Question: Because of my work schedule, I have ridden sporadically for the last 20 years, logging about 1,500 miles annually and doing one or two centuries just for fun. Last winter I took early retirement and decided to devote full time to cycling. I rode 5,000 miles in 8 months and improved fast. But now I’m tired and can’t stand the thought of hammering with the young guys on another group ride. What happened? I thought hard work was supposed to make me better. — Harry N.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: I only have anecdotal evidence, but I suspect that there’s a large number of new retirees who try to cram into six months all the things they wanted to do during their working lives.
And I’d bet that a fairly sizeable percentage are cyclists who go from 100 miles a week to 300-400 after retirement. They add intervals, racing and hard group rides, too.
Soon they’re exhausted. There may be a new medical syndrome in the making — Old Fogy Burnout Syndrome. (At 70, I’m allowed to say that.)
New retirees with time on their hands and a craving to defeat aging think they can train like a pro. But pros are a lot younger.
Here’s another trap: Hard-charging and successful people often think that if they’re not as physically gifted as other riders at leastthey can outwork them.
But talented riders are talented at recovery, too. So they work really hard, recover fast and get stronger. The rest of us work hard, don’t recover sufficiently and get slow, tired, depressed and dropped.
The solution is pretty simple. Train sensibly and then rest. Don’t ride hard again until you’re recovered enough to garner improvement from the next training session. This approach is the core of the year-round program in my Complete Book of Road Bike Training.
You don’t need fancy medical indicators to tell when you’re recovered. Eagerness to ride again is the best marker.
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.