I, more than most, am always preaching about the dangers of overtraining; the physical and mental state of fatigue that results from excessive exercise and insufficient recovery over an extended period of time. Overtraining (OT for purposes of this blog) is sneaky as most never know they have entered this dark cave. They push onward, some pondering the degradation of speed and strength but hoping more training is the answer they seek and some not even realizing performance has declined. Sadly, a good percentage of the fitness population lives in this realm and most aren’t mentally strong enough to take the rest they need and emerge with a renewed vigor in their training.
I mention OT because one of the reasons it is so common is that the line between overreaching (OR) and OT is so thin. Upon reaching a mature training age (the time in which one has been training with purpose and intensity) one must become more invested in how they are training. In the beginning just getting moving was enough to produce results, feel sore, and most importantly gain the sense of self-worth so many are seeking. It is this last piece that causes the most harm. Seeking the “high” of the early training days, the fitness faithful do more, sweat more, try more and recover less. Never do they realize that as training changes so too must recovery.
With this background information at hand preparation for the spring challenge can begin. This Saturday kicks off a 14-day training camp designed to take you beyond the normal training cycle, stopping just short of OT. This methodology serves to add a very specific and controlled stimulus above and beyond the ordinary. Overreaching helps to break plateaus, engrain challenging new movement patterns and habits, while giving the body’s metabolic processes a kick in the rear. This is how OR finds its seat at the training table. Increased volume and intensity of this magnitude is only effective 2-3 times a year depending on the athlete and always is followed by a focused recovery. To overreach beyond 14-days is begging to end up over trained and worse off than where the athlete started.
The two most important elements to an effective OR campaign are the programming and the athlete’s recovery efforts. The programming y’all don’t need to worry about, I got that, but it cycles between high intensity (I) /low volume (v), moderate intensity & volume, low intensity/ high volume, and strength. Decide where your focus is and bring your A+ game during those sessions. Decide what you don’t care about and don’t show up those days! Recover!
During an OR cycle an athlete’s ability to fight through fatigue and soreness in the name of perseverance is a direct correlate to their success in this challenge. The increased stimulus will result in an acute drop in performance for those acclimated to a rigorous training schedule. Don’t get down on yourself as this is exactly what we are looking for. Super-compensation phase is final phase of adaptation wherein the body overcomes the weight of the OR training and performance increases. This occurs after the removal of stimulus and implementation of a brief recovery period. Every athlete responds differently to this type of training with some seeing tremendous results and others just small increases but everything is meaningful and with each passing OR cycle experience is gained.
Coaches will discuss with flyers how best to recover after the 14-days so you can gear up for Treadmighty 2.0 the following weekend!
Eat, Sleep, Train, Recover!! Spring Training is a fortnight of focus, embrace the suck and enjoy the reward!
All hail the TreadMighty,