Overtraining can be defined as excessive exercise resulting in extreme fatigue, illness, or injury. Excessive exercise may come in the form of insufficient rest, recovery, and/or nutrition. Overreaching refers to overtraining performed over a short duration and can be corrected with a just a few days of rest. It can be a vital component of a training program, when used to overwork the body and then taper to rebound in performance. When used correctly, overreaching can result in improved strength and power. However, when performed unintentionally, it can result in decreased performance and possible injury.
Overreaching can lead to overtraining syndrome, which is referred to as staleness, and may consist of a plateau or decrease in performance. This syndrome can last as long as 6 months, and the two types are sympathetic (elevated heart rate) and parasympathetic (decreased heart rate) overtraining syndrome. The most common mistake in a training program is the progression of either the volume or intensity at a rate that is above the individual’s capacity. There have been instances of mood disturbances associated with overtraining syndrome. These disturbances may persist as decreased vigor, motivation, confidence, concentration, and elevated levels of tension, depression, anger, fatigue, anxiety, and irritability.
Detraining is the cessation of anaerobic training (sprinting, resistance training) or extreme decrease in frequency, volume, intensity, or combination of the three. This can result in losses in performance and physiological adaptations associated with resistance training. Detraining can occur in as little as 2 weeks and potentially sooner in well-trained athletes. You may experience strength decreases and a loss in muscle mass as the detraining period progresses. Strength losses should return to previous levels, once the athlete has restarted their training program.
At this point, you should be at least a month into your training program for the Beast on the Bay. As with any new type of training, it’s easy to go all out and not allow ample time for recovery between sessions. It’s imperative to understand the difference between training, overtraining and detraining. Obviously, the goal in any training program is to focus on the variables associated with the event you’re training for and avoid anything that may deter your desired outcomes. A properly structured training program consists of appropriate levels of intensity (%max heart rate), load (weight), volume (sets and reps), and frequency (training days/week). The rate of progression in intensity throughout your training program will dictate whether or not you become over-trained.