12 Signs Your Are Overtraining and What to Do About It

October 2, 2014

IMG_4888Are you overtraining? Is there a way to tell when you are over-reaching versus over training?

Actually, there is!  There are three stages of overtraining and each stage is defined by certain levels of fatigue and recovery time.  But in a nutshell, there are symptoms cyclists can experience when they over-train.

– get a washed-out feeling
– feel tired
– get grumpy and experience sudden mood swings
– become irrational
– feel a lack of energy for other activities
– suffer from depression
– have a decreased appetite
– get headaches
– get an increased incidence of injuries
– have trouble sleeping
– feel a loss of enthusiasm for the sport
– experience a sudden drop in performance

What can you do about it?  First, there is the recognition that training for cycling events takes some serious dedication.  As a result, some cyclists are often tempted to exercise longer and harder so they can improve rapidly. They are motivated to get faster and stronger but without adequate rest and recovery.  Compounding this, most of us are juggling family commitments, a job, and trying to fit in some social activities. It just isn’t possible to keep balancing all these things.

Begin by asking yourself, Do You Know the Right Way to Train?  Having a strategic approach and structured training means every workout has a purpose.  Every step, pedal and stroke is being performed with the confidence it’s the right thing to do and performed the right way.  The post, The Right Way to Train,  shares four essential components of deliberate practice. Having a plan puts parameters on training so that you actually recover and avoid over training in the first place.  A component of having a plan is having the right bike parts, cycling accessories, and nutritional components in place to support your efforts.  All of these are functional structures that support the full training cycle.

You may also consider slowing down.  As the season changes, there are ways to make the most of Fall season training.  As the post, Smart Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your Late Season Training suggests, switch gears and include strength training and yoga.  Or, better yet, since daylight is short, opt for night rides which add a fresh approach to riding while also reducing intensity.

Ultimately, the best way to identify if you are over training is by listening to your body.  Remember, cycling and training is supposed to be fun! Enjoyable and refreshing!  Use the changes of the season to renew your body and spirit.

How the Fall Season Can Help You  Manage Over Reaching and Over Training 

September 11, 2014

IMG_2146At the beginning of the race season, enthusiasm and energy is high!  About the mid-season point, accumulated season fatigue catches up with most racers. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down and finally, by the end of the season, some find their motivation waning.  Oftentimes, throughout the season, cyclist find themselves over reaching and over training in their training.  What is the difference between the two and how can the Fall season help?

The term over-reaching was adopted by exercise scientists to describe the short-term overload that can be managed within a few days. However, over-reaching can develop into over-training (from which it can be more difficult to recover) if the athlete does not mitigate the factors that caused the over-reaching or fails to allocate proper recovery time.  The symptoms of the overtraining syndrome are difficult to define since there can be many and they are seldom exactly the same in any two overtrained athletes. According to Joe Friel,  physiologically, the only ones that are common are poor performance and fatigue.  However, there are a few other indicators.  The symptoms of overtraining are many and include the lack of motivation to race and train, inability to complete most workouts due to fatigue, loss in power, and general overall irritability.

So, How Long Does it Take to Recover From Overtraining? “Most athletes will recover from overtraining syndrome within 4-6 weeks up to 2-3 months. This will all depend on a few factors such as how overtrained you really are, genetics, and age. Determining how overtrained you are can only be answered by the amount of time it takes you to recover.”

The Fall season can be an opportunity to rest and recharge while still maintaining fitness on the bike.  The post, How Cyclists Can Manage the Fall Season, shares that this time of year can be very beneficial in letting you recharge the batteries and gain some mental freshness. Right now you’re setting the stage for your mental acuity going into next season. Ignoring mental fatigue right now can actually end up being detrimental to your coming season.

Also, as mentioned in our previous post, The 10 Essentials of Fall Cycling, having access to resources, tips, and a supportive environment makes it easier to enjoy all the benefits cycling has to offer.  Knowing where your body is as it relates to your training cycle, motivation, and energy levels can make a difference.  The Fall season can be a great opportunity to get new bike parts.  During the season, the focus is on riding; whereas during the Fall, there’s more time for mental wanderings and fun! Check out our daily closeouts and overstock items to spark renewed interest in your cycling program.

All and all, whether you have pushed your limits to the max or not, rest and a reduction in training volume is the only cure to getting back into the groove when it domes to motivation and excitement for training.  Use the Fall season to transition into a better 2015 cycling season.