Every serious athlete understands the importance of focused training.
It’s impossible to continue to improve at a high level of performance without placing your body under the stress of a challenging training program.
Unfortunately, even with close and careful coaching it’s possible to train too hard.
Keep in mind that the term “overtrained” doesn’t simply mean that an athlete had a particularly challenging workout and now needs a slightly longer recovery time.
Overtraining is more systemic, and builds up over time.
For athletes that are truly overtrained it generally takes more than a day or two of extra rest to get themselves back on track. There are a number of signs that an athlete has become overtrained.
Unable to Finish Workouts. Failure to adequately complete your workouts for several days in a row. Everyone experiences an off day of working out from time to time, but being unable to do your normal workouts for several consecutive days often signifies that your body is simply unable to keep up with the training demands you are asking of it.
Trouble Sleeping. A properly-trained athlete should have no trouble sleeping at night. (This is assuming, of course, that you are making a healthy lifestyle an important part of your overall training routine.) Overtraining can lead to your body being in constant stress, which sometimes manifests itself with a faster resting heart rate than you are normally used to. This can make it difficult for the overtrained athlete to fall asleep, and stay asleep throughout the night.
Getting Sick More Often. Nearly everyone gets sick sometimes, but the overtrained athlete usually has a compromised immune system, and is therefore much more likely to catch colds, flus and respiratory infections than they normally would. It’s important to recognize when overtraining brings on an illness, so that you can address the causes of overtraining instead of simply focusing on the cold or flu, and attributing the illness to your decreased workout performance.
Knowing When You're Overtrained – Pay Attention To Your Body
Avoiding overtraining is not terribly difficult, but the process does require constant attention.
First, you need to make sure that your workout program is a good fit for your goals, as well as your fitness level and abilities.
The best way to ensure you don’t become overtrained is to enlist professional assistance when setting up your workout routines, and not simply follow a schedule that you find in a book or on the Internet.
It’s also important to pay attention to your body, so that you can recognize the early signs of being overtrained.
If the symptoms of overtraining start to appear, don’t be afraid to take enough time to recover.
The amount of time may vary, and depending on the levels of your workouts, a complete break might not be necessary.
In any case, however, a significantly reduced training intensity probably will be necessary.
Finally, athletes at risk for overtraining can also improve the quality of their recovery time by spending time with an experienced trainer who has expertise working with high-level athletes.
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