Signs of overtraining
By Matt Ho APAM
With the Melbourne Marathon just 3 short months away, along with a raft of other major sporting events, there are a lot of amateur athletes increasing their training volumes and intensity. This is easier said than done, as a slight miscalculation in training load can lead to injuries, excessive fatigue and, worse case scenario, missing the start line altogether. This is called overtraining, and is usually caused by either:
-A training volume/intensity that is too high for the body
-Reduced recovery time between sessions
-Reduced caloric intake versus output
So here are some key signals to look out for to ensure you are not overtraining:
Training too much for your body’s capabilities, as well as not dedicating enough time to recovery can lead to injuries. This could be the result of excessive load on connective tissues or joints, or training through sprains and strains. If you have joint or muscular pain that is sharp or lasts more than a day, you may need to adjust your training schedule and see a health professional. These small injuries can compound over time and become chronic, leading to increased pain and elongated recovery time.
Loss of Appetite
The physiological exhaustion of overtraining can lead to appetite suppression.
Through physiological and psychological fatigue, training performance can be reduced. This is a good indicator of overtraining, and a reduction in intensity or volume may be required.
Higher Perceived Exertion
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is used as a measure of training intensity. If your RPE for a given pace is too high, this may indicate you are overtrained.
Overproduction of stress hormones caused by overtraining may lead to poor sleep quality. This can negatively affect recovery and compound the overtraining syndrome.
Some tiredness is expected when training hard. But when this level of fatigue starts affecting the athlete’s day to day physical activity, or is carried through to the next session, this becomes a problem and is a sign of overtraining.
If you recognise any of these signs ensure you see a health professional (preferably one familiar with your sport) and work to produce a proper, periodised and progressive training plan. This will ensure you’ll be ready to go come event day!