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Thread: diagnosing HR Power mismatch

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    Default diagnosing HR Power mismatch

    There are a lot of variables here and realistically I don't expect concrete answers without taking steps that I, frankly, probably won't take. What I'm probably looking for is validation or similar experiences.

    I wrecked my bike pretty bad last year which resulted in almost zero riding, or much exercise at all for that matter, for about eight months. A predictable combination of 45 y/o male existential crisis/self loathing/depression took it's toll over those months and I gained about 30lb without even trying. That's my super power these days...gaining weight while eating rabbit food.

    Since April, I've been doing 2-3 rides per week, at least one of them "hard" (for me that's >15mi of mountain biking with over 3000ft of climbing and with my HR averaging 160 or higher), and lifting 2-3 times per week. At first, I was doing as much volume as I could as long as it wasn't impeding my shoulder and back rehab but now that my shoulder is better, I've upped the weight and have been doing ~60% of max, 3 work sets with max reps and then accessory lifts that focus on shoulder stability. I still can't do much that loads my back, so leg work has mostly been intervals on the bike, stair climbing and leg extensions and curls with lowish weight and ~20 reps. Each workout starts with a 40min warmup on a bike at a fairly low HR of ~130. I've been trying to maintain a calorie deficit so that I'm losing 1-2lb per week which has mostly been going well.

    The other variable here are severe seasonal allergies.

    I ride with HR and power and have noticed this month that at a given HR, say 165, my power output is far less than what it should be and seems to be getting worse with each ride. I took nearly the whole week off last week. Easy ride on Friday, heavy lifting Sunday night (chest and back) with no accessory movements and then I rode yesterday and felt like absolute shit. Granted it was 40 hotter than my last ride but I can typically hold about ~260 watts at ~165BPM for the 35min road climb to the trail head. Power has been dropping over the last month by a few percent each ride and yesterday I was at ~220watts at ~165bpm over the first 2/3 so I backed off for the last third because I had a certain ride planned for the day. On my second trip up the hill, I stopped for a minute, which isn't a thing I'd normally do. My output dropped to ~180 with my HR creeping up to 165 and I think it hurt more mentally than physically.

    These past 2-3 weeks, I've just been amazingly tired all the time and can't seem to snap out of it.

    With all that, what's the right path forward here? I don't feel overtrained in the way that I know I have been a few times in the past but at the same time, I realize that as I age my ability to recover is slowing down. I still have about 15lb to go before I feel comfortable (and then 15 after that to get to an adjusted "ideal" weight) but feel like I'm just not capable of pushing past this sticking point that I've hit. I've not hit the point where hard physical work releases endorphins like it has in the past, this just always feels like a trudge.
    Sean Chaney
    www.vertigocycles.com
    a peek behind the curtain

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    Default Re: diagnosing HR Power mismatch

    I found myself sedentary and 25 lbs over where i wanted to be a few years ago in my early 40s. I kept my (decent) diet largely the same and tried to lose it via exercise. Goal was to ride my bike 100 times/year. I ended up doing about 125 rides and it took about a year to lose 20 lbs. when I multiplied the hours i had exercised during that by the average expected caloric expenditure, I was within 2 lbs of what I had actually lost.

    Being in a caloric deficit while riding a comparative lot would have been hard. I do eat a lot of healthy fats (nuts) and protein these days which really helps with satiety. The whole idea of 'just eat less to lose weight' is pretty much a myth - the body is much happier holding on to excess weight for the next famine than it is to lose it freely. I will also reluctantly admit that I used to just think 'could lose a couple pounds' and the weight would melt off. That seems not to be the case for me anymore.

    So I would temper the weight loss expectation. 1.5-2 lbs a week consistently is pretty aggressive. Also, find a diet that works for you; i.e., that induces slight hypocaloric state the you are happy to consume.

    You may also be getting anemic/sick (allergies? meds?) but we're not going to fix that here ;-)
     

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    Default Re: diagnosing HR Power mismatch

    It could be something as simple as being dehydrated or under-fueled.
    You mention ~165 hr and ~260 watts. Do you consider this a hard effort? Or more like a tempo effort?
    What is your max heartrate? What is a heartrate that you attribute to a "hard effort"?
     

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    Default Re: diagnosing HR Power mismatch

    At ~45 perhaps more recovery could help... If you are breaking down more than you can rebuild it just goes downhill...
    Guy Washburn

    Photography > www.guywashburn.com

    Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
    Winston Churchill

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    Default Re: diagnosing HR Power mismatch

    Power dropping while continuing to train is usually a sign of either getting sick or needing rest. I'm a firm believer in the need for periodic rest. I've learned in the past couple of years of the benefit of 1 - 2 weeks completely off the bike once or twice a year. I was off the bike for 2 solid weeks last August while in Mongolia and, 10-17days after returning and patiently reacclimating to riding the bike, I found my best form of the year.

    You might try some real time off the bike and see what happens. You might be very surprised.
     

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