Low HR Training

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My Recent Bout With Overtraining (Read 1126 times)

jimmyb


    Just wanted to post about the state of overtraining I believe that I entered recently. If you've been on the board here for a long time, you'd know that I tend to post things about what I'm experimenting with or am currently going through in relation to running, thus the info post about OT, and even a cartoon about it. Here's what went down:

     

    I spent a total of about 6 weeks (two 3-week periods, one in July and one in September) up in Rhode Island taking care of a dying family member in a very crazy, stressful situation.  Life. These things must be faced and gone through. I felt like I was drowning at times, but I did my best, and saw everything through until the end. After it was all over, I returned to Atlanta a bit out of shape.

     

    The stress combined with no running had brought my MAF test first mile from 10:16 to 12:56 in just 3 weeks. Over the next forty days, I did nothing but aerobic work and brought the MAF test first mile back to 10:10. Then I thought I would try a two-week test. I had two motivations: 1. I wanted to lose some bodyfat for an acting role in a film that was shooting in December  and 2. I wanted to see if I could accelerate my MAF tests a bit (as I had read that it helped the aerobic speed of many).

     

    I lost some weight, but my MAF tests tanked--I saw significant slowing almost immediately (13:36 was the worst). My resting heart rate (RHR) was also rising above the normal range by 3-4 beats. I saw it through hoping it would reverse, and saw signs, but there wasn't a recovery at all. I got it in my head that my glycogen was depleted. High RHR and slowing at the same intensity are two symptoms, plus I wasn't getting much carbs at all during the test.

     

    After the test, I carbed back up for a week, then decided to do an anaerobic period. I was thinking that the regression was caused by carb depletion, so I figured I would just bounce back. I had planned on a race season in February, and wanted to get some sharpening in. I did a three week cycle using HAdd's method. Coinciding with this was the launch of my comic strip website, which I was putting a lot of time into, which was added to my usual workload. I also hit a high of 41 miles per week.

     

    I did an MAF test after the three weeks and had an 11:16 first mile, which was an improvement over 12:08 the month before. But the overall test was still slow--in the 12:00's. I was feeling a bit spent, and was finding it hard to sleep, so I took a recovery week, followed by a week of medium long heart time aerobic runs. Then seemingly overnight, my RHR went above the normal range, and never came back. I felt tired and not motivated. 

     

    I decided to do long walks---which was the part of me that can get obsessed with training coming through. THe walks made it worse, and my RHR shot way above normal by about 12-15 beats and stuck there. I reread the overtraining articles I had from Dr. Phil and others and realized I had the classic symptoms of sympathetic overtraining, which luckily wasn't the worst stage to be in. The only cure was complete rest along with good eating. So, I stopped walking. It's now two weeks since my last long walk, and my RHR has finally returned to normal. I am now using 50-51 as a my normal midpoint RHR, as that is what it is when I haven't run for awhile. When I'm making progress, it is 48 or lower. 

     

     

    Big lessons here for me. Everything just caught up with me. The stress of everything that happened with my family along with starting a new website and creative venture (this stress was good stress, but it still added to the mix)---the glycogen depletion and what I now see was an ill-timed anaerobic period. From here on on in, I'm not doing anaerobic work until my MAF tests have reached a certain speed. I made an assumption that I would fully recover from the carb depletion, just by eating carbs. Perhaps, I did recover, but my MAF tests didn't fully return. They were telling me I was only half way back. Again, the MAF tests never lie.

     

     

    Ultimately, it was life stress that did me in--again. Although, I feel I came through it mentally stronger, and knowing myself and my true character a lot better. I like what I saw. I'm cool with it. No regrets.

     

    It's been 5 weeks since I last ran. Now that my RHR has returned to normal, I am planning to sit down to map out a long-term slow return to full training and racing. I'm a bit fatter now--haven't even looked at the scale (didn't want to control calories during this period--wanted to make sure I was rebuilding)--my tight pants tell me everything. It'll come back off. I'm looking forward to a nice long haul. I'll keep ya posted. Of course. Cool

     

     

    Thanks for all your support. And thanks to those here who have messaged me and conversed about running on a more personal basis..

