Friday, January 29, 2010

Retrograde Performance

As I mentioned earlier in the week I have tapered off in an effort to be fully recovered for the PWA championships tomorrow. Although most of the people who read this blog do not compete regularly outside of daily CF WODs, the concept of tapering (reducing one’s training load) periodically is applicable to every athlete on the planet who is interested in improving athletic performance and achieving his or her goals.

Based upon scientific research in the phenomenon of overtraining, a period of down time within a training regimen is imperative to the success of any athlete. Some coaches recommend a “half-dose” every 4 weeks of training and others suggest that athletes take an entire week off every 12 weeks.

The premise behind a cyclic drop in work output is that an athlete will diminish the degenerative effects of overtraining (aka retrograde performance) and allow the body to fully adapt to the exercise induced stress that one has endured and consequently reap the hard earned benefits of one’s training regimen. A sound diet and lots of sleep are also excellent ways to ward off retrograde performance.

Here is a list of symptoms that commonly correlate with overtraining:

• Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
• Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains
• Pain in muscles and joints
• Sudden drop in performance
• Insomnia
• Headaches
• Decreased immunity (increased number of colds, and sore throats)
• Decrease in training capacity / intensity
• Moodiness and irritability
• Depression
• Loss of enthusiasm for the sport
• Decreased appetite
• Increased incidence of injuries.
• A compulsive need to exercise

If you are currently experiencing a handful of these symptoms consider reducing your training load significantly for a week or two.

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