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Bicycle Training Series Articles: All ABC Handouts ] 12 Beginners' Questions About Exercise ] ACE Tips ] Altitude Tents: How High the Risk? ] Aerobic Training ] Altitude Training for Sea-Level Competition ] Balance Training for Bicyclists ] Century Training ] Climbing & Descending ] Dealing With High Altitude ] Death Ride: Just-Made-It Schedule ] Economy & Efficiency ] Fitness Elements ] Heart-Rate-Based Training ] HIT Tips ] How to Perform VO2 Intervals ] How to Push Riders Uphill ] Isolated Leg Training ] Measuring Training Stress ] [ Overtraining ] Pacing ] Power-Based Training ] Recovery ] Road Racing Basics ] Six Climbing Positions ] Skills Training Principles ] Small Gears ] Sprint Weak? ] Stationary Training ] Stretching ] Tapering for Events ] Thresholds ] Time Trialing ] Torque-Based Training ] Training & Fitness Standards for Excellence ] Training Myths ] Warm Ups for Racing ] Weight Training ] Work of Breathing ] Workout Too Hard ]

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This article is adapted from the book Bicycling Medicine.

Overtraining (Introduction)

“What drives you to succeed drives you to screw up.”

—Mari Holden, World Champion, Time Trial, 2000


Overtraining is a physical and a psychological or emotional state.

Overtraining is an imbalance between training and recovery, exercise and exercise capacity. The “training effect” is the body’s response to workload stress. If stress is too great, the body cannot respond and adapt. Overtraining may result.

Overtraining symptoms include the following:

·    ●   Poor, non-restorative sleep

·    ●   Mood disturbances, including anxiety, irritability, loss of enjoyment, and sadness

·    ●   Poor performance with the same or increased training

·    ●   Vague or undefined physical complaints


A note about terminology: Overloading is a building or anabolic adaptation to workload stress. Overtraining is breakdown or catabolic response. Overuse is musculoskeletal overtraining.

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