Believe it or not it’s very easy to find yourself in a state of overtraining or burnout.
If you’re training intensely for a goal or upcoming event and testing your limits of speed, skill and endurance there’s process taking place that can either affect you in a positive or negative way. If you have the correct balance of duration, frequency and intensity then its happy days.. but if you tend to get a little carried away and continue damaging your muscles without allowing the proper time to recovery then this is when it can have the opposite effect.
Picture this for a second..a tough workout triggers a response from our bodies inflammation system to repair any muscle damage, this is good, it makes our bodies more efficient at adapting to an increased training load. BUT if you continually stress your body with hard workouts before damage from the previous session has had time to recover this is when you may find yourself constantly tired, sore, weak, lack that spark that gets you to a workout and any improvements plateauing.
This is called overtraining.
Here you can take one of two options. If you’re quick to act you can easily pull yourself up and out of the trench you have dug and cut your training load for a week or so. This time allows your body to recovery and can actually result in a big boost to your fitness levels. Or you can continue on the low road in hope you recover through pushing yourself more (which usually doesn’t happen) which usually results in illness, injury and quite a few weeks off.
There are my 4 ways to avoid overtraining.
1// Plan recovery weeks or consecutive days of rest.
Sometimes one day just isn’t enough to allow our bodies to fully recovery. That doesn’t mean you have to do nothing, it just means you lower the threshold of sessions and just complete some recovery sessions like yoga, stretching, a long walk or swim to just keep things ticking over without your heart rate going through the roof or demanding huge effort from your tired muscles.
2// Cross train and alternate hard/moderate sessions
If you have just completed a tough long run, then go for a swim on the next session or alternate with low load bearing strength work. Try and separate your high lactate sessions with moderate intensity sessions that work on your strength and agility.
3// Gradually increase any sort of high intensity work
It’s tempting to just get out there and flog yourself and see how you pull up but not so wise. Risk overdoing things by progressively adding to a high intensity session each week. This could be done by starting at 20 reps and working up to 40 reps of an effort or 15 mins and working up to 1 hour over a month or so.
4// Tune into your body
Yep, listen to your body.. that gut feeling is pretty powerful and I have personally found comes with age. Our bodies are pretty darn good at letting us know something isn’t right and it will put up a hard fight if we keep banging away. Missing one session isn’t so bad in the bigger scheme of things if it means staying on top of things. Get on the same wave length of your body and this one is the best method of all!
5// Fuel your body correctly
The wrong fuel makes us splatter and splut.. you will invite illness and injury into your body if you don’t treat it with respect. Get cluey on the right way to eat and get busy with your meal planning and shopping. Make this a priority that you really can’t do without.
Do you have a habit of overtraining? How do you pull yourself out of a rut?
Pic via Competitor