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Sportive Training Plans - balancing the demands of training

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Published 3 January 2013


You can do too much of a good thing and, with other demands on your life such as work and family adding to the strain, training can become counterproductive and start weakening your body.

The British Cycling Sportive Training Plan is designed to be progressive and, as long as close attention is paid to session duration, intensity and rest days are adhered to, overtraining shouldn’t be an issue.

However everyone is different and, with varying physiological make-ups and different levels of non-exercise stresses, keeping an eye out for the classic signs of overtraining is essential.

If you find yourself exhibiting more than two or three of the signs described below for more than a couple of consecutive days, take an extra rest day and reduce training volume by 50% for the rest of that week. If necessary, repeat that training week rather than moving ahead. Keep a daily note of these factors and be aware of any sudden chances or lasting trends.

Persistent illness
Struggling to shake off colds and sniffles can be a sign that your immune system is compromised and you’re overdoing it.

Resting heart rate
A sudden drop or rise of more than 5-10 beats per minutes in waking resting heart rate can indicate illness or overtraining.

Rapid weight loss
Weight loss of more than 1 kg per week should be looked upon with suspicion.

Poor sleep
If you’re struggling to get to sleep or inexplicably waking, backing off the training could be a good idea.

Excessive muscle soreness
Sore muscles are normal after a tough ride but, if the soreness lingers or your legs constantly feel heavy, ease off.

Irritability and poor mood
Exercise should improve your mood but, if you’re unusually snappy or starting to dread training sessions, you could need some extra rest.

So keep a check on how you are feeling and make sure you are not over training, this week will be a hard week so keep an eye out in week 16 for the above.

Interested in British Cycling’s Sportive Training Plans but can’t access them?
Join British Cycling today
for only £2 a month for access to this fantastic training tool!

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