Psychological load from work, family and relationships can contribute to overtraining - here's how to avoid it

We ask a fatigue specialist what bike-related burnout really means, and how to avoid it

A female cyclist climbs out of the saddle in a pink top and white helmet with greenary in the background
(Image credit: Future)

Traditionally overtraining has been defined as a prolonged impairment in an athlete’s performance lasting for several months despite reducing the workload. As the name suggests, the chronic reduction in performance is due to excessive training without enough recovery. However, more accurately, it is the state of chronic fatigue, and most of the time it’s chronic mental fatigue.  

Of course, you have to exclude any underlying disease or pathological condition, by a process of exclusion – and if you find nothing, the diagnosis is overtraining.

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Samuele Marcora
Professor at the University of Bologna

A professor at the University of Bologna, Italy, Marcora specialises in the effects of physiology and psychology on fatigue and human performance.