Why it’s important as an athlete to listen to your body.
Over-training or Lazy?
It’s important for you to listen to your body to know when to go, and to know when to rest. Not training because you don’t feel quite right or you’re a little run down, or you’re a little tired, can be very different to chronically starting to under perform, having trouble sleeping, not feeling hungry, having extra aches and pains and finding it really hard to recover. There’s definitely a difference between these two, and knowing the difference is really important. Training can get demanding, it can make you more tired than you are normally would be but there’s times where you just have to push through. Not pushing through and taking a rest too frequently can become quite damaging to your training because the importance of consistency in training is the key to longterm success. On the other hand though, being stoic, and avoiding some of these warning signs, can lead to something called over-training. You may have heard to this term before, and many different people have different opinions on what is classified as over-training. Over-training, it’s a real thing, and it’s probably more related to under recovering, being too chronically stressed and includes things external to training, such as the rest of life. A crazy life style outside of training can influence your ability to recover from hard training sessions. Stress is stress and we respond the same way physiologically, through cortisol and the adrenal pathway. The chronic stress that we get day to day can actually have an impact on the larger stresses that we’re trying to create in our training session.
Am I over-trained?
It’s important to identify some different symptoms or feelings of what over-training might look like;
- Feeling exhausted (not tired, we can all get a little tired from time to time, but feel exhausted).
- Underperforming at training, maybe you’re finding it hard to sprint as fast as you normally do, you’re getting tired quicker than what you normally do, your general sports performance is starting to deteriorate.
- Trouble sleeping, finding it hard to get to sleep and stay asleep, waking feeling really tired.
- Having trouble focusing and concetrating at work or during the day.
- Getting sick and run down.
It’s important to understand what this might lead to, if it truly is starting to become over-training, you’re now gonna run a higher risk of being injured. Under training though, can also increase your risk of getting injured. This is why it’s important to determine whether you’re just tired because you’re going through a hard training block, and you can push through, or if you’re deep in an over-trained state and you need a longer period to recover. Unfortunately the hard training you’ve been doing might not carry over that well, or result in any improvements because you’ve trained too hard, and a recovery period will only get you back to base line. This is why it’s important to plan and periodize your training so that you have periods of building up, getting to a peak, and then a slight little de-load so you can rest and recover, and then go again. That’s our kind of formula here, and it works really well from a long term sense – Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
It’s just a niggle
It’s valuable to know the difference between a niggle, and an actual injury. A niggle can kind of be defined as something that’s it’s just kind of there, and it feels a bit weird, but it warms up as you start to train, it goes away, and then the next day it’s not really too much of an issue, it’s kind of gone, it might appear once in every while, but really it’s not a strong lingering thing. Injury on the other hand, it starts to get worse, it might warm up but the next day it feels very prominent, maybe your performance is being impacted, that’s how you know it’s an injury. You can ususally work through niggles, if you’re going to train really hard and play a high level sport and competition, you’re probably going to get niggles from time to time which is perfectly normal. Injuries though, are something you want to pay attention to because they can seriously impact and impede your performance. Although, if you get onto them nice and early you can save yourself a lot of catastrophe. With this, I think you’ve got to identify the risk versus the reward. If you feel like you are capable, and the risk is actually quite low from doing a certain activity, and the reward is quite high, well then why not, why wouldn’t you do it? Vice versa, if the risk is really high and the reward is very low, then what’s the point? I think it comes back to this question that gets asked a lot around sporting clubs, and that’s, if it was the Grand Final what would you do?
The big take away from this one is knowing when to go, and when to rest. Get a balance, it’s going to be really good for your longevity as an athlete, othyerwise you might get caught up into a chronic injury cycle.