Cycling is an extreme outdoor activity. Riders take their bikes for long rides, sometimes reaching over hundreds of miles at a time, while burning excessive calories. From this, their bodies require constant caloric intake and rest. However, like any physical activity, it can be difficult deciding when to rest and when to keep going. Any cyclist must know these signs you’re overtraining in cycling to avoid any serious medical complications.
You’re Constantly Tired
Poor sleep patterns and irregularity are common signs of overtraining. While it might seem like the harder you train, the easier you should sleep, this is a misattribution. Insomnia, restlessness, or waking up feeling more tired than before are signs you’re training too hard. You should feel rested and rejuvenated from the previous night’s sleep, ready for the next ride. You can encourage better sleep with melatonin or more off days. With better sleep, your mind and body will thank you.
Your Heart Rate Rapidly Fluctuates
Another sign you’re overtraining in cycling is when your heart rate rapidly changes. Some scientific studies indicate suppressed heart rates are symptomatic of overtraining. Similarly, elevated heart rates also indicate overtraining. Either way, monitor your heart rate for consistent activity. It should remain at a stable baseline that’s consistent with your lifestyle. If it increases or decreases while in a resting state, you’re likely overtraining and putting your body under stressful conditions.
Your Performance Decreases
Naturally, it’s time to give your body a break if your performance decreases. This is the most telltale sign you’re overburdening your body. While it might sound extreme, even easy rides can seem challenging. Rides that are a certain number of watts should be kept at those watts. Any sign of decreased performance—hitting fewer watts, tiredness, cutting rides short, or constant soreness—means you must rest and recover.
You Don’t Remember Your Last Break
Finally, you need a break if you haven’t taken one in a significantly long time. Riders may avoid rest periods for fear they will lose riding ability. However, this is unlikely, and you’ll only lose this capability after extended time off. When taking off long periods of time from cycling—for example, two weeks or more—you might lose some mobility. The longer you’re off the bike, the greater the chance you might lose your endurance, leg strength, anaerobic capacity, and heart strength. But any short period of rest means you’re treating your body to much-needed recovery.