Personally, I don’t think the mythic and vile super villain like condition known as “Overtraining” exists. I think issues arise when a person is too undertrained to handle a given/prescribed workload. In other words, when someone does a poorly designed program, they become a poorly designed human. Here is the problem though: less is never better. Especially when it comes to training for something. Whether it is a world record Olympic total or just wanting to look good in your favorite pair of skinny jeans (my number one goal right now), you will never get there doing just enough. Have you ever spoken with or been around someone who is successful in some physical endeavor? 9/10 times, they are a total nutcase. Not only are they dedicating 20+ hours a week to what they are training for, all their extra time is spent reading and talking about how to get to their goal more efficiently.
But, don’t feel bad. Anyone who has done some kind of athletic activity for an extended period of time gets bouts of intense feelings of “I don’t want to do this anymore.” Both physical and emotional need to completely detach from an activity is normal. Most information online and from those with PhD’s in Applied Internet Bro-science, suggest “taking some time off” or “dropping the volume/intensity a little.” While common sense might bring you to the same conclusion, common sense has no place in your training. Desire, insanity, and a serial killer like focus should have all gotten together and murdered your common sense in regards to anything training.
Dealing with feelings like this is pretty simple. You deal with them and you go train anyway. Even if your head is not in the game, the body will still perform. Psychology is the most underemphasized quality in sports, but not here. Not in these situations. Just because you don’t feel like training doesn’t mean your brain turns off your body’s ability to adapt to exercise.
I keep a pretty detailed training log. In it, I used to assign a number (scale of 1 to 10, low to high… very scientific) to my level of motivation/preparedness. After about 2 months, I noticed that number never went over 5. I was writing it down one day and thought to myself: “Why the hell am I doing this? Even if this were a negative number, I’d still train anyway.”
Just a couple of words this morning. Saw a bunch of stuff go up about overtraining and how to deal with it yesterday and it all pissed me off. I am not a big quote guy, but Olympic Weightlifting coach John Broz had a good one.
“How you feel is a lie.”
Solum Per Exitum.