Are you overtraining?

  • bkjhebert

    Posts: 40

    May 23, 2010 2:21 PM GMT
    I recently started having extreme headaches. I saw a Neurologist who performed a CAT scan, MRI and MRA. The tests were all negative (or normal). The Neurologist thought I might be overtraining. An article appeared in The Dallas Morning News this week that talked about overtraining. It listed nine signs that could indicate overtraining. They are:

    - Your heart rate is elevated when you wake up.
    - You have trouble sleeping.
    - You notice that in your normal workout, your legs are heavier. You don't seem to be recovering as well.
    - Your appetite has decreased.
    - You're developing more respiratory infections.
    - You have nagging injuries that don't seem to go away.
    - You experience mood swings.
    - Your self-esteem plummets.
    - You're depressed.

    The only one of these items that I have the slightest issue with is sleeping. Falling asleep is sometimes difficult, but my sleep, in general, is good.

    How do you strike a balance between healthy workouts and overtraining? I feel that if I cut back, I am letting the aging process get the best of me.
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    May 23, 2010 2:59 PM GMT
    Shit thanks for the post man Haha I'm gonna have to look into this
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    May 23, 2010 3:28 PM GMT
    "How do you strike a balance between healthy workouts and overtraining? I feel that if I cut back, I am letting the aging process get the best of me."

    I know the feeling - and I think it's one that all active athlete share, regardless of age.

    There a several things you can do:

    1) Plan in rest days. Some Olympic-level athletes take two a week, most take one. But a rest day needs to be a rest day.
    2) Plan recovery workouts: a hard workout or two followed by a light one that focuses on staying flexible, and just enough light exercise to flush out toxins such as lactic acid.
    3) Serious attention to warm-up and warm-down can stave off fatigue.
    4) Alternative forms of training for mental rest and refreshment.
    5) Periodization: in skiing we plan to peak in Jan/Feb, so the year leads up to that (peak hours in November, December at fewer hours and focus on speed), and then builds in rest in the spring. You can't just do the same thing all year long, in any sport.

    A more clinical way to gauge whether you're over-training is maintaining a record of morning heart rate.

    1) Take your pulse every morning after you wake up, but before you get going. Record it. Deviations of more than 5 beats per minute indicate illness of a need to rest.
    2) Even better: take your morning pulse while still lying down. Stand up, wait one minute, and take it again. Record the difference. Deviations of the difference will indicate a need to rest.

    Athletes are ambitious, and they want to train. The most common reason for poor performance or even drop-out is over-training, leading to burnout. The best athletes know how to rest, and I have seem world-class athletes take a week off during the season, then come back and take medals (a Norwegian who medaled at Salt Lake took the week before the Olympics off, and went golfing in palm Springs.)

    Athletic success is built on a tripod: training/technique/recovery. The last one is the hardest to remember and the most ignored.

    Torgny Mogren won all sorts of Olympic and World medals back in the 80's, and also the over-all World Cup (cross-county skiing). He had beautiful technique, but he trained less than most of the runners-up. I asked his service rep how he did it. The answer was simple "He rests better."

    As we used to tell the athletes: if you want to be a champion, treat yourself like a professional.

    Good luck!

    Nat


    Nat Brown taught and coached cross-country running and skiing for 16 years before joining the US Biathlon Team as wax technician. In 1989 he switched to the US Cross-Country team. He was the first American to take over technical services for a foreign team (Slovenia) and worked also for Germany and Sweden. He has coached at 3 Olympics and 14 World Championships, edited Nordic Update for 9 years and Cross-Country Skier for 2. He has written three books on skiing and training; the latest was The Complete Guide to Cross-Country Ski Preparation (Mountaineers Books) which has gone through two editions and a Russian translation. He spends as much time as he can at his ranch in British Columbia where he most recently hosted a pre-Olympic training camp for Slovenia.

  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    May 23, 2010 3:57 PM GMT
    Tazzari is right on. For my first Ironman I definitely overtrained (more is better, right??-- um, wrong), and ended up experiencing disrupted sleep patterns about 5 weeks before my race (right when I really needed quality sleep) and ended up coming down with a bronchitis shortly thereafter. Needless to say, it stopped my training in its tracks. Thanks to antibiotics, I recovered partially enough to at least do the race (and finish somewhat respectably), but it certainly wasn't the race I had envisioned for myself.

    The lesson: listen to your body. Don't feel guilty taking that second rest day each week if you need it. Otherwise you will just dig yourself into a hole and will set yourself up for injury or illness. Also, as you age, you'll have to train differently and be willing to adjust your goals and expectations.
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    May 23, 2010 4:18 PM GMT
    Overtraining's very easy, especially for endurance athletes. Even elite endurance athletes have several easy or recovery sessions a week, even during peak training. They also follow a concept called periodization which means that they build up, peak, and then they back off and give their body a chance to recover. That's something that your average athlete often isn't familiar with. More training over an extended period of time isn't always better.

    The symptoms you describe sound familiar, as I've had a tendency to overtrain in the past which has gotten me injury after injury. A good rule of thumb for me is that for every hard day running, I need at least two easy days. After that I need to listen to my body. If I'm straining to get through a workout, then I'm probably doing too much. If you're into body building, then I think a pretty good rule of thumb is to leave a day between each workout session.

