High RPE on "Easy" Rides

Hey there!

I have been dealing with this for a while and can’t really come up with any explanations. I’m really into the whole polarized model and keeping easy rides easy, however after 1,5-2h there is a big tiredness creeping into my legs. Even though I have accumulated quite some hours in Z1-2 (in a 5 Zone model) and I tried to do 1 long ride (3-5h) per week, this does not change much. The tiredness also carries over into the next days and they seem to give me heavier legs then intense interval sessions. I keep the intensity for those rides around 70% of max HR and around 60-65% of FTP, going easier doesn’t seem to change much, sometimes it even feels better to go harder for some reason. I can’t make any sense of that, is there any physiological explanation or what could I do to improve that training?
For my background, I was racing until the U23 category then had a break for 10 years and have been training steadily again for the last 3 years, building up slowly.

give it a try 10@% lower on both metrics.
it also might be ‘long’ if your weekly volume is below 3 hours.

I do like 8-10h per week so a decent volume I think. I also tried going lower but it doesn’t seem to help much :thinking:

are you well hydrated before and thruoghout the session?

I’ve been also thinking about it…I’m based in germany so it was pretty cold here in the last months, but I drink probably around 1,5l in those longer rides, maybe not enough? I’m definitely eating plenty.

You can compare your body weight prior to the training and after. Substract the fluid from your post-workout weight to determine the fluid loss you did not compensate for.
Try to drink ahead of the session and during the session.
But there could be other reasons than hydration. Let’s find out.

I will do that tomorrow and will report, thanks!
From my rudimentary physiological understanding I also had the theory that my slow twitch fibers just tire pretty fast. Because when I spice up longer rides with some higher intensities (push over small hills e.g.) they tend to feel less tiring for some reason. Maybe due to different muscle recruitment? Or the generated lactate can be used as further fueling?

I cant explain that. Type II should be recruited in addition to Type I in spiced up long rides.

You describe the feeling as heavy, not sore / DOMS. Heavy seems more related to energy/hydration/electolytes.

Okay, makes sense!
I checked the drink mix I use and it does contain an electrolyte mix (alongside a glucose-fructose mix and BCAAs). Usually I use a higher concentrated bottle (700ml) plus a bottle of water.
I will try to use two 900ml bottles on my ride today and see if that helps

so I did a 2h ride today, took it very easy (IF was .48 and HR 60-65% of HRmax) and again tiredness was creeping in after 1,5h. I fueled more than properly, took in plenty of fluids (with also meant multiple nature breaks) and also electrolytes and still felt immense tiredness after this ride which should be as easy as it gets…

When was your last 2 or more days off?

Feels to me that you are over fatigued, and need some recovery time. How often do you have recovery weeks / days off / cut your volume back?

might be! I’m into the second week of a 3 week block but I have been ramping up volume which seems to wear on me. I will try to improve recovery.
Attached is my training time since winter, should I reduce volume more during recovery weeks?

What are we looking at? (What is the difference between light and dark green?)

it’s time in zone. green is z1+2 (in a 5 zone model), yellow z3+4 in this case and red z5.
I do not know what is the difference between light and dark green actually!

Your z1+2 increase per week breaks with the 5-10% rule. Probably to ambitious.

Check your rest HR and compare it to your rest HR after 2 days of rest (“true rest hr”)
If your rest hr is above ‘true rest’+10, you might need, your ramp up is too large.

I regularly track rest HR and HRV and they didn’t seem to show any signs of fatigue, but I took the last 2 days off and will check them tomorrow morning!
I will try to take a more cautious approach in raising the volume for the next weeks

Great to hear you jump so eagerly on all the things to analyse.

Night rest HR is also depend on the time of training. My Rest HR is ‘bad’ if I train in the evening. The ideal was is to always measure ‘at the same amount of time after training’, and same condition (sleep).

I’ve also noticed that. I have a Polar Vantage M that gives a “Nightly Recharge” Rating which is based on HRV and avg HR during the first 4h of sleep which can be impacted by late exercise. I still like to look at the development throughout the night when I have a different feeling than what it is showing me.

Some of the first things that come to my mind are:

  1. Are you consuming enough carbs during your rides?
  2. are you consuming enough carbs & protein outside of your rides?
  3. Are you getting enough sleep?
  4. What levels of stress are in your life outside of riding?

The first two (under eating) especially can cause fatigue and muscle soreness if inadequate. If you are eating enough, sleeping enough and are not overly burdened by stress, then my guess is that you need some time off the bike. If 4-5 days off of the bike doesn’t help then start to look into other underlying factors such as iron/hemoglobin, vitamin deficiencies etc.