Total Pageviews

Friday, July 13, 2012


It's 22 Days, 12 Hours, 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds from the Cobra Ironman 70.3 in Cebu on August 5th as of this writing.

Many in the local triathlon community are loading up both in terms of mileage and intensity in the hopes of doing a PR in what is being touted as a fast and exciting new course. Given that the 70.3 is one of only 2 races in the country of this distance (1.9k swim, 90k bike and 21k run), the tendency is to really pack in a lot of mileage so as to train the body to keep a strong or at least decent pace evenly through the three disciplines.

This increase in training volume which some say is double what most age groupers and tri newbies are used to oftentimes results in overtraining. Let's face it, we are in this sport because we can endure a lot of pain and suffering. Our insecurities about not having the "lungs" to complete the 90k bike ride or have enough "legs" to run the 21k after the swim and the bike pushes us to train well beyond what the body is able to "recover" from. Aside from higher volume and intensity, we throw in "heat training" for good measure.

My worst bout with overtraining was when I was training for Ironman West Australia. It really wasn't pretty. The common symptoms include the following:

  • muscle soreness especially in the legs and lower back;
  • tightness in the upper back area;
  • inability to push in training - especially in the run and sometimes even when cycling;
  • a deep feeling of fatigue but inability to sleep - insomia;
  • irritability;
  • the feeling of always being thirsty; 
  • a faster heart rate;
  • lowered resistance and susceptability to illness like colds, flu and cough.
You also feel anxiety over your condition so the tendency is to fight the feeling and train even more. This results in an even deeper level of overtraining.

I realized I was overtraining when 1) I couldn't keep up with even the slower members of our team in training; 2) I had a hard time sleeping at night; and 3) I was becoming irritable.

The good news is that the remedy was simple, effective and immediate. One just needs to recognize first that he/she isn't deteriorating and "getting too old" - it's really just your body telling you to rest and recover.

The typical remedies are to take 2 to 3 days off, max of a week. During this period, it is adviseable to eat a lot of protein to regain muscle mass and speed up recovery. It is also important to hydrate a lot while "recovering".

Other recommendations are the following:

Getting Lots of Sleep

During the Slack Period - one should get maybe 10% to 20% more sleep that usual so that the body can repair. It would greatly be beneficial if you are to enrol the help and assistance of the household to minimize all distractions and stressor at home.

It is interesting to note that some international tri coaches even encourage sex and intimacy when overtrained. This is said to help relax the athletes and modulate the neurotransmitters to bring faster recovery. I'm not kidding.

Proper Diet

I usually take on 10% to 15% more protein when I start to feel lethargic. It's both a treat and helps rebuild damaged muscles from training.

Mild Massage

This also helps recovery by reducing stress and keeping the muscles pampered. However, caution here is that the massage, if done too hard is like exerting pyshical effort. So hard massages when you're overtrained is a no no.

Hard Massage is like exercise. Go for light massages when overtrained.

Monitoring the Heart Rate

Aside from doing it by feel, you can also determine if you are overtrained by monitoring your heart rate at a regular time each morning. There are three states which needs to be measured. When you wake up and still in a rested state, 15 seconds after getting up and finally 90 to 120 seconds after getting up. The average heart rate will be the two readings after standing up (15 secs and 90 secs). It is important to read this daily and note down the averages. A 10 second swing is a clear indication of being overtrained.

In my case, I am training well for the coming 70.3 in Cebu. Certainly not overtrained. More like "under trained". But that's what all triathletes say. It's called sandbagging. Another pass time we all excel in.

Don't ask me about the sex part.

No comments:

Post a Comment