A lot of races are coming up and a few athletes may have the desire to do a few extra workouts, push themselves a little bit harder, or try to make up missed practices in hope of becoming the fastest they can be on race day. Unfortunately, all they are doing is undermining their training and setting their selves up for disaster. When athletes disregard their training plans and do an extra workout each week, or push their body past their endurance, strength, and speed limits, they increase the chances of injury, illness, burnout and overtraining.
I know with the desire to do well, it will lead to temptations to do more or work harder. You think about that swim practice you slept in or the day you missed a track practice because of work/happy hour/etc… and the day you only rode 60 instead of 110 because the rain and lighting prevented you from finishing it and you think I need do more to catch up. Well, you can’t! Missing that workout or cutting it short will not have any effect on your performance. Trying to make up for it could have an affect, but not in a good way.
Basically, when an athlete tries too hard to improve their performance and train beyond the body's ability to recover it is known as Overtraining.
Symptoms of Overtraining are:
Problems with sleep
Weakened immune system
Elevated resting Heart Rate
Inability to relax, twitchy, fidgety
Not meeting your workout goals
The intelligent athlete trains within the body’s limits and only pushes their threshold during their scheduled workouts. They follow their training plan and trust that it will get them in the best possible position for their ‘A’ race. I know that everyone has heard the tern ‘no pain, no gain’, but each workout has a purpose and not every workout needs to be max effort or max intensity.
When a workout becomes very hard, your speed decreases noticeably, or your technique changes, it is time to call it a day. If you’re unsure about it, ask a coach and let them know how you feel and what’s going on. It’s a coach’s job not only to motivate you, but to keep you from overtraining. The better you do at a race, the better you make us look.