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Parasympathetic Overtraining: Have you experienced it? How do you get over it? (Read 252 times)

Moonstruck


    Hello lovely RA'ers,

     

    I've been using the RA log for a long time, but have never posted on the forums before (way too shy).  But I am so impressed with all of you for your extensive and diverse endurance experience that I was hoping someone can help! Basically, after hard efforts (races or long rides), my heart rate during exercise remains really low for days after.  It started out as just a day, now it is for 5-7 days after the hard effort.  My natural inclination is to go slower on these days (about 1.5MM slower running or 2 MPH cycling), but I can still push it and reach the desired pace if I want to, although my HR remains about 20 bpm below my percieved exertion level.  I've never had this issue before and I'm hoping someone may have experienced this and have some feedback!

     

    Quick background: I ran off and on (more on than off) for about 10 years (high school, college, and a few poorly trained marathons after that) before switching to cycling the past two years due to injury.  I am now slowly trying to transition back into running (missed it too much), but I’m not training for anything, so I’m just trying to do runs and rides that I find fun and enough training to be good at them.

     

    After two difficult bike races, one at the end of April and one in the beginning of June, my heart rate would be quite a bit lower than normal for the next 2-3 days afterwards and my baseline pace slower.  Now, however, after every weekend (slow century ride two weeks ago, sprint tri this weekend, neither should be particularly difficult for me), I get the same issue, so it seems to be progressing.  I've only used a HR monitor for about 1.5 years, so I'm not sure if I've experienced this before but I don't think so.

     

    From what I've been able to find online (pretty limited), it sounds like 'parasympathetic overtraining'.  Here's a few articles about it: Slowtwitch, blog post, and Maffetone.  All of them make it sound like it's a pretty big deal and immediate and full rest is needed.  But the thing is, I feel particularly good right now.  I'm very satisfied with all my recent races and I'm certainly not lacking in motivation to get out there.  Has anyone else experienced this low heart rate during exercise?  What did it take to recover?  Did training through it make it worse? I'm really having fun right now with fun activities planned for every weekend - I really don't want to slow down.  Thanks!

    northernman


    Fight The Future

      Doesn't sound like you are overtraining at all, if you are not tired and are performing at your desired level. Have you tried not monitoring your heart rate? How low are you talking about, anyway?

        Doesn't sound like you are overtraining at all, if you are not tired and are performing at your desired level. Have you tried not monitoring your heart rate? How low are you talking about, anyway?

         

        Yeah, this. Sounds like you're fine and this heart rate thing just lasts for a couple days after a hard effort. Which probably just indicates you're still recovering from the effort, I would think.

        Moonstruck


          Thanks so much for the responses!  Since I've mostly been cycling since I got a HR monitor, I know those numbers better.  In general, I have an average heart rate of 140 for easy rides, 145 for normal rides, 150-155 for harder rides, and 165-175 for races with a max HR of 189 (over a year's worth of data, no anomalies).  For these low HR rides that I've been experiencing  the last few months (in which I wouldn't call my effort easy) I have an average HR of 125-130 and a max of 160-165 (pretty much all out effort- equivalent to my normal 180-185).  Previously, I couldn't get my HR down below 130 if I'm moving at all.

           

          Is this something that lots of people experience during normal recovery?  Because that would make me feel so much better  - since it is so new to me and seems to be getting worse.  I am most worried that is is a sign of damage to my body and/or heart.  The limited anecdotal evidence is pretty dire and I haven't been able to find any good scientific studies of it, which makes me pretty skeptical as well as unsure that a doctor would be much help beyond take some time off and let's see what this EKG looks like.  As long as other people have been fine with easier efforts until it returns to normal (while maintaining training load), I'm not too concerned.  But I really appreciate any personal experience!

            This makes me glad I don't use a heart rate monitor.  I have never had to worry about parasympathetic overtraining.

            DoppleBock


              No idea - Although I do know of a person who rides a lot that was on medication that did not allow him to get his heart rate high as it should have went.  It was affecting his performance (limiting), so he had it changed to a different med and things normalized out.

               

              I never track my heart rate, so I would not know if it was lower.  Not being a doctor, I personally would be more worried about a higher heat rate for an extended period of time, but maybe lower is dangerous also.

               

              ?

               

              Good luck

               

              Hello lovely RA'ers,

               

              I've been using the RA log for a long time, but have never posted on the forums before (way too shy).  But I am so impressed with all of you for your extensive and diverse endurance experience that I was hoping someone can help! Basically, after hard efforts (races or long rides), my heart rate during exercise remains really low for days after.  It started out as just a day, now it is for 5-7 days after the hard effort.  My natural inclination is to go slower on these days (about 1.5MM slower running or 2 MPH cycling), but I can still push it and reach the desired pace if I want to, although my HR remains about 20 bpm below my percieved exertion level.  I've never had this issue before and I'm hoping someone may have experienced this and have some feedback!

               

              Quick background: I ran off and on (more on than off) for about 10 years (high school, college, and a few poorly trained marathons after that) before switching to cycling the past two years due to injury.  I am now slowly trying to transition back into running (missed it too much), but I’m not training for anything, so I’m just trying to do runs and rides that I find fun and enough training to be good at them.

               

              After two difficult bike races, one at the end of April and one in the beginning of June, my heart rate would be quite a bit lower than normal for the next 2-3 days afterwards and my baseline pace slower.  Now, however, after every weekend (slow century ride two weeks ago, sprint tri this weekend, neither should be particularly difficult for me), I get the same issue, so it seems to be progressing.  I've only used a HR monitor for about 1.5 years, so I'm not sure if I've experienced this before but I don't think so.

