is, they produce rapid improvement at the risk of rapid burnout. And unless you have a good endurance base, they can erect that rapid improvement on a shaky foundation.
You need to ask yourself questions like, “Do I have enthusiasm for training? Am I continuing to improve? Am I getting grumpy or lethargic?” The answers will tell you if you’re doing too much.
There’s a chapter on warning signs, dangers and remedies for overtraining in my eBook Basic Training for Roadies.