    --JimmyCool

     

    Crusted Salt #69 "Signs Of Overtraining"

    Log    PRs

    Dr.R


      Have gone through some similar things myself the last few months, Jimmy, as always, thanks for your valued input.

      I read this with interest this morning, because just last night at 12:00 am I was re-reading the chapter on over-training in the Big Book of Endurance.

      Seeing patients with this all the time and diagnosing it, you would think I would pick up my own signs quicker!

      Reached a peak last month of a 9:14 MAF (best ever), was having great long run averages, and then, slowly almost, started to regress.

      Not terrible, still motivated, no sleep disturbances; I figured, time to push it.

      The ithlete numbers were also off, with a generally higher RHR; also figured it was time to push.  Played with some faster rides and some faster runs, but the numbers have not really improved, and my long run times have really slowed, though the MAF is not terrible (ran a 9:46 yesterday).  

      I guess I've over-reached, and am at the cusp of overtraining.  It can happen so easily, but those MAF numbers are an amazing indication of where your TRUE physiology is, and where it needs to be...

      Keep us posted as to your progress, as will I!

       

      One note I think;  if you are gaining weight throughout this recovering/healing stage, perhaps you are still getting too many carbs in?  I'm of the belief that weight control is 90% diet regardless of exercise levels (I have many fat, fit cyclist friends that make this more than evident), and though healing requires a full tank, overflowing that tank in and of itself can be a stressful affect on the body, especially if they're crappy foods.  Good luck!! 

      jimmyb


        Have gone through some similar things myself the last few months, Jimmy, as always, thanks for your valued input.

        I read this with interest this morning, because just last night at 12:00 am I was re-reading the chapter on over-training in the Big Book of Endurance.

        Seeing patients with this all the time and diagnosing it, you would think I would pick up my own signs quicker!

        Reached a peak last month of a 9:14 MAF (best ever), was having great long run averages, and then, slowly almost, started to regress.

        Not terrible, still motivated, no sleep disturbances; I figured, time to push it.

        The ithlete numbers were also off, with a generally higher RHR; also figured it was time to push.  Played with some faster rides and some faster runs, but the numbers have not really improved, and my long run times have really slowed, though the MAF is not terrible (ran a 9:46 yesterday).  

        I guess I've over-reached, and am at the cusp of overtraining.  It can happen so easily, but those MAF numbers are an amazing indication of where your TRUE physiology is, and where it needs to be...

        Keep us posted as to your progress, as will I!

         

        One note I think;  if you are gaining weight throughout this recovering/healing stage, perhaps you are still getting too many carbs in?  I'm of the belief that weight control is 90% diet regardless of exercise levels (I have many fat, fit cyclist friends that make this more than evident), and though healing requires a full tank, overflowing that tank in and of itself can be a stressful affect on the body, especially if they're crappy foods.  Good luck!! 

         

        I gain weight quickly when I stop running. I have been almost completely sedentary for awhile now. I haven't been carbing out, but haven't been watching calories, or even weighing myself. I have dabbled in some ice cream here and there. I was sort of taking the philosophy of one of the great Nordic marathoners (whom I can't remember the name) who won lots of marathons, and had great longevity. She would take a few months off ever year and would just eat whatever she wanted. She would get fat by the time it was time to train again. She figured it would help rebuild her body back up. Mainly, like her,  I didn't want to stress about anything. Really take a break from the whole thing, which includes the fear of fat, ill-health, or body image. If I get 10 pounds heavier, so what. It'll come off when I get back to it. That frame of mind. Chilling out.

         

        I don't even have to stress about wearing a belt. My pants have become magical and stay up all by themselves.

         

        Cool

        --Jimmy

        Log    PRs

        C-R


          Hey Jimmy,


          Thanks for sharing. This certainly is an interesting journey we all engage here. You reminded me of the quality of the MAF test and how it really brings a baseline and focus. I was very surprised on the long walk issue. I too recently struggle with weoght even with some decent mileage but frankly right now my training has no plan so I guess I can't be too upset.

           

          Good to see you have a positive outlook and I look forward to lurking more and seeing the results.

