Am I overtraining?

I am wondering if I am over training. I am a 39 year old, 175lb male and in good shape. Last year I finished most races, both triathlons and cycling races (citizen rider) in the top 20 percent. I am not sure if I will compete in any triathlons this summer so I have not been running. I live in Ohio, so I am stuck inside in the winter. I do all my riding between 4am & 6am on the weekdays and around 7am on weekends. At this time of the year my typical week goes like this:


30 minutes easy, ave. heart rate 100

Monday: upper-body and legs weight workout about 45 minutes. Bike 30 minutes medium effort, ave. heart rate 125


Spinervals Time Trial video 60 minutes hard effort, ave. heart rate 160-170


upper-body and legs weight workout about 45 minutes. Bike 30 minutes medium effort, ave. heart rate 125


Spinervals Cyclorbx video 40 minutes hard effort, ave. heart rate 160-170


Upper-body and legs weight workout about 45 minutes. Bike 30 minutes easy effort, ave. heart rate 110


Spinervals Have Mercy video 120 minutes hard effort, ave. heart rate 160-170

I haven't actually checked my resting heart rate. I plan on doing that starting tomorrow. This workout schedule is pretty much what I did last year.

I warm-up on the bike each day for 5-10 minutes before beginning the videos or lifting.

I have set a goal of riding a bike everyday this year for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated

S. Brown

Dave Palese replies:

That's a tough question to answer. If the question is, "Are you doing too much intensity for the middle of January?" that all depends on your goals and where in the calendar your first target event for the year is. If you are looking for good form for weekend races starting in, say, May, then doing the amount of intensity you are doing now (I am familiar with the Spinerval tapes) may be over-doing it. And I'll qualify that last statement by pointing out that it isn't so much the amount of intensity as far as I am concerned, as much as what training you are not doing because all of your bike time is taken up with intensity. I don't see anywhere in your schedule, a day dedicated to endurance/aerobic training. It is very important that a good base of aerobic fitness be in place before you start doing higher intensity workouts.

For starters, I suggest, for the next eight weeks, replacing the two hour tape workout on Saturday with an easy ride of two hours at about 70% of your max heart rate for weeks 1-3. Then take a rest week. In weeks 5-7, start doing some Tempo level intensity, 78-82% of your max heart rate, during that ride. Start by adding 30-40 minutes and build to 60-70 minutes. Low cadence, 70-80 rpm. Do the Tempo as continuous riding. Take a rest week in week 8.

Do the same on Thursdays. Weeks 1-3, 60 minutes total, with 20 minutes Tempo riding as described above. Take a rest week in week 4. Weeks 5-7, still do just 60 minutes total but start adding Tempo. Start with 30 minutes in week 5, then 40 in weeks 6 and 7. You get the idea.

After 8 weeks of this, you will hopefully have increased your aerobic output such that any anaerobic efforts you might do will be of higher quality. It sounds like you have "time to train" issues. If that's the case, you may want to look into a coach to help you make the most of the time you have.