What's really going on in the body

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purpletrilady    pirate
16/06/2012 at 15:21

So I have all the symptoms of being overtrained again. Having been through it before I am not worried and I'm confident that with rest and sleep it will go away within the week.

This has happened twice now and I'm trying to get more information about it to enable me to manage it better next year.  There is shed loads on the internet but most is just high level stuff that isn't really appropriate.

Here's what happens to me - first I'm aware of being more tired than usual but the first thing I really notice is I start to get massive cravings for sugar. I end up eating bags of sweets even though I know its the wrong thing to do;  its almost uncontrollable. Then the exhaustion sets in. I go to bed sleep 8/9 hours and wake up feeling shattered, I want to go back to sleep but I can't. I then spend the whole day dragging my body around feeling like I am about to fall asleep at any minute, its very challenging to deal with when working. I got rid of it last time by spending about 3/4 days literrally doing nothing. Suddenly I notice my appetite returns to normal and then the energy returns.

I'm having an operation on Wendesday and I'm not allowed to exercise for 6 weeks. I think the abstinance will do my body the world of good.

What I'd really like to understand is what is going on in the body to cause it and is there anyway I can track some  indicators so that I don't get in this state next year.

16/06/2012 at 15:27
Purple i can imagine you doing shedloads of training for your double have you thought about shelving a couple of the " padding" sessions a week and having 2 rest days a week? Thats my current ploy i seem to be going as well as ever but seem to be a lot less shattered than normal
Running Postie    pirate
16/06/2012 at 15:39

Purple I know how you feel, I felt exactly the same at the begining of the year, i had loads of blood test which all came back clear. I put loads of weight on by eating too many carbs, thinking I wasn't getting enough energy in. In desperation I resorted to taking iron tablets as well as a multi vit/mineral, so I ended up getting twice the daily amount for the average joe. I feel tons better since taking them. I still have tired days but not the lethargy that it was. I also have a protein shake after a hard session to give my recovery a kick start.

seren nos    pirate
16/06/2012 at 15:44

Do you take your resting heart rate each morning.......that is supposed to give you an early warning I believe..........

i get these and just stop training for a week 10 days and then start again...and i did get rid of all the padding sessions so only did a few sessions a week...

Rafiki    pirate
16/06/2012 at 15:52

Purple, having a quick browse through Noake's Lore or Running - there is no real known cause that people agree on - strange that, no one agreeing on things in running/tris, but overtraining syndrome is believed to be a combination of:

complete carbohydrate depletion in the muscles (may explain the sugar cravings)

prolonged and excessive muscle damage - which happens in any exercise, but after what you've trained for its may have to got to a point where damage was exceeding normal repair

muscle fatigue - linked to the body's ability to recruit active muscle cells

and something called Neurohumoral basis - which is bascially your body copes to a certain point, then straws and camel's abck etc.

There is a list of 11 emotional/behavioural changes and about 15 physical changes that occur, which I can list if you wish!

Edited: 16/06/2012 at 15:54
16/06/2012 at 17:47

Do what Obree did, ask the question before training, 'do I really fancy doing what I'm about to do?' If the answer is even 'well, not really' then stay home another day. Forcing yourself out to train is early stage over training.

Running Postie    pirate
16/06/2012 at 18:01
RicF wrote (see)

Do what Obree did, ask the question before training, 'do I really fancy doing what I'm about to do?' If the answer is even 'well, not really' then stay home another day. Forcing yourself out to train is early stage over training.

If I did that I'd then I would do zilch training! I almost always feel better for getting my back side out the door. If after 15 minutes I'm still 'not feeling' it, then I go home. I believe a certain Paula Radcliff uses this method.

Rafiki    pirate
16/06/2012 at 18:14

I agree Postie - but I would spend a lot of time in the pub if I adopted this method

Running Postie    pirate
16/06/2012 at 18:24
RafikiD wrote (see)

I agree Postie - but I would spend a lot of time in the pub if I adopted this method

wheres the 'like' button when you want one!

purpletrilady    pirate
16/06/2012 at 18:49

thanks all.

I did remove the padding sessions. I never stop training for a week though, so there might be a clue there.

I'll also look through Noakes Lores of running.

