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.
Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred's full bio.