When you start training and embracing the grind you can get yourself into a mindset where you literally cannot wait to train. You put in the extra work, cut no corners with your diet, and the results soon start to speak for themselves. The harder you work the more you seem to get out of it, but then one day you just have nothing left. It feels like you’re running through waist deep water.
Welcome to the world of overtraining. Now let’s take a look at how you can avoid it once and for all.
What is overtraining?
When you finish working out your body is full of endorphins that make you feel amazing. You’ll feel that you can do anything and take on the world. But right at that moment that’s the last thing you should be contemplating.
Your muscles are broken down, your energy stores are depleted, and you could do with rehydrating as soon as possible. If you want to get the most out of training you need to optimise the rest you get in between sessions. This is the part of the day when you actually get stronger. Overtraining occurs when you don’t give your body the chance to adapt to the demands of the training that you’ve placed on it. It’s basically another term for burnout.
If you’re a long way down on your personal bests then this is a strong indicator of overtraining. Loss of appetite, mood changes, difficulty sleeping, and niggling injuries are all common symptoms. Eventually what will happen is that your energy levels will become so low that you’ll either sustain an injury, or be confined to bed for a period of time with fatigue.
Tapering weeks prevent overtraining
The idea of taking a week off may be anathema to you, and in some ways that’s good because it shows how committed you are to getting fit and healthy. At the same time you need to be able to take your foot off the accelerator from time to time so that you can let your body rest.
This can be a hard thing to do psychologically, but it’s what will make all the difference to your training in the long run. Just as you need to eat clean to get the most out of each session, you need to rest correctly. Tapering your output over the course of a week is a great way to keep training whilst giving your body the rest it needs.
Staying motivated whilst tapering
A great way to keep your motivation up is to really throw yourself into healthy eating. Learn to cook a whole host of new delicious meals so that you have something else to focus on besides training.
You can also adapt your training and throw in a little bit of cross training. If you’re a seasoned runner then why not hit the pool for a week, and limit yourself to a couple of short jogs? This will keep your legs ticking over, give your joints a chance to heal from the repeated impact, and get your blood pumping in the pool. You never know, you might enjoy your new training regimen so much that you add some of it to your typical weekly routine!