Heart Tired?

heartI’ll get around to posting up a race report from this past weekend, but for now I want to focus on something else.

During the SuperD on Saturday, I pushed myself to the limit.  5 minutes at or above maximum HR (180+).  After the run, I was nauseous and light headed.  It took 90 minutes to regain my composure and to start feeling somewhat normal.

Even so, for the rest of the day my chest still hurt.  My lungs were tight and things just didn’t feel quite ‘right’, but not so much that I felt in any danger or needed to seek medical attention.

Onward to Sunday, I feel a little fatigued, but legs felt great after warm up and I felt poised for a good performance in the XC race.  Unfortunately, due to the weather, the course was sloppy, slippery and muddy so I felt like I wasn’t able to go like I was expecting with a dry course.  Indeed, I felt a bit sluggish, but did not know if it was due to the effort on Saturday or due to the poor trail conditions, or a combination of both.  Regardless, I didn’t perform as well as I had hoped, or as well as I felt I could have.  I just didn’t have the punch to make it happen.

Once home, I uploaded my trail information to Strava and noticed that my average HR for the XC race was only 171.  My typical heart rate during race efforts is in the upper 170’s.  Still, it is anecdotal at best.

I took off Monday, but wanted to maintain my training and had a planned interval ride scheduled for Tuesday.  I wasn’t able to get out during the day so I popped the Roadie on the trainer and proceeded to do my training workout.  I was able to warm up without issue, but noticed my warm up heart rate was sticking around 130, when usually under that kind of effort I’d be in the 145-150 range.

When the time came for the first hard interval (HR Zone 5, max effort), I pedaled and pushed hard, but to no avail.  I was barely able to get my heart rate above 160, let alone get my HR up to near 180.  After trying for about a minute and a half, I gave up and decided to just do a 1 hour tempo ride.  Even then, it took steady effort to keep my HR at 150, which typically is pretty easy to do.

Now, today, I had remembered seeing some articles about suppressed HR, I did some Googling.



Unfortunately there are pretty much no studies in this area, but it is a commonly observed pattern, particularly around extreme endurance training.  The symptoms correlate to what I am seeing, but the cause does not.  These articles suggest prolonged endurance efforts as causing the issues, and mine was a short, highly intense effort.

In any case, I can say that my chest still doesn’t feel 100%.  I was supposed to do another interval training day today, but I’m going to take the day off and may not ride again until this weekend.

It is a bit of a downer to think that I may not be 100% for Saturday when I’ll be in my next XC race.  I was really looking forward to dry trails to see how I fared in more ideal conditions.  Heck, there’s even part of me that thinks it might be best to not race at all this weekend, but if I’m going to continue my series goal, I can’t really miss any of my ‘planned’ races.  I’m pretty tight on what races I can and can’t make and I feel missing Waco would put me at a disadvantage.

About TC

Long time mountain biker, recent mountain bike racer. Borderline unhealthy obsession with mountain biking, constantly drawn to hit the dirt and share my experiences.

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