I'm crap at listening to my body and if I did what Obree did then I would get out for about 10% of my sessions 


Rafiki    pirate
16/06/2012 at 18:53

Purple - if you read and try to understand  Noakes that would take a lot longer than a week - so that would sort the problem anyway!! If you do read it, could you pop down the pub and explain it to me and Postie please 

purpletrilady    pirate
16/06/2012 at 19:14
RafikiD wrote (see)

Purple - if you read and try to understand  Noakes that would take a lot longer than a week - so that would sort the problem anyway!! If you do read it, could you pop down the pub and explain it to me and Postie please 

just looked at it on Amazon ...it will take me a month to get through that !

seren nos    pirate
16/06/2012 at 19:22

Rafiki..can you just give us the idiots guide 

Rafiki    pirate
16/06/2012 at 20:03

Ahh...I see the Schmunkee's told you about me then, if you're looking ofr idiots

Ok, I shall try, but I'm no Doctor and a little knowledge is often dangerous!

But basically, any form of exercise will cause change and damage in the muscles. Rest is needed afterwards to allow the body to repair your muscle cells. As we train, the amount of exercise we can do before we need to start the repair process increases. Sometimes, like we suddenly up the mileage in a training programme, the repair process takes longer - this is when we feel fatigues and totally knackered. But a day or two off or easy recover runs and we get over this.

Overtraining occurs when we train too much or at too high intensity that the damage exceeds the repairs. This is often a chronic or long term process, and will eventually tip the scales. At this point the body goes into self protect mode and the sympathetic nervous system steps in (and its not as sympathetic as it seems). This part of the brain normally copes with stress, so will relaease small amounts of adreniline into the blood, up your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure - so your body won't recover as quickly as it would normally.

16/06/2012 at 20:06

Purple - firstly are you currently experiencing symptoms of over training or the results of your exertions at the DIM? The latter I would expect it to take you 2 - 4 weeks of good eating, lots of rest and minimal exercise to get over.

Checking your RHR every morning as already suggested is a good way of finding out whether the 'CBA to do my scheduled session' today feeling is one that you should ignore or listen to. If your RHR is up more than 10bpm then you should bin any planned effort, take a rest day then reassess the next morning. If it's normal - 10 bpm higher then do the planned session but keep an eye on your HR during it. If you have a week or more where your RPE pace/HR relationship is off (i.e your HR is far higher than you feel the effort warrants) then back off and take an extra rest day or just do easy sessions for a few days to a week. Continually getting in to an over trained state is not going to be good for you long term.

I think that adequate rest is very important - and that doesn't have to be a full rest day but a 30 minute easy session max - sufficient sleep, not underestimating the affect that work/life stress has on you (it's not just training stress that counts) and a generally healthy diet should help you to train more consistently and not have boom and bust cycles cos you wear yourself out so much that you can' go on.

Of course I have no idea of your lifestyle, training etc so all of the above is general observations based on my understanding and experience - and I managed to burn myself out totally through work a few years ago, compromise my immune system , be diagnosed (incorrectly I believe) with CFS, became hypothyroid and have pernicious anaemia - the long term consequences of not listening to your body and not taking yourself seriously can be quite major.

Doozer.    pirate
16/06/2012 at 20:06
Haven't you just done the double a week ago? This isn't a case of overtraining it's probably just exhaustion from pushing yourself so hard. Start eating a normal healthy diet without denying yourself anything and have a rest. Sounds like the enforced 6 week rest will do you good!
Rafiki    pirate
16/06/2012 at 20:10

As the sympathetic nervous system alos deals with normal stress, it may 'kick in' and give the over training symptoms at different points if there is other things causing problems - stress at work, kids, etc etc.

Only thing is to rest......oh and Guiness, always guiness!!

Symptons can be:


Apathy, lethargy, poor concerntration, chnages in sleep patterns, irritability, decreased libido, clumsiness, increased thirst, sluggishness, sugar cravings


Reduced performance, weight changes, morning heart rate changes, muscle sorenes, swollen lymphs glands, diarrhe, injury, infection, amenorrhea, decreased exercise heart rate, slow healing cuts

This is just bits and bobs taken from various books - there seems to be a lot of different opinions, but the above a summary.

Hope it helps

seren nos    pirate
16/06/2012 at 20:14

Thanks Rafi for that

Rafiki    pirate
16/06/2012 at 20:18

I think the over riding message is the you and Purple deserve a bit of a rest

Anyway, see you at Outlaw!!

purpletrilady    pirate
16/06/2012 at 20:20

Thanks Rafi and Little Miss Happy.

Doozer its different to just normal exhaustion and don't forget I didn't do the hardest bit.

The thing about work is interesting, I have a very stressful job. I felt fine on Tuesday but  three days at work and  I am exhausted, even though there was no physical effort involved at all.

I will definitey give monitoring my heart rate a go. I did try it before but it was so often elevated that I ignored it 

And I do agree I need the six week's rest. It will be my longest period without exercise for years !


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