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2013-06-10 6:45 PM

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Subject: Overtraining
I'm pretty sure I'm substantially overtrained and I'm looking for advice on how to recover. How do I get my energy back without losing too much fitness or cutting the activities I enjoy? What is an appropriate amount of exercise during a recovery period? How should I adjust my nutrition? I'm getting 9+ hours of sleep a night.

I'm not even explicitly training for triathlon right now (which is why I have no logs here), but I lead a very active lifestyle: bike commuting a steep 1:45 round trip about 4 days a week, running about 20 miles a week, 3-5 hours of Brazilian jiu jitsu (high intensity but no legs), 2-3 hours of rock climbing, and a steep all-day hike every other week. I did IMCDA last summer and overtrained substantially in the run-up to that but rested enough to have a good race, took about a month real light, then got into the routine I describe above. I think I'm overtrained because I feel tired all the time, my legs have no pop, and my running speeds have gone way down. The idea of doing intervals seems ludicrous and I only do easy workouts. My waking HR seems normal-ish, though it's been so long since I took a rested baseline that I don't really know.

I can't cut the hiking or climbing until August (I'm in a climbing class) and would prefer not to completely cut bike commuting or BJJ, but I could reduce them. I'm happy to cut running altogether but I have a marathon on 9/29 so I do need to enough that I don't die (not trying to set any records, just have fun).

Any pointers? Thanks in advance for the help!


2013-06-10 9:54 PM
in reply to: DaveSeattle

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Subject: RE: Overtraining

Have you had your iron checked?  Do you feel like your nutrition is adequate?

Your sleep sounds good, but your schedule does sound pretty intense. 

I had an "overreaching" period late this winter combined with some really low iron, and my azz was dragging.  DRAGGING.  I felt loopy, my run times were way slow (like over 1:30mpm slower over a 10 mile run), and my legs felt like logs.  I was even having trouble word-finding.  It was sort of like being underwater. 

I had to full stop on the training for two weeks, and then I brought only swimming in for two weeks, then I added occasional light running.  I slowly increased my running frequency, but worked to keep the intensity low.  After the initial diagnosis, it took 6 weeks for me to start adding any biking back again, and then it was just 1-2 times a week for 45-60 min on the trainer.  This happened at the end of February, and I'm still not back to the running speed I had in January.  Really, it takes some time.

If you really feel like you are in the overreaching/over training zone, you need to back it down, both in total hours of training and the intensity.  It's really, really hard, and you will feel like you're losing some fitness--because you are--but your fitness is only going to continue to go down, and you're going to continue to under-perform, if you don't back off now and rest up.

Take care of yourself:

2013-06-11 3:21 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Overtraining
How long have you felt tired/fatigued and unable to perform?

For most amateur athletes it's really hard to become overtrained due to excessive workout. It is quite normal to have a week now and then where you feel down, unmotivated, tired, fatigued, don't perform well etc. but that should not be confused with overtraining. Living a normal live simply does not give you enough time, even if you don't recover fully after every workout, over a week you'll normally recover.

Anyway, generally the cure for overtraining is rest. How much rest depends on how severe the overtraining. A rest day, a weekend, or a week or even more. It's easy to believe that you'll loose fitness with so much rest, sure some is lost, but you need the rest to rebuild and recover and get back on track improving your performance. When you're in a state of overtraining it's counterproductive to continue training.

Other factors can get you in a state of overtraining when combined with intense workouts: Poor diet, lack of rest, stress, etc.

A poor diet can result in a calorie deficit or protein deficit. This can happen if you're on a weight loss program, or your lifestyle means you have to cut some corners and resort to processed food, fast food, takeaway etc. Vegetarians can also be in protein deficit, or more specifically deficit in some essential amino acids. You need enough carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen stores, and you need enough protein to rebuild muscle. And don't rely on the thumb rules, they're meant for the average person, not the athlete. You likely need more.

Review your diet: Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, don't cook vegetables too long or you'll destroy the vitamins. Poultry is a good and cheap source of protein. Bananas and oranges are great fruits, oranges came long before the term "superfruit" but actually deserves the label.

BR

Edited by erik.norgaard 2013-06-11 3:27 AM
2013-06-11 5:18 AM
in reply to: DaveSeattle

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Subject: RE: Overtraining
Go to a doctor for a checkup.

From the hip guess I don't think it's overtraining, but trying to pin down what it is is really just guessing over a forum.
2013-06-11 6:16 AM
in reply to: Leegoocrap

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Subject: RE: Overtraining

Originally posted by Leegoocrap Go to a doctor for a checkup. From the hip guess I don't think it's overtraining, but trying to pin down what it is is really just guessing over a forum.

I agree.

What you're describing doesn't sound like the clinical definition of overtraining.  It sounds like you're a little run down (under-recovered) or, as was mentioned in another post, possibly something else such as low iron.  Visit your doctor for a checkup.

If we're right, that's good news, because overtraining takes months to recover, but simply being under-recovered or having a deficiency can be fixed much quicker.

Good luck!