    I've slowly come to grips with the fact that for Ryan Hall a recovery day may be 10 miles at a 6:30 pace. A recovery day for me is probably a long walk with the dogs or a very short, slow run.

    I hope you feel better after some recovery time..
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    May 23, 2010 5:51 PM GMT
    NC3Athlete: "(more is better, right??-- um, wrong)"

    I had to laugh. been there, done that. Over and over. Dad used to say that experience is recognizing a mistake the third time you make it; you'd think I'd learn by now... But, no!

    "If it's working, do it a lot harder and a lot more often" (Not) - my motto! icon_biggrin.gif

    We had one guy on the team we had to virtually lock in his room to make him rest. The one time he really did back off (but for the wrong reasons - still, it worked) - he pulled a 5th at Worlds.

    Nat
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    May 23, 2010 7:08 PM GMT
    From what I have researched so far, it seems that theres is a point of recovery between 48-72 hrs after your workout, and in order for muscle to grow you need that rest. You are probably overtraining if you go to the gym on 2nd workout and you couldn't lift more rep per set than your 1st workout. One sign of muscle recovery is the strength increase.
    So supposely if you weight train the same muscle group before you reach the recovery point, you are limiting your muscle gain and overtraining [However this does not apply to steroid user]. By the way this information is from MuscleHack.com, certainly not of my own invention.
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    May 23, 2010 7:09 PM GMT
    I've been a 'victim' of overtraining...and the number 1 culprit? Dehydration. Even with scheduled rest you can get dehydrated and really mess yourself up.
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    May 23, 2010 8:40 PM GMT
    bkjhebert said
    How do you strike a balance between healthy workouts and overtraining?
    For me, experience.
    I've already been through the overtraining phases and worked myself into oblivion several times. Now I can tell the warning signs, and take a week or two off when I recognize the first sign (which will vary by person...for me it's lack of recovery).
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    May 23, 2010 11:16 PM GMT
    Wow, thanks for posting this! That list is pretty much everything I've been going through for the last few weeks. Idk about the elevated heart rate, mainly because I haven't checked, but I've got just about all of those! Looks like I need to stop pushing myself so damn hard!
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    May 24, 2010 3:13 AM GMT
    I dont ever drink water when I workout (purposely) and I usually workout for like 3 to 4 hours any comments for me or insight?
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    May 24, 2010 4:04 AM GMT
    Nspyerf8 saidI dont ever drink water when I workout (purposely) and I usually workout for like 3 to 4 hours any comments for me or insight?
    Say goodbye to your kidneys.
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    May 24, 2010 6:06 AM GMT
    it's all a bit of a black art.
    there are signs to look for but they may also be caused by other factors than overtraining , so you have to use your common sense ... and a training log doesn't hurt.

    sometimes we mistake a few bad hair days for overtraining .
    however a sustained accumulation of various problems should catch your attention .

    some achievers are so obsessive compulsive they are totally stupid .
    they don't need recovery, they need ritalin. icon_rolleyes.gif
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    May 24, 2010 6:19 AM GMT
    QUOTE AUTHOR GOES HEREI dont ever drink water when I workout (purposely) and I usually workout for like 3 to 4 hours any comments for me or insight?


    With all due respect, that's medieval and stupid and misinformed. In heavy exercise you should drink every 15 minutes. A small percentage of water loss equals a huge percentage of energy loss. Iif you become dehydrated (which is a terrible strain on the heart (thickened blood) it can take 48 hours to fully re-hydrate.

    Whoever told you to do this is dangerously misinformed.

    Nat


    Nat Brown taught and coached cross-country running and skiing for 16 years before joining the US Biathlon Team as wax technician. In 1989 he switched to the US Cross-Country team. He was the first American to take over technical services for a foreign team (Slovenia) and worked also for Germany and Sweden. He has coached at 3 Olympics and 14 World Championships, edited Nordic Update for 9 years and Cross-Country Skier for 2. He has written three books on skiing and training; the latest was The Complete Guide to Cross-Country Ski Preparation (Mountaineers Books) which has gone through two editions and a Russian translation. He spends as much time as he can at his ranch in British Columbia where he most recently hosted a pre-Olympic training camp for Slovenia.
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    May 24, 2010 6:22 AM GMT
    Apparently I am over training, says my swim instructor. I've been taking part in the push challenge on RJ and my swim instructor told me to cut it out. He actually thought that I was lifting weights. I guess I am going to do the push ups three times a week and continue to swim 5 times a week and tone it down more if need be.
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    May 24, 2010 7:45 AM GMT
    I am an expert at over training (I used to be a triathlete: nuff said). Remember boys that it´s a chronic issue, not something you get from hitting it hard at the gym for a month. You need to learn to build in rest and recovery workouts which are really as important as the times you push yourself. We over train because we are disciplined and a bit fanatical and we have to realise that the discipline that makes us put in 20 hour weeks also needs to be exercised so that we put in less time. I remember after my triathlon time that anything that took less than an hour I considered a rest day.... not clever. I am finally finding the balance for me with pilates training and the effects on how I feel and look have been astounding.

    This is actually related to this thread

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/957097
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    May 24, 2010 1:35 PM GMT
    I overtrain on occasion. It's a viscious cycle. I exercise too much, so I need to take time off to recover. Then I feel guilty and exercise too much when I go back.... icon_rolleyes.gif
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    May 24, 2010 2:22 PM GMT
    Thanks