Another week that started out disappointing, but ended strongly.
My plan to wait until Wednesday to do my midweek effort ride (with the idea that I'd be extra-fresh) didn't really work; I couldn't even get in 10 minutes of threshold. My legs didn't feel tired or heavy, they just didn't have the power to generate the necessary intensity.
So I decided to do a century ride instead, which went fine but I was still annoyed about not being able to do what I wanted.
The week started off not so great, with some attempted VO2max intervals on Tuesday. I got a couple in, but (as has been happening) fatigued rapidly as well as being down on power. I switched to some threshold blocks instead, but couldn't get a whole lot of those done either. To cap things off, I ended the ride early, as even endurance-paced riding proved to be a grind.
A designated recovery week, but unfortunately I had also to recover from aggravating my injury. I took a rest day on Monday, and had a very easy commute-only day on Tuesday, but on Tuesday evening, over the course of an hour or so, my shin went from tingly to numb, and my hip progressed from quite painful to excruciating.
I can only assume this was a reaction to the previous weekend's exertions. The gravel ride + round trip combination totalled 10 hours, and maybe that just put too much strain on my body.
My attempted intervals on Tuesday went horribly: I buried myself for the first two minutes for a very lackluster time, then faded badly halfway through the second one. My leg felt worse again, due to what I now think was weight lifting the preceding weekend (so I skipped all weight lifting this week, because I'm now pretty sure that it's been compromising my recovery. I'll skip next week as well and see how I feel).
I switched to threshold blocks, but could complete little more than 20 minutes before I fatigued too much for that as well. It wasn't a good start to the week.
I had a very good week; two good solo training rides and two decent group rides at the weekend.
My injury is still stubbornly refusing to disappear completely; it's seemed like a couple of days away for the last two or three weeks.
On Tuesday I did a mix of intervals: 1 x 2-minute, 3 x 4-minute and 20 minutes of threshold. Everything checked out okay, and this reinforced my realization from last week that I simply haven't been working out hard enough recently, especially around my anaerobic threshold.
I took things easy during the first part of the week, but then put in a very good ride on Thursday (close to 60 minutes at threshold; much more than I've been used to lately).
It seems like I paid for it, as on Friday I felt sore again (in a bad way: like I'd exacerbated my injury), but getting in that kind of workout made me realize that I've been slacking off on my hard rides and need to step things up if I want to get faster this summer.
I was still recovering from my injury this week, although I felt much better than last week. However, my right side is still weak and lacking in power, so all my numbers naturally were down too.
I upped the volume a lot compared with last week, and reintroduced a little higher intensity work. Along with many extended commute rides throughout the week, I did an intervals session on Thursday. It went well, but the lack of power on my right side was evident throughout.
I completed a slightly disappointing sweet-spot ride on Tuesday, but the real problems started right afterwards. Initially I thought I'd got some cramp in my right glutes, but the injury eventually revealed itself as a tweak in one of my lumbar vertebrae.
It definitely got worse before it got better. For the next couple of days I could barely stand and walking was very painful, although I did get back on the bike for some very easy commute riding starting on Thursday. The riding actually seemed to help; probably gently working the muscles helped loosen things up.
This was a very good week, because I think I finally figured out why I haven't been feeling right for the last few weeks or months: caffeine!
For a long while now I've had many of the symptoms of overtraining: poor sleep, mood disturbances, anxiety and general tiredness. This was probably caused at least in part from my high workload over most of the winter, in particular the 4-5 weekly weight-training sessions on top of all my cycling.
However, I backed off a lot over the last few weeks, but still didn't feel much better. I was starting to worry that maybe I was in some kind of long-term overtraining situation, but then I realized that over the last few months I've been drinking increasing amounts of caffeine, and that this could cause many of the same symptoms I've been having.
So on Wednesday I eliminated caffeine consumption, and sure enough I've slept very well ever since, and this weekend I've started to feel much closer to normal again, with the other symptoms disappearing as well. It's early days, but sometimes there really is an easy solution.