Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Am I overtraining?

Recently I've been dealing with some minor physical complaints - my left leg's vastus lateralis muscle has been sort of tight, achy, and just "not right". Sometimes when I'm in bed trying to sleep it spasms and keeps me from falling asleep. And it seems like my sleeping has been off - had a hard time falling asleep, and either not getting much or having a hard time waking up.

This morning when I woke up at 5 am to catch my Seattle flight, my upper chest was dripping with sweat, having left a lovely 4" diameter sweat mark on the sheets.

I just haven't felt "right" lately. I was chalking it up to Claritin and allergies, which have been hammering me for the last few weeks. But I made myself stop taking Claritin a week or two ago and haven't felt any better.

Looking back over a bunch of draft posts for this particular blog, I see topics and notes like "What do I want to accomplish with my life?" and "What am I doing?". Clearly, I am not happy. A far cry from early March.

I've been working hard at a bunch of projects at work and at home. I've also been continuing to try and stay in shape. But I haven't seen much improvement lately (even some decline). Feels like I've been living underwater.

In poking around asking my friend the Internet, I have started to think maybe I am overtraining.

Workout Symptoms
  • Usual workouts feel more difficult (can't say, been changing things up. It's always hard)
  • Early fatigue during workouts (same)
  • Increased heart rate even though not working as hard (haven't been monitoring)
  • Decreased strength (a bit)
  • Decreased coordination (not sure)
  • Physical challenges seem too hard (oh yeah)
  • Decreased performance on strength, speed, or endurance testing (yup)
Physical Symptoms
  • Persistent fatigue (yes, but I feel like I'm always tired anyhow)
  • Ongoing muscle soreness (not much)
  • Loss of appetite (yes and no)
  • Increased aches and pains (yes)
  • Increase in overuse injuries (yes)
  • Frequent colds or infections (nope)
Nonphysical Symptoms
  • Difficulty sleeping (yes)
  • Feelings of irritation or anger (yes, unfortunately for my friends, family, and colleagues)
  • Feelings of depression (yes)
  • Lack of motivation (OH yes)
  • Fear of competition (I still don't fear competition)
  • Difficulty concentrating (what? Sorry, I wasn't paying attention. Yes)
  • Increased sensitivity to emotional stress (some)
I suppose at any given point during the last few months or years I might have answered "yes" to many of these items as well, but lately it seems worse. It's just like the color saturation of life has been dialed down a bit. The list just seems to resonate.

Maybe I need to take some time off from the gym. I've been basically trying to go every single day I could stand to go, and hitting it hard when I'm there, sometimes doing "bonus" cardio work if I felt like I hadn't been enough in a given week.

Like many other things in my life, I've probably been expecting too much (of myself and the world) and going overboard. Then again, maybe I'm just being lazy. Maybe it's all in my head?

So what to do? Overtraining is dealt with by resting and some "alternative training". Even the thought of it makes me nervous. I'm in Seattle now, I brought my running shoes (which certainly need replacing) with me so I could work out. 40 minutes of hardcore intervals, baby!

Maybe that anxiety/upset over potentially "slacking off" is indication enough that I'm burned out.

I wish I had someone I could bounce this off of who could relate (Isaac?) - but like many other pursuits in my life, I'm pretty sure I'm all alone here - I don't think any of my friends work out or exercise regularly, or at the level and intensity that I do (Joi?). Even talking about "overtraining" would result in laughter for most of them.

Regardless, I need me some serious sports medicine leg massage. And maybe a bourbon.

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