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Cyclists who fail to adapt to the stress of sustained, long-term, high-intensity training can push themselves into overtraining.
The condition also may have a rapid onset if high-intensity training takes place too early in the training cycle before athletes have had time to adapt to the stress of training.
In the late 1980s, researcher Dave Costill, Ph.D., from the Human Performance Lab at Ball State University, showed that as few as 10 days of increased training might result in overreaching in some athletes. Lack of recovery also may contribute to overtraining.
The following is an excellent video where Graeme from Cyclo-core talks about overload training vs. over-training, it’s really worth watching it:
THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD TRAINING PROGRAM
The chief cause of overtraining, however, is a poorly conceived training program. For example, rapid increases in training volume and intensity and protracted schedules of high-volume training, along with inadequate recovery and rest, will put many athletes at risk of developing overtraining.
Failing to consider other stresses that the cyclist is experiencing also increases the risk. But even the most carefully planned training program can cause problems with some cyclists.
Researches have shown that standardized assessments of training and secondary sources of stress may not be useful in predicting the risk of staleness in groups or teams. This variability underscores the importance of regarding your personal limitation for increases in volume and intensity of training.
Overtraining is a complex condition whose primary cause is prolonged overload training without proper recovery. Other types of stress are competition-related, monotony and tedium, medical conditions, diet, environment, psychosocial issues, and travel can compound the stress of training and contribute to overtraining.
THE MAIN FEATURE OF OVERTRAINING
The primary feature of overtraining is an unexpected drop in performance that cannot be attributed to factors such as illness or injury. This drop-off may be preceded by a period when performance is maintained but at a greater cost.
Other symptoms include:
- mood disturbances (depression, anger, anxiety),
- general fatigue and
- malaise associated with a loss of energy and vigor,
- and feelings of heaviness in the limbs.
Changes in sleep patterns and appetite also have been commonly noted and may be useful in diagnosing overtraining.
It is imperative to identify overtraining at its early stages when short-term interventions may still be effective. You could be on your way to a serious state of exhaustion unless you heed the warning signs.
HOW CAN YOU KEEP FROM BECOMING A VICTIM OF OVERTRAINING?
On the whole, your body will tell you what it needs. During the evening after a 100-mile ride, you may feel like eating everything in sight. But sometimes a very hard effort may depress your appetite, so you need to be thoughtful about your training and eating.
If you’ve been having problems that feel like overtraining, make sure you’re eating enough carbohydrates. If the average seems about right, make sure you match your intake, day by day, to your training load. Your car wonít run on empty, nor will your body. Put those carbohydrates back in your muscles at the same rate you use them.
THE FINAL SPIN
Overtraining is an individual. A program that’s just right for your partner may be too much for you. Effective training means knowing how to manage your body’s ability to recover and adapt.
It represents poor management. You can train hard and not become overtrained if you build in breaks between hard workouts to let your body recover.
The best prevention?
- Know yourself.
- Pay attention to your body’s signals.
- Keep a detailed training log so that you can learn from your previous responses.
- Use a proper tapering program before big races to rebuild energy stores before big events.
By stepping back and analyzing what you’ve done, you can avoid the pitfalls of overtraining. Above image credit flickr