           

          Stay strong and I'm sure you'll exist from this stage stronger both metally and physically.


          "He conquers who endures" - Persius
          "Every workout should have a purpose. Every purpose should link back to achieving a training objective." - Spaniel

          http://ncstake.blogspot.com/

          jimmyb


            Hey Jimmy,


            Thanks for sharing. This certainly is an interesting journey we all engage here. You reminded me of the quality of the MAF test and how it really brings a baseline and focus. I was very surprised on the long walk issue. I too recently struggle with weoght even with some decent mileage but frankly right now my training has no plan so I guess I can't be too upset.

             

            Good to see you have a positive outlook and I look forward to lurking more and seeing the results.

             

            Stay strong and I'm sure you'll exist from this stage stronger both metally and physically.

             

            Thanks, Norm. What I needed to do once I realized my HR was elevated was rest. The long walks were in my neighborhood, which is very hilly. I kept my HR to MAF-30, but it wasn't what my body needed. Perhaps a flat walk for 20-30 minutes would have been okay. But of course, that part of me that doesn't want to let go sometimes, took over. Lesson learned: resting heart rate gets elevated, TOTAL REST until it's back to normal.

             

            All part of the journey. We can't get through life without some trials. Life would be much easier if I holed myself up, never attached myself to anyone, and had no responsibility for anyone but me----but I'll take the pain, stress, and ultimate grief from loving people deeply over isolation any time.  

             

            BTW, I do have one of those marathons/half marathons nearby to you on my list.  I was hoping for this spring, but not to be.  I WILL get there someday! And I will do The Monkey. Oh yes, I will. Cool

             

            --Jimmy

            Log    PRs

            C-R


              Good point. There are some good hills in your area and even walking is "stressing the system". But they are pretty hills.

               

              I'm with you on the "life is more interesting messy and complicated than isolated" as I'm just exiting that too. 

               

              A marathon or HM near here. Cool. Tell me when and where and I will be there with shoes laced and ready to roll. As for the monkey, I'll be there again this year to abuse myself and enjoy the festivities. There is nothing MAF or sub-MAF at monkey -even when walking but it is a true grass root spectacle.

               

              Tomorrow is MAF test day for me. I'll post something to see if I can get a baseline and find some discipline. I also need to get a better read on RHR. I'm making too many tweaks on little of no data points.


              "He conquers who endures" - Persius
              "Every workout should have a purpose. Every purpose should link back to achieving a training objective." - Spaniel

              http://ncstake.blogspot.com/

              Shondek


                I gain weight quickly when I stop running. I have been almost completely sedentary for awhile now. I haven't been carbing out, but haven't been watching calories, or even weighing myself. I have dabbled in some ice cream here and there. I was sort of taking the philosophy of one of the great Nordic marathoners (whom I can't remember the name) who won lots of marathons, and had great longevity. She would take a few months off ever year and would just eat whatever she wanted. She would get fat by the time it was time to train again. She figured it would help rebuild her body back up. Mainly, like her,  I didn't want to stress about anything. Really take a break from the whole thing, which includes the fear of fat, ill-health, or body image. If I get 10 pounds heavier, so what. It'll come off when I get back to it. That frame of mind. Chilling out.

                 

                I don't even have to stress about wearing a belt. My pants have become magical and stay up all by themselves.

                 

                Cool

                --Jimmy

                 Hi Jimmy I think it's time to get back on the horse..I mean scales.Get your diet in order  so when you are back running the engine is up to the task.

                I've been reading a little about resetting the Leptin hormone(which tells the brain whether to burn fat or sugar). only 3 meals a day are allowed and nothing in between.Obviously keeping carbs low and the majority of the carbs at breakfast.Last meal and break-fast should be 14 hours apart.Most ol' folks Leptin levels are out of kilter 


                An interesting theory is to weigh yourself just before you go to bed and then as soon as you wake up the next morning and if  your weight is 2 or more pounds less in the morning  it means you have eaten too many bad carbs the day before.I guess that means you have been burning sugar while asleep.I'd much rather it be fat.

                 

                Let's get this show on the road!

