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Recovery Plan for Overtraining

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Recovery Plan for Overtraining

Old 08-12-09, 12:10 PM
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Recovery Plan for Overtraining

For the most part I'm a serious avocational runner, but after doing a marathon in late May I decided to add cycling to my training regimen for the sake of variety. It has been very enjoyable; I've done a couple of centuries and in some weeks I've spent considerably more time on the bike than running. Whereas I was doing 60 to 65 miles a week of running only, the combination of running and cycling brought me into the 80 to 90 mile a week range (I've used Dr. Edward Coyle's calculation that 3.5 miles on the bike at 15mph equals a mile of running from the standpoint of energy expenditure); I peaked at 93 a couple of weeks ago.

This all felt great for a while, but I think I overdid it, and now I am struggling with some pretty significant overtraining symptoms: frequent irritability, a near constant sore throat (it's as if I'm about to get a cold that never materializes), and a decided lack of much joy while training. As I felt this coming on, I tried a few different things; I cut my weekly mileage back 10 to 20 percent; slowed down my pace, avoided hot weather when training, bought a Heart Rate Monitor so I could be sure to keep myself in the 60 to 70 percent of Maximum Heart Rate Range. None of these steps made the symptoms subside, so I decided that I simply had to stop for a few days at least, and hope that something like four to seven days off would bring some results.

I'm into day four of this break, and so far I haven't felt much better. I'm a little less irritable, but my sore throat/cold symptoms have persisted, and I'm not feeling any impulse to get back out there and train (mostly because it doesn't feel like I've recovered from whatever is ailing me). I was at the Doctor's this morning, and he did a battery of tests; strep test and urinalysis showed nothing unusual, and I'm waiting to hear results on the blood work. For months now, my Resting Heart Rate upon waking in the morning has remained essentially the same (48 bpm).

As I've scoured the Web looking for information on Overtraining, I've been struck by how almost all of the information is about recognizing and avoiding it; I've seen very little specific, comprehensive information about how one goes about recovering from being Overtrained, other than recommendations to rest for a week or two.

If anyone has any advice or can point me towards resources that have some significant and specific information on how to recover from Overtraining, I'd be grateful. Thanks.
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Old 08-13-09, 07:07 PM
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Odd that your MRHR hasn't changed. Mine usually goes up when things go wrong. You can try this: you know your LTHR, right? Both for running and biking, right? So go out there and charge up some long hill, either running or biking, and see if you can hold LT comfortably for 20 minutes or so. If you can, and you're about as fast as you ever are, you aren't overtrained, you've just got some bug or allergy. When I start to get overtrained my HR won't go up - LT is unattainable - and I have to drop a cog or two on the bike on familiar hills. Plus MRHR will go up 5-6 beats.

I think the reason you haven't seen much info is that everyone is different and the states one gets oneself into are different. What are your goals? If you are overtrained, I think you can say that this season is shot. Plan for next season. Heck, take a month off! Who cares? Relax. See some movies! Have friends over for a party. Enjoy life! No guilt!!!

When you're feeling good again, restart a training plan from scratch and use a max hours/week based on your best performance this year, plus some increment if you like, or maybe not.
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Old 08-13-09, 09:32 PM
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You could be sick - there are some bugs out that there have the sore throat symptoms.

There's no magic bullet for recovering from overtraining. You can spend some time working out, but you really need to avoid putting training load on your system at all, which means keeping it really slow.

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Old 08-13-09, 10:01 PM
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Wow. I have the same problem. Sore throat, grumpy, ect.. I am sure it is simply from going to hard at it. My problem is once I start I don't stop. After doing 35 miles on Sunday afternoon I went back out on tuesday eve for a short ride, next thing I know it's been 2 hours of non-stop pedaling. I have decided to take a few days off myself and get feeling better. I want to do a 1600 mile trip next summer from Vancoucer BC through the Cnd. Rockies and back. I need to come up with a realistic training program. Perhaps I should start a new thread on a "Realistic Training Program"
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Old 08-14-09, 07:01 AM
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Try Tavist (the generic is clemastine fumarate) and see it that helps the throat. I take a half a tablet, and it dries things up without slowing me down.

Is there something coming into season where you are? We have goldenrod coming into bloom here. My suggestion is to grab one of them and sniff. If your symptoms get worse, see an allergist.

I have had serious overtraining. The healing time is proportional to the damage, as a rule. As with any damage, the basics stay the same. Eat a ton of fruit, esp kiwi and pineapple. Get plenty of rest, and take long walks.

If you want to help things along, you could try an anti-inflammatory diet. No sugar, stimulants (expect green tea). Basically it's a fruit and veggie diet. The protein comes from fish, a 4 oz serving. You get Omega 3 fish, and have a serving for breakfast and dinner. I'd also get some distilled Omega 3 caps. Whole Foods has them.

The diet is tough. You want to eat only a tiny amount of grain products, all whole grain. Two slices of whole grain organic bread at the most, and not more than one slice at a meal. Mostly fruit and veggies and a little fish. But it is amazingly effective.

Last edited by late; 08-14-09 at 07:04 AM.
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