Posted On Monday, 11th June 2012 at 07:46
Stress is stress: Exams may have pushed your teenager to breaking point
Overtraining is common in young athletes due to the high demand put on them by schools and sports teams.
Schools will get talented young athletes to compete in as many sports as possible and these same athletes will also train outside of school for a team they play for in one or more sports.
Recent weeks have shown us how much pressure is put on young people during exam time by parents and teachers alike.
An example week in the life of a young athlete –
Monday – P.E., School netball training
Tuesday – School hockey training, Team netball training
Wednesday – P.E., School netball match, S+C training
Thursday – School cross country, Team hockey training
Friday – School hockey training, Team netball training
Weekend – Match/tournament
What is overtraining?
Overtraining is a condition (physical, psychological and behavioural) that happens when an individual’s training regime is high in volume and intensity, and does not allow the body to recover from each training session.
Surely training more is better?
The more you train, the better you will become right? Yes, in a way, if you think training once a week won’t give you the benefits that training four/five times a week will.
But as you can see from the example week above, young athletes can train or play a match every day! In order to improve, get stronger/faster etc. the body needs to recover and adapt.
Young athletes bodies are also not fully developed, so they need rest to replenish their energy stores and grow let alone rest to allow their muscles to recover and adapt.
What are the signs of overtraining?
Signs can include –
- Persistent muscle soreness
- Persistent fatigue
- Elevated resting heart rate
- Reduced heart rate variability
- Increased susceptibility to infections
- Increased incidence of injuries
- Mental breakdown
For more signs and symptoms see here
What is the difference between over reaching and over training?
Over training is doing too much in your sessions over a long period of timewithout adequate recovery. Over reaching occurs over a shorter time period (like a training camp) and can be planned into your training, providing it is followed by adequate rest time.
In the short term it is impossible to differentiate between over reaching and overtraining
What can I do to make sure this doesn’t happen?
Planning, diet and sleep are all vital when it comes to preventing overtraining.
Planning - The best thing to do to keep an eye on your training is to keep a log/diary (get one free here) You can record everything if you do this. Training, intensity, volume, rest, sleeps etc. Writing it down will help you see where you can rest and recover. Planning will make sure you get this time.
Making sure your sessions are planned to so that they are progressive in a safe manner and in a way that suits your individual needs and requirements.
Diet – Getting the right nutrients into the body to support it during the recovery process will help too. Going home after a hard training session and eating a chocolate bar or packet of crisps will not support the body. Getting a good balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates will help with recovery and replenish the energy stores.
Sleep – The most important part of the day in terms of letting your body rest and recover. Lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep will deter this process..
All three of these can be logged. Overtime, you may begin to see a pattern e.g. after a tough session in the evening, your sleep isn’t as good and it affects you the next day. Seeing these patterns and learning about your body will give your training a boost and overtraining can be prevented.
For more information download our free e-book on Overtraining here