And Now For The Rest

I don’t have too much to worry about for the month of May as work and family commitments have limited my ability to follow my inclination… on some damned fool crusade… to destroy myself on the seat of a bicycle… all in the name of a good time. But the month of June I hope to tear it up something awful.


When I get these crazy notions in my head to push myself to my physical limits or train to achieve some seemingly arbitrary goal, I risk the dangers of overreaching and overtraining; two common conditions that occur in ambitious athletes.

After a major physical effort I am more prone to sickness, injury and I have even felt a type of general malaise. It happens to us all. The stronger we get the more it takes to push us to that edge. Still, rest is a very important part of training and it can make a huge difference in performance increases. So, today I will rest and then hit tomorrow hard and fast, do some climbing practice on Thursday, before resting up for a hill century on Sunday to make sure my glycogen stores are filled and I am ready for a long day in the saddle.

There is a great article on training here with an excerpt below:

“Overreaching lasts from a few days to 2 weeks and is associated with fatigue, reduction of maximum performance capacity, and a brief interval of decreased personal performance. Recovery is achieved with a reduction in training or a few extra days of rest.

Overtraining (overtraining syndrome, staleness, systemic overtraining) is the result of many weeks of exceeding the athlete’s physiologic limits and can result in weeks or months of diminished performance – symptoms normally resolve in 6-12 weeks but may continue much longer or recur if athletes return to hard training too soon. It involves mood disturbances, muscle soreness/stiffness, and changes in blood chemistry values, hormone levels, and nocturnal urinary catecholamine excretion.

Stress factors such as the monotony of a training program and an acute increase in training program intensity lasting more than a few days increase the risk of development of overtraining. On the other hand, heavy training loads appear to be tolerated for extensive periods of time if athletes take a rest day every week, and alternate hard and easy days of training.

Pathologic fatigue is deined as fatigue and tiredness that cannot be explained by the volume of training. These are generally medical conditions such as infection, neoplasia, disorders of the blood, cardiovascular, or endocrine systems, and psychologic/psychiatric disorders. Included in this grouping are the side effects of medications and “chronic fatigue syndrome” – an ill defined medical condition. A recent article has muddied the water even further by describing muscle changes from years of high volume exercise training that may be related to this entity. Another controversial possibility is iron deficiency without anemia – although this is much more common in endurance runners than cyclists.”

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