Are you overtraining? Signs to look out for and how to avoid it

It's natural to think that racking up endless miles will be beneficial to your cycling, but it's all too easy to overdo it and miss out on recovery…

Image shows a rider training.
(Image credit: Future)

Everyone feels tired sometimes, but what if it drags on into a feeling of persistent staleness? Are you doing too much and digging a hole? Tom Bell unpicks the difference between necessary fatigue and overtraining 

A few weeks ago I was approached by a 38-year-old cyclist looking for advice on overtraining. This rider – let’s call him Rob – had returned to training four years ago after an extended break and was now building up towards the cyclo-cross season. But he had noticed an unwelcome pattern in his training. Each time he put together a consistent eight to 12 weeks of hard work, he told me, he would then experience a lack of motivation, prolonged fatigue and an inability to complete his usual sessions. Freshness would return only after several weeks off the bike. Rob wondered whether he was becoming overtrained at the end of each training block. 

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