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A Discussion of Overtraining - What's Your Experience?

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This article talks about using "autoregulation" to adjust your daily training.

Autoregulation is nice fancy term for changing how you approach and work in a training session based on how you are performing now, relative to your previous sessions. You change your intensity and volume of today’s training based on how difficult it is compared to what you’ve done before.
  • Don’t judge how a session is going to go based on how you feel before you start training, see how well you do as you begin the exercises.
  • Know what your minimum levels of performance should be based on how you were doing previously. This is the best way to use autoregulatory principles.
  • Take advantage of the great days and go ahead and push harder and work a bit more. On those blah days, do the minimum, don’t force it and get the hell out.




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I agree that the term and "catch all" of Overtraining is part of the problem, especially in the highly-emotional discussion of it. Science isn't so emotional, usually.

This article was posted by a fighter friend in Florida and is exactly what I'm trying to get at in my "Myth of Overtraining" blog posts. Basically, the symptoms do exist; the experience exists, but it's not caused by "overtraining." It's a mental interpretation:

"The selective amnesia associated with marathon running could have an evolutionary basis, he added, since early humans typically ran to survive and may have needed to disregard some of the associated discomforts.

The study also suggests, though, that not having fun may sharpen your recall of pain, which is unlikely to be motivating. So if you wish to maintain a strenuous workout or competitive program and also blunt the edges of your memories of any resulting pain, find an activity that you enjoy."

You can read the full Times article here: "Forgetting the Pain of Exercise" by Gretchen Reynolds.

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  • 1 month later...

Really good article again Sylvie. My personal experience is training at my old gym in Bournemouth. Before I started fighting I used to train with the fighters at my old gym all the time. As soon as I said would like to fight they said come and train with us, so your ready when you get a chance. I used to do 5 sessions in the week. In the UK most gyms are open just in the evening,  (although my old one now is open all day ) and on a Sunday I used to get a call off one of the fighters and we would go running and go to the gym and I would train with the fighters who wanted to put in that extra bit of work. 

Well I trained 6 days a week and really pushed myself and then sadly one afternoon I was sparring with my mate and I threw a punch at him and felt something in my shoulder go click! and then my arm started aching and I had to stop. I tried to do some press ups after we had finished training and my arm just gave way!  Next day I woke up and could hardly move my arm at all and was in loads of pain and saw a doctor. I could only open my hand really slowly and it turned out I had torn a ligament in my shoulder. :(  A couple of the more experienced lads said that I had burnt myself out. I guess you could call that over training? these days I believe in pushing myself to be at my best and I am used to training hard. I can usually work around an injury too. :) 

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John sounds like an acute injury, not a chronic case of over training.

I am slowly titrating up my training load. I think this is important, because you can't just walk off the street and expect to be putting in 10,15,20 hours of training in, otherwise you'll have an injury, like John.

It's been a lot slower than what I hoped and at times I've taken days off when in theory I would have rather trained. In retrospect I feel like my body was autoregulating me. Could be nonsense? But I feel like I am slowly adapting to more and more work now, and in a way that has worked much better than what I had even planned.

This is really fascinating to me. I just keep trying to turn up as much as I can, and while I often disappoint myself, I just get back in and slowly my threshold is rising, like my body is making slight but regular adjustments sub-autonomously (this isn't really a word haha).

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