Whether you are a top age group triathlete, bodybuilder, golfer or runner, overtraining can be a plague to your progress.
Due to many people’s highly competitive drive, they often ignore the signs of overtraining. This often leads to injury and dissatisfaction with one’s progress.
If you’re a runner, you know the 10% rule. To stay injury free, it is best to only increase your mileage by 10% per week. When I was in full swing training, I would do 3 weeks of a hard build followed by one very easy recovery week. A week would look like this…
Week #1: 50 miles, Week #2: 55 miles, Week #3: 60 miles, Week #4: 30 mile recovery week
Then I would slowly build again for 3 weeks and recover for 1 week.
This can be used for triathlon, cycling, swimming, weight lifting, ultra running and too many other sports to count.
Allow yourself to rest!
By allowing your body proper rest, you are making it stronger. Our bodies repair themselves from the onslaught of training on rest days. Progress is not made on training days. Remember that! It doesn’t matter how fast you are, if you constantly hammer away at your body, it will break down.
Signs of overtraining include an elevated heart rate upon waking, lack of interest in the activity, sore throat upon waking, weight loss, fatigue, crankiness, persistent muscle soreness, depression, insomnia and increased incidence of injuries.
Injuries often occur from poor form. Muscle soreness or general lethargy can change your gait or stride. This leads to over compensating and injury. It can become a vicious cycle. It is better to back off before the injury! Injuries take months to heal properly and that’s a long time to be away from a sport that you love.
It is key that you become aware of your body and the symptoms of overtraining. There are now gadgets you can buy that will monitor some of these things for you. The Whoop watch is one. It monitors sleep, activity, heart rate, body temperature, etc to sense overtraining.
How to properly recover from overtraining
If you find you are suffering from any of these symptoms, my recommendation would be to back off. Start with a day or two and see how you feel. When your resting heart rate returns to normal, it should be fine to resume training. While you’re resting, you need to give your body the fuel it needs to rebuild what you’ve torn down in intensive training. Protein, whole nutrient dense foods (veggies & fruit) and healthy fats (olive oil, avocado oil) are key. You can be a vegan and an ultra endurance athlete. Rich Roll is an amazing example of this. He suffers no ill effects from eating a vegan diet, in fact his lean stature and low body weight make him light on his feet and super fast.
You also need to make sure you’re eating enough calories to sustain your training. My suggestion would be do not restrict your eating during intensive phases of training. It will hamper your performance, slow recovery time and make training tedious and painful. When you don’t have the fuel, your body burns muscle which is the last thing you want. We work hard for our muscle especially as we age.
If despite your best efforts, you get injured, In and Out Express Care is here to help! We specialize in non surgical orthopedics. Our goal is to get you back at it as quickly as possible with minimally invasive treatments. The human body is an amazing thing! Given enough time, often it can heal itself.