I woke up this morning and did not want to go workout but couldn’t go back to sleep. As usual, I started thinking. I thought about how my triathlon is about 3.5 weeks away. I thought about how I just missed 5 days of workouts because I had knee surgery. I also thought about how I just purchased a plane ticket for 4 days in Mexico.
This last thought was most motivating to me because:
- I’m going to be lounging at an all inclusive resort in Cabo during what should be my last week of high volume training so I need to get some work in now.
- and it also means that I will be spending the better part of four days in a bikini.
I got out of bed and headed to the gym.
I hopped on a bike in the cycling studio, reset the power meter and started pedaling. The power meter informed me that I was pushing about 85 watts. I usually push about 120 watts when I’m warming up. After playing with the resistance a little, I figured the meter must be calibrated funny so I switched bikes. Same thing. 80-90 watts. Class was starting though so I figured I would just have to deal with it and stayed put.
The class was an ladder-based interval class where you increase your resistance but hold a consistent cadence throughout the intervals. By the third interval I was finally pushing 120 watts and the resistance dial was in a place I recognized as correct for my cadence and effort… and slowly… I realized that… gasp!… I don’t think the watt meter is off. I think it’s me. I felt like I was working as hard as usual, but obviously I wasn’t nearly as efficient as I usually am.
I started to wonder if I’m overtraining this week. So, I did what I always do when I have a question. I asked a few people what they thought and then Googled it.
Google tells me that you are overtraining if you are suffering from the following:
- Sudden drop in performance and decrease in training intensity
- Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
- Moodiness and irritability
The problem is that I have many of these symptoms once in a while when I’m not over training. Everyone has a bad day once in a while. I’m tired, but doesn’t that just mean that I’m working hard? I’m moody, irritable, and a little depressed today but there are plenty of other factors that play into that.
So how else can you tell if you’ve overtrained? Heart rate monitor. If you track your resting heart rate upon waking up every morning then an increase in that heart rate may mean that you need a little more rest. I’m going to definitely start doing this.
Do you have another way to tell if you’ve over trained? How do you relax and recover without feeling guilty?