(BeWellBuzz) When it comes to getting fit or training for a marathon, most of us want to give it our all and work harder and longer to obtain optimal results. We strive to become like one of our favorite sportspersons. But there’s a very thin line between training and overtraining.
There is no doubt that world renowned athletes are packed with talent, but to hone that talent, athletes work tirelessly to produce the desired results and to better their performance for themselves as much as for their fans. Now this is a huge responsibility for any person. Their professional career is defined by mere numbers. What many fail to see is the amount of sweat and blood that these professionals put into their extensive training programs to make those numbers mean something phenomenal!
Talent becomes interest. Interest becomes practice. Practice becomes profession. Profession becomes passion. Unfortunately, when passion becomes an addiction, the star may slowly lose its lustre. This diminished performance by athletes is usually because of a syndrome called Overtraining.
What Is Overtraining?
Overtraining is a syndrome where an athlete trains more than required to a point where it affects the performance. This happens more often than you think. When training becomes an obsession, an athlete forgets to respect his/her body for its capacity. Increased duration and frequency of training does not give the body enough time to relax and recuperate. Consequently, the muscles begin to weaken and eventually the athletes’ performance declines.
Why Do Athletes Overtrain?
Athletes are always obsessed about getting more power and better physique because of which they train more and more. According to Ashley Crossman (certified RRCA running coach and ACE personal trainer) at Active.com, the quick increase in duration and frequency of training without the necessary rest causes overtraining. Runners who run too many races or suddenly increase their mileage cause a decline in their speed and stamina.
How To Know When An Athlete Over Trains?
There is no simple way to diagnose overtraining. One of the common symptoms is fatigue, but most athletes usually dismiss this because it is a direct consequence of training. Unfortunately, there is no blood test or any direct implication to warn the athlete. There are, however, symptoms that can consciously be observed.
Symptoms Of Overtraining:
- Muscle weakness and tightness
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Insomnia and restlessness
- Increased rate of injuries due to over use of muscles
- Nausea and decreased appetite
- Body weight loss
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Persistent upper respiratory tract infections
- Decreased strength and coordination
- Menstrual pattern alterations
- Allergic reactions
How Can Athletes Recover From Overtraining?
There is no easy way to say this but recovery is a rather difficult process. Not impossible but difficult. It depends on how early they have realised that they need it. The earlier they observe a performance decline due to overtraining, the better.
- The most important step to recovery is that the athlete must accept that he/she has over done it. Only then will he/she willingly take appropriate steps to prevent a recurrence.
- The next step is to rest! The body must recuperate from the loss of relaxation and must be given ample time to rejuvenate.
- Meditation can help the mind to calm down while the body relaxes. It helps the athlete to relieve the obsession from training.
Although recovery may be a painstaking process, overtraining can be quite easily prevented! So all you action heroes out there do not fret! Now, no two athletes are the same in terms of speed, strength and stress threshold.
- According to Patrick Ward (Athletic development, sports preparation and performance coach and licensed massage therapist), “having a training journal and a periodic training program is a great way to ensure that you prevent overtraining“.
- Coaches who tend to several athletes at a time have employed the use of the RPE (Rate of perceived exertion) to make sure their athletes do not over train.
- And don’t forget about appropriate nutrition! It’s the most important piece that will speed up your recovery process.
Once athletes begin to recover, they can slowly exercise their muscles to restore its strength.
Now how does one know that he/she has recovered? There is a method called heart rate test, developed by Heikki Rusko. According to this technique, a few simple procedures can help determine recovery.
- Preferably in the morning, one must lie down and rest for ten minutes and at the end of this time, the number of heart beats per minute is recorded
- Then after 15 seconds, the second recording is determined.
- Similarly at the end of 90 and 120 seconds, the third and fourth heart rates respectively, are recorded.
An athlete who is properly rested will have consistent heart rates at these intervals.
For All Athletes – We know how good you are, and it’s time you know that too! Give your body the rest it deserves, so that we can be inspired by your talents!