                Shondek


                  Also you could try try the 5 Tibetan rites..there is a 6th one but that is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too difficult

                   

                  http://www.mkprojects.com/pf_TibetanRites.htm

                  jimmyb


                     Hi Jimmy I think it's time to get back on the horse..I mean scales.Get your diet in order  so when you are back running the engine is up to the task.

                    I've been reading a little about resetting the Leptin hormone(which tells the brain whether to burn fat or sugar). only 3 meals a day are allowed and nothing in between.Obviously keeping carbs low and the majority of the carbs at breakfast.Last meal and break-fast should be 14 hours apart.Most ol' folks Leptin levels are out of kilter 


                    An interesting theory is to weigh yourself just before you go to bed and then as soon as you wake up the next morning and if  your weight is 2 or more pounds less in the morning  it means you have eaten too many bad carbs the day before.I guess that means you have been burning sugar while asleep.I'd much rather it be fat.

                     

                    Let's get this show on the road!

                     

                     

                    Thanks, Shondek.

                    --Jimmy

                    Log    PRs

                      I decided to do long walks---which was the part of me that can get obsessed with training coming through. THe walks made it worse, and my RHR shot way above normal by about 12-15 beats and stuck there. I reread the overtraining articles I had from Dr. Phil and others and realized I had the classic symptoms of sympathetic overtraining, which luckily wasn't the worst stage to be in. The only cure was complete rest along with good eating. So, I stopped walking. It's now two weeks since my last long walk, and my RHR has finally returned to normal. I am now using 50-51 as a my normal midpoint RHR, as that is what it is when I haven't run for awhile. When I'm making progress, it is 48 or lower. 

                       

                       

                      hey! I've read your post now. sorry to hear you got overtrained =/

                       

                      I would like to just mention one thing. I'm not sure one should be so ready to jump to conclusion as to the walks making overtraining worse. this to me sounds like quite unlikely, it may be a possibility but so unlikely that I would first search for another cause for the effect you've experienced.

                       

                      my experience this January with slowing was that when I cut back it made it even worse. so right now I'm entertaining the possibility that there is either 1) that underloading the body has the effects of undertraining (resembling overtraining) or 2) that it's unrelated and it would have got worse anyway no matter what I tried. in either case, I could *possibly* have been better off keeping up the training load (of course not some extreme load).

                       

                      yet another thing that came to mind is that my setbacks are basically all in winter, so there must be something associated to winter that causes it. this could be several things, I have not decided yet. it could be my winter training (many LHR base runs, no faster ones), could be vitamin or other deficiency, could be whatever else.

                       

                      I will think about that more if I get to observe things more.

                       

                      anyway, I hope your training is going to go better now.

                      jimmyb


                        hey! I've read your post now. sorry to hear you got overtrained =/

                         

                        I would like to just mention one thing. I'm not sure one should be so ready to jump to conclusion as to the walks making overtraining worse. this to me sounds like quite unlikely, it may be a possibility but so unlikely that I would first search for another cause for the effect you've experienced.

                         

                        my experience this January with slowing was that when I cut back it made it even worse. so right now I'm entertaining the possibility that there is either 1) that underloading the body has the effects of undertraining (resembling overtraining) or 2) that it's unrelated and it would have got worse anyway no matter what I tried. in either case, I could *possibly* have been better off keeping up the training load (of course not some extreme load).

                         

                        yet another thing that came to mind is that my setbacks are basically all in winter, so there must be something associated to winter that causes it. this could be several things, I have not decided yet. it could be my winter training (many LHR base runs, no faster ones), could be vitamin or other deficiency, could be whatever else.

                         

                        I will think about that more if I get to observe things more.

                         

                        anyway, I hope your training is going to go better now.

                         

                        Thanks, C!

                         

                        Wasn't jumping to conclusions about the walks. The walks did raise my RHR up on subsequent mornings.  These walks were hilly and brisk and long. My body at the time was rejecting running and walking. As soon as I stopped exercising for awhile RHR improved, and I've been 12 weeks or so back now and there has been no regression in RHR or MAF speed.

                        Log    PRs

                          Thanks, C!

