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.