non functional overreaching recovery

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  • #75443

    It seems that I have non-functional overreaching due to running. I felt okay during the training period and not unmotivated, but after a restweek I found that the restweek was not enough. I am now 5 weeks further and the upper legs still feel a bit stiff and burning (sometimes it seems to be getting better, but at other times the complaints are more present).I take a complete rest from running (only a bit walking), but still do strength training (only upper body!). Is this a problem and – apart from this – when is it time to see a sports doctor?

    I really appreciate your advice!

Posted In: Injury & Rehab

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    Thomas Summer, MD on #75444

    If it’s really overtraining then strength training for the upper body could be even beneficial. But keep it short and allow enough rest. You should feel better and less fatigued with that.
    Was the rest week a planed one, or did you feel that something was off? Any other issues? Sickness?

    Gute Besserung!

    jochemwestert on #75446

    Hey Thomas,

    Thank you very much for your response! It is a planned rest week. During that week I noticed that the fatigue increased rather than decreased. In addition, I noticed that short light runs suddenly caused more fatigue than i was used to. Although the fatigue lasts for a long time, no other alarm bells start to ring (such as high resting heart rate or mental issues).

    In theory i know the guidelines to avoid overtraining. But in practice, I can imagine that I sometimes took the training blocks more seriously than the rest weeks (starting a new block of training without the legs feeling completely refreshed).

    Thomas Summer, MD on #75454

    Did HR drop?

    Try if you feel better with strength training for your upper body. If you feel ok you can go intense, but keep it short (total duration less than 30min) and allow enough rest afterwards.

    Some more questions you can ask yourself:
    Fueling during the last weeks?
    Overall stress? Physical but also mental.
    Weather, training conditions? Much colder?

    If you would want more guidance regarding your training, I would recommend a phone consultation with one of our coaches.

    Best regards!

    jochemwestert on #75483

    A workout during the rest week, my heart rate seemed slightly lower (approx. 5-10 beats per minute) than normal. That was the workout where I first noticed that my legs felt heavy. On later light exercise sessions, I don’t see any noticeable anomalies, so I’m not sure. Coincidentally I did month ago an energy metabolism analysis and this shows that the heart rate from pace to sprint decreased slightly instead of increasing. Perhaps this could also be an indication.
    From now on I will use a training log 😉

    Thanks again for advices, much appreciated!

    Thomas Summer, MD on #75596

    How is your nutrition? Maybe not enough carbs?


    nalle4 on #75599

    If you suspect you are in a non-functional overreach state, pull all the brakes you have! Skip all training for at least two weeks, and don’t start training before you feel fresh and really eager to train again. And start easy, at no more than 50% of the previous load.

    I wrecked my self in a similar manner last spring, and spent the last 8 month trying to get back when I was still in an overreach state. And lost 8 months of training, finally I pulled the brakes a few weeks ago and I regret so much not doing so the last spring,

    The only cure for overreach is rest, don’t waste time fiddling with nutrition, supplements, adjusting training, testing different training or cross-over – just rest!

    If it is a minor overreach you will be back overcompensated and stronger after two or three weeks, if you don’t feel rested after two-three weeks – then you have overtraining syndrome and you’re in trouble, but you have at least started with the only cure that works – rest!

    All best

    Steve House on #75602

    Hi, I think there is a lot of good advice here. However I think you sound like you may be deeper down in the hole than you may realize. It’s important to take immediate and decisive action as suggested above as well as examine what may have contributed. But for sure you have to deload and focus on nutrition, hydration, sleep, and only very light recovery workouts. I think Thomas’ suggestion of a upper body (short, to the heavy side, think of a mini-max strength workout for the upper body) to illicit a positive hormonal response may help keep you healthy as real illness can be a big risk when your body is beat down. And yes! Please please please log your training.

    jochemwestert on #75606

    Thank you so much for your assistance! I’ll take this wise (rest, food, etc.) advice seriously. Looking back, I think in general I should have taken more and better rest and listen to the subtle signals of the body (such as residual fatigue after a recovery week). I am very motivated for training goals (such as a trail event in the Alps), but that can also be a problem. By the way, overtraining (although not to be underestimated) does not necessarily mean the overtraining syndrome right?

    . I assume you are carefully rebuilding training now. Good luck!

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