Persistent tiredness in athletes is a common symptom of overtraining syndrome (OTS). It’s a consequence of excessive periods of training with inadequate recovery. Fatigue, performance declines and mood changes are other common symptoms of the condition.
Failure to integrate appropriate recovery time into a periodized training programme is the most common cause of overtraining syndrome. Overtraining will occur where inappropriate recovery time is allowed between intensive bouts of exercise. Failure to allow the body to recovery substantially from the last bout of exercise means the recovery from the subsequent session becomes even harder. This gradually leads to a decline in preparedness to perform.
The most commonly found symptoms of overtraining syndrome are: decline in performance, persistant high levels of fatigue, decreased maximal heart rate, changes in blood lactate threshold, changes in the neuroendocrine eystem and sleep disturbance. Weight lifters and power athletes are common sufferers of OTS, and usually exhibit decreases in muscle power when lifting.
Once diagnosed treatment for OTS usually entails a period of complete rest from activity. In minor cases of the condition 48 hours of complete rest should be sufficient. In more sever cases up to a full week may be needed. A review of the athletes training programme and periodization and particularly the extent to which they integrate recovery periods into their routine is essential when cases of OTS present. Following a brief period of rest athletes can usually begin training again with renewed vigor and should see performance decrements experienced due to the condition reverse.