Sometimes you don’t want to train or compete. But when “sometimes” becomes “most of the time,” it’s already far too late to salvage your performance. Lots of writers wax poetic about overtraining syndrome and suggest this feeling is it. I would rather be straight with you today.
Weekend Warriors DON’T overtrain.
But when you’re “overtrained” – now just an overused buzzword in strength & conditioning – you first notice a loss of enthusiasm. It can be overt, like when you dread sport practice or can’t feel the compulsion to get better that day.
However, more frequently, it is covert… You start sabotaging your own performance.
Personally, I love lifting, especially Olympic lifts and deadlifts. Even slightly too much of either and my sprint performance suffers. I know this and research supports it. (Reference: Zatsiorsky’s Science of Strength Training, ‘large strength loads negatively affect speed-skill qualities.’)
When I’ve “gone to the well” too many times or when I’ve spent too many weeks preparing for a particular competition, I start doing “extra” lifting. ‘Oh, 3×3 was so EASY today, maybe I’ll pull a few singles,’ or ‘Just a few cleans, to keep up my groove.’ Then, suddenly and out of no where, my track work is sub-par. In my head, the next line goes, ‘Oh well, just a bad day. I’ll crush it tomorrow.’
But there are other little signs. When I’m feeling drained on track work, I can logic myself into eating poorly – ‘I’ve earned this [these] burger[s] this week’ – or into neglecting my recovery – ‘I’m too tired to foam roll/ice bath/stretch tonight.’ I can even just pull the rug entirely from under my own feet by staying up late reading blog posts or watching “inspiring videos” when I know I need more sleep.
I said I’d be straight with you folks: for Weekend Warriors, overtraining isn’t real. Burnout, self-sabotage, and fear of SUCCESS are real.
As Dan John has quipped, “It worked so well, I stopped doing it.”
What is the best prevention for all this destructive behavior?
Nothing keeps you on track like a competitive training partner and a passionate coach.
Need some help?