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OVER TRAINING Powered By Docstoc
What is the first thing you think of when you've just finished a bad race? Chances are that if your performance was less than satisfactory, you have already laid plans to increase your training load, fully intending to follow an even more rigorous schedule. That could be exactly opposite of the course action you should consider - because you might be overtrained. Overtraining is best described as a decrease work capacity resulting from an imbalance between training and rest. In the real world of cycling, that means crummy races are the best indicators of training gone awry. But when we have a bad race we usually train harder. We put in more miles or do more intervals, or both. It's a rare athlete that rests more when things are not going well. Of course poor races don't always result from too much training . You could be " over-living ". A 40 hour week job, two kids to raise, and other responsibilities all take there toll on our energy. Training just happens to be the thing we most easily control. You sure aren't going to call the boss to ask for a day off since you're on the edge of overtraining. Just imagine what that conversation would sound like. Nor will you tell the kids to get themselves to the scout meeting. Life goes on. Your only option is to train less and rest more.

How did this happen to me? Increase training loads eventually leading to overtraining. come from one or more of these factors: 1) Workouts too long ( excess duration ); 2) exertion too high, too often (excess intensity ); or 3) too many workouts in too little time ( excess frequency ). The most common cause I see in competitive cyclists is excess intensity. Road racing is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 80% aerobic and 20% anaerobic. Training should reflect that relationship. Placing too much emphasis on anaerobic training over the course of several weeks is a sure way to over-train. Overtraining Indicators The body responds to the overtraining state by issuing warnings in many forms ( see table: Overtraining indicators ). These reactions are the body's way of preventing death by making increases in stress volumes all but impossible. None of the items listed in the table are " sure " indicators. Many of these situations may even exist in perfectly healthy athletes who are in top shape. In dealing with overtraining there are no absolutes. You're looking for a preponderance of evidence to confirm what you are experiencing. If you've had the blood testing during winter preparation or base periods of training as you should do every year, you have a healthy baseline for later comparison. When you suspect overtraining during other periods of the season, it's a good idea to have your blood tested again. If your doctor is a athlete ( the best kind to have ), he or she should be able to help you decipher the results. If not, find a knowledgeable coach. (ask me) Stages of Overtraining There are three stages on the road to becoming overtrained. The first stage is " overload ." This is a part of normal process of increasing the training load beyond what you are use to in order to cause the body to adapt. If controlled it results in supercompensation an extreme adaptation brining high level of fitness. Overload must be followed by extending rest for this to happen. During this stage, it's typical to experience short- term fatigue, but generally you will feel great and may have outstanding race results. But also during this stage it's common to feel as if your body is invincible. You can do anything, if you want to. That belief brings on the next stage.

In the second stage, " overreaching, " you continue to train at the same abnormally high load levels, or even increase them for a period of two weeks or so. Extending the intensity-building period of training is common to overreaching. Now, for the first time, your performance noticeably decreases. Usually this happens in workouts before it shows up in races, where high motivation often pulls you through. Fatigue becomes longer lasting than in the overload stages, but with a few days of rest it is still reversible. The problem is that you may decide what's needed is harder training, which brings on the third stage. The third and final stage is full-blown overtraining syndrome. Fatigue is now chronic - it's always with you like a shadow. You're tired on awaking and throughout the day on the job or in the class, and yet have trouble sleeping normally at night. Your adrenaline glands are exhausted. The geography of overtraining I tell the cyclists I train that in order to get to the " Peak of Fitness " they must travel through the " Valley of Fatigue " dangerously close to the " Precipice of Overtraining. '' the idea is to go to the edge infrequently, and then back off. By " infrequently, " I mean once every four weeks or so. After three weeks of load increases you need to allow for recovery and adaptation. Some athletes, especially master and novices, may need top recover more frequently, perhaps after only two weeks. To do more is to fall over the edge. As the body enters the Valley of Fatigue, overtraining indicators rear there ugly heads. You may experience poor sleep quality, excess fatigue, or continued muscle soreness on a continuing basis. Once in the Valley, indicators may be minor in number and severity, but with too great an increase or too prolonged a period of stress you're on the edge of overtraining. At this point, you wisely reduce training and rest more. Rest brings adaptation marked by fitness increasing to a level exceeding the start level four weeks before. By repeating this process several times, you are eventually ready for a peak performance. If you fall over the edge into overtraining, the only option is rest. At the first sign of overtraining, take 48 hours of complete rest, and then try a brief workout including two or three jumps. If you're still not feeling peppy, take another 48 hours off and repeat the test ride. It could take five to eight weeks of this to fully beat back overtraining, at a great loss of fitness. The Art of Training The art of training is knowing where the Edge of Overtraining is. Highly motivated, young or novice cyclists are less likely to recognise having crossed the line than are season riders. That's why many cyclists Are better training under a coach. Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire formula for knowing when you have done too much and are starting to overreach. The best prevention is the judicious use of rest and recovery. Just as workouts must vary between hard easy, so must weeks and months vary. It's far better to be under-trained and eager than to be overtrained. When in doubt - leave it out. Overtraining indicators in cyclists Behavioural Apathy Lethargy Depression Physical Weight Change Morning Heart Rate Muscle Soreness

Poor Concentration Sleep Patterns Change Irritability Decreased Libido Clumsiness Increased Thirst Sluggishness Craving for Sugar

Swollen Lymph Glands Diarrhoea Injury Infection Amenorrhea Decreased Exercise Heart Rate Slow Healing Cuts

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