What is over training?
Over training is the result of too much training and not enough rest. It causes decreased performance, so the common response is to train even harder and more often exacerbating the problem further. If you are also working long hours, nurturing a hectic social life as well as trying to balance family commitments, the body may reach a point that it can no longer safely cope with the demands being placed upon it. As part of our survival mechanism, it gives warnings that we need to recognise as symptoms of over training.
• lethargy and decreased motivation to train
• poor concentration
• changes in sleep pattern
• poor performance
• increased susceptibility to injury and illness
Over training can be hard to predict and it is not just seen in elite cyclists with large training volumes. Those new to cycling, adding just a few hours of training on to a stressful job and a busy family life may also be susceptible.
There is no hard and fast way of knowing when you have done too much, but the best prevention of over training is the sensible use of recovery and rest as scheduled in the training planner.
Rest days and easier weeks, when training volume and intensity are reduced, are essential to allow recovery. Learn to listen to your body, as we are all different in our abilities to cope with training stress. If you are feeling overly tired or have more than 2 of the symptoms above, take an extra rest day. The longer that the symptoms of over training are allowed to persist, the more rest will be required. If ignored, these may become chronic problems preventing any further improvements in fitness for a considerable time. You should consult a doctor if these symptoms persist.