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Posted: November 21, 2007
Over training is a concern and problem, particularly for triathletes. Most triathletes tend to be high achievers, and therefore doing nothing - for example a rest or recovery day - is unacceptable to us. But over training will make your workouts less effective and increase your chances for injury as a result of the imbalance your body will experience between training and rest. This can lead to decreased performance and nagging exhaustion. In triathlon training, for every fast workout there needs to be a slow workout that follows. Fitness growth results from the quality of your workouts combined with correct amount of recovery for restoration of the body and mind.
So how do you know you are over training and not just tired or lazy? Here are some common indicators of over training:
-Behavioral changes like apathy, lethargy, poor concentration
-Sleep pattern changes
-Craving for sugar
-Higher than normal morning heart rate
-Swollen lymph glands
While none of these items are sure indicators of over training, since abnormalities can exist in perfectly healthy athletes who are in top shape, you are looking for a number of indicators to confirm what you already suspect.
But the best option is to combat over training with smart training. Smart training requires constant assessment of your readiness to work out, as well as continuously listening to your body's daily messages. That is why keeping a daily log and noting how you feel during workouts will help you tell if you are over doing it. Unfortunately, there is no formula for knowing when you have done too much, as each of us come to the sport with our own fitness levels, stresses and demands even before the triathlon training begins. The best prevention is the constant use of rest and recovery. It is far better to be under-trained and eager than to be over-trained. A saying often used by coaches that serves as a good rule of thumb is, "When in doubt, leave it out."
Rest offers many benefits to your body. During sleep, the body releases growth hormone to repair damage from the daily training stress. You can also avoid overstraining through regular easy training days, days off from training, and recovery weeks.