Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Overreached vs. Over-Trained by Matt Liebsch

Matt Liebsch is a member of the CXC Elite cross country ski team and a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BS in Electrical Engineering. He is an Olympic hopeful and had a very successful 2009 season… 3rd Place at US Nationals, Mora Vasaloppet winner and American Birkebeiner Champion. When Matt is not training and racing he is helping out at Gear West or spending time with his wife and one-year-old son.

I think I may be a little overreached at the moment, but that is OK. Overreached is a state of fatigue that our body can recover from and compensate as we get faster/ fitter. This week I got a little keyed up and did back-to-back-to-back intervals on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Plus, on Friday I went on nearly a 3.5 hr bike with Garrott Kuzzy. Needless to say, my legs are feeling a little coiled up at the moment. I am optimistic that by Sunday my legs will bounce back from an overreached state and I will be feeling 100% for the Gear West Duathlon. However, I am hoping to have a good result. It will require me to listen to my body and take the next few days easy.

Over-trained, on the other hand, is not a good place for an athlete to be. Over-training is a condition that comes about from continually overreaching again-and-again. I have been in this state before and it is not enjoyable. The signs of over-training are different for each athlete, but for me it includes loss of body mass, suppressed immune function, along with up and down results. Needless to say, I had a frustrating season when I was over-trained.

There are a few key things I believe can prevent over-training and they include listening to your body, good nutrition, supplementation, benchmark testing and good hygiene. I believe the most important of these is listening to your body. The year I over-trained, I got caught up in total training hours and I even managed to over-train while using resting HR to evaluate physical stress. I should have done a better job of listening to my body vs. what the numbers were telling me. By the time the numbers were showing that I was over-trained, I was already up to my eyeballs in fatigue.

Train hard, train smart!!!