Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Overtraining....OH PLEASE NO!

Conditioning requires a balance between overload and recovery. Too much overload and too little recovery may result in both physical and psychology symptoms of overtraining syndrome.
Overtraining is exactly like it sounds. Terrifying!! It happens when athletes training competitvely or for a specific event train beyond their body's ability to recover. Overtraining can result in decreased performance.

During a run earlier this week my entire body hurt. Hip flexers, tight calf muscles, heavy legs....the whole bit. I'm over halfway through my training and this week was completely discouraging. My mileage has been low and my pace slow. I've been hearing about this overtraining shenanigans and thought I should bite the bullet and check into it. Here's what i've learned....
  • Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
  • Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Sudden drop in performance
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Decreased Immunity 
  • Decrease in training capacity / intensity
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Depression
  • Loss of enthusiasm for the sport
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased incidence of injuries
  • A compulsive need to excercise
After skimming through the list I realized I'm facing about 8 of those symptoms. Still refusing to believe I am in fact physically "overtrained," I did realize I needed to take a step back and remember the purpose of my training. When I started in August I wanted to run my fastest race. I'm now realizing a full time job, moving to a new state, moving into a new house, making new friends and the overall adjustment of life is taking its toll and requires a lot more of my time and energy than I anticipated. I really love to be busy, but I've also realized I've been losing touch of some of my passions for fitness and clean eating amidst the 24- 7 schedule I've been maintaining. My training got to be a chore finishing was a relief when I could check it off the day's to-do list. I had to scold myself a bit and put things back into perspective. 

I love running, and clean eating, and racing, and Kara Goucher, and new running shoes, and hard trails, and cross training.







When did this become a burden? So I went to the grocery store and bought ingredients for green smoothies, laid my running clothes out for the next day, researched a new trail to explore, drank an extra tall glass of water and went to sleep excited for training again!! During my 5:30 a.m. weekly run sesh with cousin this morning, she reminded me that when you push through the tough stuff it makes you stronger. So here I am a month till Malibu and I'm back... game face on taking along with me some helpful hints I learned from my research on overtraining. 

1) Rest and Recover: If I find myself overtraining I need to reduce my exercise and allow myself a few days of rest. I need to get my full 8 hours of sleep in and allow my muscles a break. 
2) Hydrate: Drink plenty of water. I make myself drink at least a glass before every meal just to make sure I'm getting in that H2o. 
3) Get a sports massage: This helps athletes relax mentally and physically. This happens to be on my weekend list all in the name of "overtraining syndrome"....I'll take any excuse I can get for a massage. 
4) Begin cross training: When suffering from mental fatigue or overworking the leg muscles sometimes you just need a good spin sesh. Its hard for me to take a break out of the training plan and do this instead, but I must remember I'm still working my muscles and my body will thank me for it in the long run. 

So there it is. As ominous as it sounds overtraining is the real deal. Get your head back in the game, but also make sure to listen to your body. Don't make it a chore, and rest when you should! 

Lastly, for your pleasure and mine....I present to you a medley of inspiration to get out of your training slump! 

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