If you have been suffering from a training plateau, tiredness, lack of motivation or injury you are in some form of overtraining. Overtraining is caused by too much high-intensity training and/or too little recovery time which is often combined with other non-training stressors (work, family, life!). If overtraining is caught early it can be quickly reversed and potentially result in functional overreaching. Functional overreaching can allow for a boost in performance IF the athlete is able to minimise their training and maximise the recovery for a few weeks. Failing to reset your training state can result in negative overtraining and months of forced recovery.
The four-week reset:
Limit your training to four days a week Reduce the duration of every session you have been doing in the past by 50%. I.e. if your session was usually 60min, it would now be 30min. Limit your training intensity to Zone 2 or below.
Repeat Week One PLUS increase your nightly sleep by 1hr per night. Regardless of how busy you are, you can always go to bed 1hr earlier.
Increase the duration of your sessions by 50%. I.e. if your session was 30min, it would now be 45min. Continue to limit your intensity to zone 1 & 2 and continue to get an extra hour of sleep.
Repeat week three PLUS book a sports massage. Sports massage works two-fold. First, it is a great treat for your body, and second, you will quickly learn what parts of your body are going to need attention when you begin full training again. At the end of the four-week reset, you should not be experiencing any feelings of excess tiredness, injury or lack of motivation. If you are, you may need to see a doctor to get a blood test to ensure you’re not suffering from any fatigue related illness.
Book recommendation: Matthew Walker – Why We Sleep.