Wednesday, January 16, 2008

POMS and the art of overreaching!

Some of my friends from back home are a little concerned I might be overreaching a bit for the moment and I totally agree!
As mentioned earlier in this blog, I have no particular and narrow goals with the training performed during this stay in Tucson. Other than having a great time, enjoy the scenery, meeting new people and discovering the limits of my poor mid-life physique.
I might be curious, but I´m not a clear cut risk and border seeking personality. Most people that know me would probably find me a bit boring/monotonous and unwilling to take risk and steps into the unknown. As annoyingly unorganized I may appear to people who have to work and live with me for an extended period, I also have a few areas where I´m pretty obsessive and goal oriented.
One of my favourites obsessions is navigating in the deep waters of overtraining:

  • The rewarding satisfaction of a great achievement, if you get out unharmed...

  • The dangers can be deep fatigue, a feeling of depression and a general negative view on life!

I´ve put myself in this situation before, with great satisfaction, in my most training intense period of my early encounter with triathlon. Of all endurance sports, triathlon probably has the greatest potentiale for overtraining and that could explain why a lot of persons with Obsessive Compulsory Disease or other lighter abuse problems end up doing/abusing endurance sports.

I don´t consider myself immun to overreaching or overtraing, just because I´ve been there occasionally and seen others doing the deathmarch, but I have one great advantage: I don´t have to do this if I don´t think it´s fun, rewarding or character developing.

Back home I´ve dreamt about indulging myself in heavy training, just for the purpose of doing it. Feel how life feels on the edge and sail the unchartered waters of my personel physique and ability to handle fatigue and unpleasantness.

On of the methods of measuring your mood is the POMS test: Profile Of Mood States.

The POMS test assesses six mood states: TENSION, DEPRESSION, ANGER, VIGOUR, FATIGUE and CONFUSION.

You score (or self assess, in my case) the six moods and, hopefully, come out with below average scores for the five negative moods and above average for the Vigour - thereby producing an "Iceberg profile". If, on the other hand, you produce a inverted iceberg profile, scoring high on negative emotions and low on vigour, it´s time to adjust your training, nutrition, rest, daily chores or get rid of your wife/husband/job!

Unfortunately, you´re probably the most incompetent person to assess your own situation and that´s why there´s a test protocol, that your trainer will have you go through every week or so. I´ll just try to be self assessing an honest to myself untill burn out is a reality!

So, this morning I woke up after a near full sleep (poor sleep is an early warning) and just felt stiff legged and moderately tired. Some lurking around the house, coffee and some left over haricot verts got me ready for the 9 am run up and down Skyline. 15 km/1.07 later I was back, somehow invigorated - probably the endorphins. Ate some food, took a nap and told Skiles I wanted to ride alone today as I was tired and wanted to ride at my own pace.

After a nap and some loud early The Clash, I headed North to Oracle. It´s a major false flat for 30 miles and 500m of vertical elevation. Turned around after 2 hrs and cruised back with + 25 mph and HR not above 100 bpm. I made a poor choice of a shortcut and ended up doing 101km/3.40.

Tomorrow I should certainly have a rest day and pick up the pace again for a great lon weekend, but we´ll see how I feel...

BTW, Brett Sutton said " There´s no such thing as overtraining. If people can´t handle the training regime, they´re just not ready for it yet.".

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