                           

                          Wasn't jumping to conclusions about the walks. The walks did raise my RHR up on subsequent mornings.  These walks were hilly and brisk and long. My body at the time was rejecting running and walking. As soon as I stopped exercising for awhile RHR improved, and I've been 12 weeks or so back now and there has been no regression in RHR or MAF speed.

                           

                          Ah, well, that's interesting. Do you have HR data for those walks? Just curious.

                           

                          Also, after stopping the walks, how much time (how many days) passed before RHR started improving?

                          Shondek


                            I've also done some 2.5 hr walks at 95bpm sometimes it's running but mostly walking,and although my resting pulse could be higher the next morning it always improved my HRV.Though I dont know if i could do 95bpm brisk walk on a long hilly route Jimmy

                            jimmyb


                              Ah, well, that's interesting. Do you have HR data for those walks? Just curious.

                               

                              Also, after stopping the walks, how much time (how many days) passed before RHR started improving?

                               

                               

                              My RHR started getting high on 2/4/12. I ran a bit more, but it wasn't coming back to the normal 48bpm range. MAF speed was regressing. I decided to walk instead, every other day, at 100-105 bpm (hilly course outdoors but after a week or so of that, RHR went up into 60's. I tried a shorter walk, and it went even higher. Took a few days off, tried to "walk through it" a few more times. But gave up and just chilled out for 3-4 weeks. During that time, my RHR came back down in to the 50's, then to the 53 ave range, with some 51's thrown in. I was getting out of shape and it was getting warmer; I considered that pretty much normal. Then I brought some light walking in, and eventually after 12 weeks of no running, I brought some running back in on May 16th. Been about 10 weeks of walk/running. Up to 29 miles and 7:43. My RHR is coming down a little. Walking and running  speed at MAF has improved.

                               

                              That's the story. Rest is the only way out of over-training. One of the quickest ways into overtraining is anaerobic work too soon after a very stressful time of life.

                               

                              I have a long way to go. I have a lot of fat to lose. Unbelievable how fast I can put on weight when I don't put in enough volume (especially during NO exercise) It'll come off eventually. I'm just glad to be training again. I've always loved training as much as racing.

                               

                              --JImmy Cool

                              Log    PRs

                                My RHR started getting high on 2/4/12. I ran a bit more, but it wasn't coming back to the normal 48bpm range. MAF speed was regressing. I decided to walk instead, every other day, at 100-105 bpm (hilly course outdoors but after a week or so of that, RHR went up into 60's. I tried a shorter walk, and it went even higher. Took a few days off, tried to "walk through it" a few more times. But gave up and just chilled out for 3-4 weeks. During that time, my RHR came back down in to the 50's, then to the 53 ave range, with some 51's thrown in. I was getting out of shape and it was getting warmer; I considered that pretty much normal. Then I brought some light walking in, and eventually after 12 weeks of no running, I brought some running back in on May 16th. Been about 10 weeks of walk/running. Up to 29 miles and 7:43. My RHR is coming down a little. Walking and running  speed at MAF has improved.

                                 

                                That's the story. Rest is the only way out of over-training. One of the quickest ways into overtraining is anaerobic work too soon after a very stressful time of life.

                                 

                                I have a long way to go. I have a lot of fat to lose. Unbelievable how fast I can put on weight when I don't put in enough volume (especially during NO exercise) It'll come off eventually. I'm just glad to be training again. I've always loved training as much as racing.

                                 

                                --JImmy Cool

                                 

                                 

                                Hmm, based on the way you describe this, it sounds like this regression would have played out the same way without the walks too. Once you get into OT, it'll just get worse for a while before it gets better and you'll just have to wait to come out of it. I find it really unlikely that a few walks at 100bpm would have pushed you into OT deeper. Of course I could be wrong Smile

                                 

                                It's just that I've watched a few OT/regression cases (mine and several other people's) and those all played out this way regardless of whatever the person did. (Of course with the exception of continuing hard training.) Also it sounds counterintuitive to me that 100% aerobic easy stuff would add to OT.

                                 

                                Well now... Yes I agree training is quite the fun! Also... Have fun losing that fat =P

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