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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Struggles of a training athlete. Monitoring for Overtraining

In my last post we discussed some of the symptoms of overtraining. These are things to look for incase you are suffering from overtraining. This post now will focus on how to look for these symptoms more effectively.
The aim of doing these things is not just to pick up on when you been overtraining and therefore know when to take a rest but to notice possible overtraining issues as early as possible to minimise the negative effects.
This is why I use the word "monitoring." Monitoring suggests a constant regular process, one that looks continuously for changes and addresses them as soon as they arise. This is how you should be when it comes to overtraining.
So what steps can you take to monitor your training...

  • KEEP A DIARY!
Diaries are great ways of keeping track of every aspect of your training. If the word diary brings to mind young girls writing down their new crush before bed, then you can call it something else, perhaps a "training log." Your training diary will not be a long text but instead more of a checklist of items that you will keep track of during your training. You should every day or every session, mark down the list of things in the diary and how they felt/went that time. For instance a rating scale of how well you thought you trained that session.

There will be a more detailed post on the sort of things to include in a training diary HERE

But this will focus on the things to include that relate specifically to overtraining.
Thinking back to the post looking at symptoms of overtraining we want to monitor these in the diary.


  • Tiredness, lack of energy - on a scale of 1-10 note down how much energy you felt you had in that session
  • motivation - on a scale of 1-10, how keen were you to practice that session
  • concentration - on a scale of 1-10, how well did you feel you concentrated in that session
  • injuries - note down any little niggles, injuries or pain you felt in that session
Plan regular checks, where you take time to look back over the past few weeks of training and look for any steady decline in energy levels, motivation and concentration. Athletes training regularly will have ups and downs in these but overall there is a general level where these values will be. If there is a steady decline then this shows that the level of training is not maintainable on a long term basis- something which will lead to overtraining problems.
Similarly everybody will have little injuries or the odd big injury but if you look back in your diary and see the amount and severity of injuries building up more and more, or a particular type of injury in one part of the body regularly occurring, then this is a sign that you are perhaps pushing your body too hard and overtraining.


  • Discuss regularly with your coach
use your diary and discuss this with your coach. People are subjective when they fill in their diary, this is both a strength and a weakness. It is a strength because nobody knows how you feel better than you. It is a weakness because you might be biased. You may feel like your concentration is good but your coach has noticed it isn't as good as it used to be. Or, because you have steadily improved in training, you don't feel any different but in fact from an outside perspective your concentration and energy has really improved.
Therefore, discussing these things with your coach can be helpful to put your thoughts into perspective and also, if you are regularly discussing these things with your coach, then your coach will be in a better position to know how to vary training accordingly.

So, now we have learned what to look for and how to look for it, how do we fix it?! Find out in the next post Struggles of a training athlete. Avoiding overtraining HERE 

To see the original article that inspired this series of posts check it out HERE.
To see what else will be talked about in this series click HERE.

Setting up effective monitoring processes is just one way which Brain-SPEC can help with your/your team's performance. If you are interested in working with Brain-SPEC check out the Services tab at the top or get in touch via email

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