Overreaching

Nothing feels better than going to bed after a productive day and a hard WOD.  And you are starting to get good at this CrossFit stuff, so you are coming in more and more often to get your workout in.  But after going hard for a while, you find yourself not able to fall asleep.  And even when you do sleep, you still feel tired.  You start getting headaches throughout the day, and despite your attention to your nutrition, you feel consistently drained and your performance suddenly drops.  What is happening?  Chances are, you are overreaching.

Overreaching (referred to as "overtraining" in more significant doses) is inevitable for athletes who don't take time to recover properly between workouts.  How will you know if you are overtraining or overreaching?  You can feel the effects of both of these conditions physically, psychologically and in your workout performance.

Physically:

  • Increased resting heart rate
  • Decreased muscular strength
  • Chronic muscle soreness
  • Increased injury rate
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Decreased appetite
  • Frequent minor infections/colds
     

Psychologically:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Loss of motivation/enthusiasm
     

Performance:

  • Decreased time for onset of fatigue
  • Decreased work capacity
  • Inability to complete workouts
  • Delayed recovery
     

So how do you reverse the effects?  Take time to recover!  Recovery between workouts is important, but when you are overtrained, more time is necessary to allow your body to recuperate.  With mild overtraining, a short period of rest and recovery – two weeks or less should be sufficient.  During your recovery time, make sure to pay close attention to keep yourself properly hydrated and well nourished.  You should also treat yourself to a sports massage if your budget allows.

The bottom line is recovery is an essential part of any workout regimen - professional, elite, or novice.  Make sure you are getting yours too.