Are you presently feeling the blues? Are you puzzled by the fact that even if you’re currently training harder than before, it seems that your performance is dipping instead of improving? If you’re answers are yes, then you’re maybe suffering from a condition called OVERTRAINING. Overtraining occurs when an athlete continually trains at a level that is beyond the ability of the body to adapt due to a lack of recovery. This is a common phenomenon, even among elite athletes since as much as 60% develop this at least once in their training.
When to suspect you’re overtraining?
Some of the signs and symptoms associated with overtraining are as follows:
- generalized fatigue
- loss of motivation
- poor sleep
- poor appetite
- loss of confidence
- decrease in mood
- increase in your resting heart rate –> one of the earliest signs. This is best checked upon waking in the morning. If your HR is more than 20% of your usual resting HR, then you’re beginning to over train yourself.
- increase in your resting blood pressure
- weight loss
- chronic muscle soreness
- frequent illnesses and/or injuries
- decreasing performance – which is what we’re trying to avoid in the 1st place, and is the main reason why we overtrain
What to do when you’re overtraining?
REST. This is the only treatment for overtraining. The length of time needed to rest depends on the severity of your overtraining. Milder forms may need just a few days rest or a decrease in the intensity of your workouts. More severe forms may require weeks, sometimes even months of complete rest.
How to avoid overtraining?
- maintain a training log – allows you to monitor you’re resting heart rate and your daily workouts.
- avoid monotony in training – cross-train! Just make sure that the cross-training activity you do exercises other muscle groups not the same muscles that were just worked out.
- avoid punishing poor training/performances by further increasing the intensity of training
- alternate hard days with easy days – hard days are days when you do long runs or speed training
- EAT! – even when you’re trying to lose weight. Food is where our body gets the needed building blocks for growth and repair. Even Michael Phelps eats 12,000 calories/day!
- REST – this is just as important as working out
So if you feel your beginning to be overtrained, maybe its time to cross out that hard workout you’ve been planning and take it easy for awhile… you might even be surprised to realize that your performance improved when all you did was rest. Just remember, sabi nga ng matatanda –> “lahat ng sobra, masama” (roughly translated: everything in excess is bad) 😀