Thursday, April 04, 2013
Overtraining is possible but hard to achieve. It requires certain circumstances. Perhaps they are impossible to actually measure. It is not a math problem. I am becoming more and more convinced that overtraining, at least in experienced and competent trainees, is more a function of the trainees mental state, their attitude and approach towards training, towards winning, towards losing, towards succeeding, towards failing, towards the day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, and year-to-year events of the training process. If the athlete is calm, stoic, disciplined, motivated, but also accepting of the ebb and flow of the process, he will find himself relaxed and able to return to hard training day after day. If he is easily excited, upset, nervous about training...in other words, if he is too emotionally invested in the day-to-day, and week-to-week, rather than the month-to-month and year-to-year...he will likely be tired, irritable, unmotivated, and prone to injury. It also seems likely that the diet will contribute to this, but not in the way most think. The trainee who is neurotic about his diet - adhering to a very particular, peculiar plan, from which he refuses to ever stray - will probably find himself more prone to the negative stresses of the day-to-day training experience. An athlete who views food as a positive experience, eating as he needs to, with moderation most but not all of the time, enjoying the foods he loves, will better receive the nourishment from those foods. The same goes for the training plan. If a trainee is rigid in his approach, strictly following a preset plan each day, regardless of whether he feels great, good, just okay, bad, or horrible, I think it is unlikely he will ever fully realize the potential of each training session, and thus the whole that those parts should eventually create.
None of this is to say that there is no value in structure, planning, or forethought. Of course the athlete should have parameters. A framework within which to train and eat is very important, for athletes of all training ages and development levels. But the ability to safely, intelligently, and freely stray from that framework is every bit as crucial. When I say freely, I mean without worry or concern that they are somehow breaking rules, or destroying the efficacy of their program.
Good training and diet should be organisms in themselves. They must change to accommodate the state of your existence. Though there is a degree of stability and conformity which will likely remain throughout your existence, there are an infinite number of variables which will constantly shift. Learn to shift with them, and reap the benefits of your composure.