Question: I’m 52 and in excellent health based on my last physical. I work out at the gym three times a week (treadmill, stationary bike, weight training). On weekends I ride 20-30 miles. Recently I find myself dragging around, feeling very sleepy and fatigued. Is this connected to the “weekend warrior” aspect of my cycling? — Bradley P.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: That’s a tough question. General fatigue — that feeling of listlessness and malaise — can be caused by a number of things.
You might be tired from your weekend ride because you don’t ride enough during the week. In this situation, the weekend effort requires more energy and cycling-specific conditioning than you have. It puts you in a hole that requires a few days of relative rest to dig out of.
Conversely, your weekend ride might induce fatigue because you’re doing too much during the week. Your job plus several workouts, especially if the gym has a competitive environment that makes you push hard, can lead to accumulated fatigue. Then the weekend ride can put you over the top.
Add to this nutritional issues, the seasonal weather, possible lack of sleep or bad sleep, or even the chance of something being wrong with your health, and you have a large number of possibilities for that tired feeling.
I suggest that you eliminate possibilities. You said you’re in excellent health and had a physical, but if it wasn’t recent, a follow-up would be a good idea. Then try cutting back the intensity of the weekday workouts to see if that gives you more zip on the weekend. The next step would be to reduce the intensity of the weekend ride. Finally, try to fit in a moderately paced midweek road ride to improve your conditioning for the weekend effort.