 

2013-06-11 9:47 AM
in reply to: DaveSeattle

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Subject: RE: Overtraining
overtraining defined excessive frequency, volume, or intensity of training, resulting in fatique. (which is also caused by lack of proper rest and recovery).

I have to remember this with PT clients, to keep them in check.

It seems that you are close. You do, do a lot.. where is the rest day? rest days are just as important as workout days. The body needs a chance to health from constant beatings.

from your activity level, your intake of nutrition should be moderately high. given the HIM plans, 3500+ per day. but first check your frequency of eating. plan your meals for exercise.. If you have long or hard workouts planned, ensure you meals prior are calorie loaded.

Ex. evening workout.. (intense workout) at 1700.. nice breakfast, snack, big lunch, snack, (pre workout snack if needed) , workout, post workout protein replenishment (45 min window post workout for optimal absorption), small dinner.

logging your workouts is a good way to keep on training.. its a visual diagram to whats going. I tell my clients to journal.. its a way to keep track.

for every intense day of exercise there should be a recovery day (light training).


2013-06-12 12:58 PM
in reply to: momo

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Subject: RE: Overtraining
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions! I've felt this way for months, and it doesn't get better with a light week (though "light" is still pretty heavy for me). The problem is that this is just my regular schedule, not a workout plan, so it doesn't have rest days or weeks built in. To rest I have to skip doing the things I love, and to a certain extent I'm committed to (classes, lifestyle designed around bike commuting). I guess I should just allocate one week a month to not working out... That will suck.

Iron is a good suggestion - I'll start supplementing and see if it helps. Cheaper than getting it checked . I eat very little red meat and don't take vitamins so it's a strong possibility. Otherwise my nutrition is pretty good, though I'm running a slight caloric deficit to lose some fat. Nothing too aggressive - a few hundred calories a day - and I track intake to try to hit that target.

What kind of doctor do you go to to talk about this sort of thing? I don't think my GP is going to have a clue.
2013-06-12 1:26 PM
in reply to: DaveSeattle

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Subject: RE: Overtraining
Originally posted by DaveSeattle

Iron is a good suggestion - I'll start supplementing and see if it helps. Cheaper than getting it checked


This is not a good idea. Iron is not something to mess with. Having too much is not a good thing either.

You should be able to google some sports friendly docs in your area. Also might post on your state board in the forums and find some references.

I know getting checked out sucks, but it's really the right course of action. Hope everything is good!
2013-06-12 1:48 PM
in reply to: Leegoocrap

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Subject: RE: Overtraining
Good point. I log my food so I'll monitor it over a few days to see if I'm obviously iron deficient. If not, then I'll go in and get it checked.
2013-06-12 2:40 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Overtraining

Dude, if there is any doubt you might be deficient, cough up the coin and get your blood tested.  I second the recommendation of finding a sports med doc, if possible.  Though low iron is not as common in men as it is in women, it is still a possibility, especially if you're doing a lot of running or other impact work.

I eat incredibly clean.  Almost all of my food is organic, much of which I grow on my farm.  I eat a ton of dark leafy greens, red meat 4-5 times a week, and am very careful about my overall nutrition.  I still tested very low for iron, and continue to require a supplement. You can't tell by just tracking your diet.

And Leego is right, too much can be just as bad, or worse, than too little.  Don't just start taking a supplement.



Edited by switch 2013-06-12 2:40 PM
2013-06-12 2:59 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Overtraining



I can understand your reluctance to see a Dr if you do not have health insurance. If that is the case are there clinics or urgent care you can visist for a blood test? Don't just assume if you are feeling fatigued it means you are low on iron. Too much iron is really bad. In general women need more iron then men due to mentration. Your testosterone levels will also effect how fatigued you feel and could just as easily be the culprit but you won't know until a blood test is done. If you do have insurance most plans include a yearly checkup. One of the things the Dr will do is a blood panel to check the basics.




Edited by LPJmom 2013-06-12 3:00 PM


2013-06-12 4:18 PM
in reply to: LPJmom

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Subject: RE: Overtraining
I have HSA health insurance, so I have money in a dedicated account for health expenses, but it's still money. But my actual hesitation is time. By the time I can actually make it to the doctor I'll know if my dietary intake is sufficient. I'm also not convinced that a doctor is really going to be that helpful beyond reading my blood panel results.

Really I should probably just take a couple weeks off since I haven't had a week off in months if not years. I just love all my activities too much .
2013-06-12 4:22 PM
in reply to: DaveSeattle

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Subject: RE: Overtraining
if you're going to take a few weeks off anyways... good time to schedule a dr. appointment
2013-06-12 4:54 PM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: Overtraining
Originally posted by switch

Have you had your iron checked? 





Iron deficiency is mostly a problem for women and vegetarians, if neither is the case I think you can probably rule that out.

Anyway, I think it is better to review your diet and ensure you get plenty of healthy sources of vitamins and minerals.

If you haven't ever done it, keep a diary of what you eat over the course of a few weeks. Yes, this implies weighing everything, noting everything down, and preferably prepare every meal so you know exactly what's in. After a few weeks you'll have a good idea what you actually eat.
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