Early Warning Signs of Over - Training

Over - training is a poorly - defined complex of the body’s psycho - physiological responses to:
1) An excessive training load;
2) Too frequent competitions;
3) Inadequate recovery time following an intensive work -load, or any combination of these. It may be aggravated by other stressors in the athlete s life, such as financial or work pressures, social stresses, excessive travel, inadequate sleep and nutrition, or lack of recreational opportunities.

The highly - trained, strongly - motivated elite athlete constantly treads a fine line between optimal levels of training, and over - training. Close communication between insightful coaches and athletes who are "tuned - in" to monitoring their own mental and physical responses to training is required to detect the "early warning signs" of over — training and to react appropriately.

Athletes beginning to show evidence of over - training exhibit several symptoms, often in combination. Sports medicine personnel and coaches should be alert for these early warning clues, and activate recovery efforts:
An athlete feels that greater effort is needed to complete a training session, lime trial, or competition. A longer recovery time is needed between exercise bouts.
An athlete feels a persistent sense of fatigue and inadequate recovery after a training session. A poor sleep pattern and elevated morning heart rate may accompany this feeling.
An athlete exhibits irritability and moodiness in dealing with routine activities.
An athlete loses the drive to train, and dreads the outcome of a poor training session.
A female athlete experiences alterations of the menstrual cycle, especially amenorrhea.
These warning signals should indicate to the athlete, coach, and medical staff that a major adjustment in the training program is necessary. The team physician can be of value in confirming this "diagnosis" and encouraging a program of recovery rather than allowing the athlete to persist in a potentially harmful process.
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