There is a huge difference between being just a little tired from doing a few steps or full dances and being legitimately run down or over-trained.
It is important to be able to tell the difference between the two so as to remain injury free. Nothing will slow you down from enhancing your performance more quickly than not being able to recognise the signs of being over-trained. The following information will help you to stay consistent with your training, without over-training and becoming sick and injured.
What is over-training?
Over-training is when you give the body more work and stress than it can handle. Over-training usually occurs when the body is given too much work or experiences stress faster than the body can repair it.
Over-training does not happen overnight. It is unlikely that you will experience over-training after completing only a handful of workouts or practice sessions. When training you should remember that you need to allow your body to rest and recover between intense practice or training sessions because it is the training that wears the body down and it is the rest and recovery that makes the body strong and healthy. Also remember that when we talk about over-training and stressing the body, we are not just talking about physical stress, mental and emotional stress can also have a major impact on the body too and will have the same affects on the body’s health and well-being.
How to read the signs…
There are no tests that you can perform at home to determine whether you are over-training or not. However, there are a number of signs and symptoms that you can look for…
- Elevated heart rate
- Frequent sickness and infection
- Frequent minor injuries
- Weight loss
- Appetite loss
- Thirst & Dehydration
- Chronic muscle soreness and joint pain
- Decreased performance
- Delayed recovery
Mental Stress - signs & symptoms
- Lacking/Losing interest
- Tiredness, lacking energy
- Inability to relax
- Lacking motivation
- Lacking concentration
As you can see, there are a lot of signs and symptoms that you need to look out for. Some of you might be experiencing some of these signs and symptoms and they may not be related to your Irish dancing training or your S&C training, it may be something outside of dancing that is causing these symptoms. So what do you do in this case? You need to find out what it is that is causing this stress and try to resolve the issue because even though it may not be related to your dancing, it will still have a negative affect on your training and on your performance.
The most common signs to look for would be exhaustion and loss of motivation in all areas of life.
What can I do to prevent over-training?
I have listed a few examples for you… but before you read them, remember this… “Preventing over-training is better than over-training and then trying to fix it!” So please try to avoid this issue by using some of the tips I have given you below…
- Make small and gradual increases to your training over a period of time.
- Always follow a well balanced diet
- Make sure you get enough sleep every night
- Be sure to modify your training to suit each day. Example: Drink more water on a hot day. Bring a snack if its a long practice session
- Do not exercise when the body is ill.
- Try to resolve any stresses outside of your training and practice sessions
Over-training will more than likely happen to everyone at some stage so make sure that you follow the correct procedure to avoid the situation from getting worse and to avoid re-occurrences.
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Your head coach, author & therapist