               

              From what I've been able to find online (pretty limited), it sounds like 'parasympathetic overtraining'.  Here's a few articles about it: Slowtwitch, blog post, and Maffetone.  All of them make it sound like it's a pretty big deal and immediate and full rest is needed.  But the thing is, I feel particularly good right now.  I'm very satisfied with all my recent races and I'm certainly not lacking in motivation to get out there.  Has anyone else experienced this low heart rate during exercise?  What did it take to recover?  Did training through it make it worse? I'm really having fun right now with fun activities planned for every weekend - I really don't want to slow down.  Thanks!

              http://a-big-horse.blogspot.com/ 

              2013 Goals ~ Mar < 3:00, 5M < 29, 10k < 35  

               

                (If you look at my log, you may not see much over the past 2 months, but....)

                 

                I've done 2 Ironman's, and I've never seen my heart rate above 160 during a ride.

                My last Ironman, I did 21mph (top 10% overall, I believe).

                My lactate threshold is at 155, and I keep below it on my rides.

                On a sprint tri, I'm sure I would exceed 160, but I'd never get near 180.

                Over the past few months, I've seen my running HR during higher effort runs exceed 185, but I limit that effort to once or twice a month.

                 

                What you're describing doesn't sound like a problem.  "I" wouldn't change anything
                I think you're re-building your aerobic system, and that's the change your witnessing.

                Thanks so much for the responses!  Since I've mostly been cycling since I got a HR monitor, I know those numbers better.  In general, I have an average heart rate of 140 for easy rides, 145 for normal rides, 150-155 for harder rides, and 165-175 for races with a max HR of 189 (over a year's worth of data, no anomalies).  For these low HR rides that I've been experiencing  the last few months (in which I wouldn't call my effort easy) I have an average HR of 125-130 and a max of 160-165 (pretty much all out effort- equivalent to my normal 180-185).  Previously, I couldn't get my HR down below 130 if I'm moving at all.

                 

                Is this something that lots of people experience during normal recovery?  Because that would make me feel so much better  - since it is so new to me and seems to be getting worse.  I am most worried that is is a sign of damage to my body and/or heart.  The limited anecdotal evidence is pretty dire and I haven't been able to find any good scientific studies of it, which makes me pretty skeptical as well as unsure that a doctor would be much help beyond take some time off and let's see what this EKG looks like.  As long as other people have been fine with easier efforts until it returns to normal (while maintaining training load), I'm not too concerned.  But I really appreciate any personal experience!

                2014 Goals:

                #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                #2: 365 Hours training

                 

                Zortrium


                  I overtrained pretty badly about two years back, so I think I'm pretty familiar with the symptoms.  As far as I'm concerned, if you're having fun and feeling good, there's nothing to worry about.  In my case, my HR did drop significantly, but the overriding issue was feeling like a zombie during just about every run, regardless of length, distance, or intensity.  Running became something I dread rather than enjoyed, and it was only after several months almost entirely off that I could go out for a run again and not feel like crap.  If you were actually overtraining, you'd have a lot more severe issues than a lower number on a HR monitor.

                    Agree with the others that you're not overtraining. The lower HR after a hard or long workout is probably some from fatigue. It sounds like you're peachy happy and getting performance you want. If that's the case, you're not overtraining, which is a really big, serious thing and can take months and maybe year to require from.

                    "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


                    sugnim

                      This makes me glad I don't use a heart rate monitor.  I have never had to worry about parasympathetic overtraining.

                       

                      +1

                      Moonstruck


                        Thanks so much for all the feedback!  I think I'm still convinced that something unusual is going on, but I've decided not to be concerned about it and use this as an excellent opportunity to do some easy mileage.  Hopefully KerCan is right and the aerobic system will come back better than ever!

                          Thanks so much for all the feedback!  I think I'm still convinced that something unusual is going on, but I've decided not to be concerned about it and use this as an excellent opportunity to do some easy mileage.  Hopefully KerCan is right and the aerobic system will come back better than ever!

                           

                          Moonstruck

                          I don't know the term Parsympathetic Overtraining, and don't know whether you have something wrong or not...

                           

                          Here's my Ironman HR graph for 12 straight hours.  I finally uploaded the garmin activity to my log this morning.

                           

                          http://www.runningahead.com/logs/02f3690306544605998a35af8ddeeda7/workouts/f2963f75093547ba8ccf1ea24f16208c/graphs?x=21&y=82&y1c=0000ff&y2c=00ff00&avg=1&w=640&h=480&rng=10

                           

                          You can see that I kept my HR relatively low the entire day and in a fairly tight band that fluctuated mostly due to biking elevation changes or run/walk speed changes during the run portion.  The overall effort was the same.

                          (I don't know, but) I think what the SlowTwitchers are talking about is when you can't keep your HR at your bike HR level.  In that instance you're fatigued beyond your conditioning.  My running HR was well below my biking HR, and it was a tough day that needed extened recovery post race).

                          I believe it was about 137 or so.  I wasn't able to get my HR above 140 during the last half of the marathon, but that's because I was doing a run / walk throughout the marathon.

                          FWIW, it was 94* outside, and relatively high humidity in Houston.

                           

                          Regardless, I thought of this thread when I loaded this
                          Cheers,

                          Brian

                          2014 Goals:

                          #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                          #2: 365 Hours training