Ooh Look! Something else that makes us sick

How to avoid overtraining syndrome

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

So, I'm beginning to scout out my next runcation. This made me take a trip down memory lane. That's when I remembered my last full marathon. It was in Istanbul, Turkey. That was the hardest race I've ever run from training to the finish line.

I thought about the fact that I trained all by myself, the fact that I didn't have a coach. The trip cost $10,000, so I was working double and triple time (remember I was a waitress and that's a lot of shifts), the fact that I was so stressed that in my down time, I just ate and drank ( I believe an entire order of wings and cakes from Max's Wine Dive). One time, after a long day of work and training, as I climbed into bed, I was literally shaking uncontrollably.

When I got to Turkey, I had to get over jet-lag. We got sick and had to run sick (but I did it) and one of my travel companions was flat out trippin (women!") if this sounds like a nightmare, it was! So why did this happen?

Full disclosure: I had a faulty training program and suffered from overtraining syndrome. I know, I know. You are asking yourself, is that a real thing? It's real and I don't want it to happen to you. I'm going to tell you what it is, how you can diagnose it on yourself, and some low cost home remedies and preventative measures you can take.

So, what is it? Basically, due to a poorly planned training, (for anything, not just running) there is an imbalance between workout and recovery. No matter how the imbalance is, the result is poor habits, poor performance, and injuries. What's interesting is, that overtraining syndrome affects the mental, emotional, nutritional, and neurological well being of the athlete.

So what can we do to prevent this from getting to our bucket list destinations? Here they are:

Hydrate:

We are told this so many times. I'm guilty too. Sometimes, it just doesn't happen. Water keeps our muscles and joints lubed up. It makes recovery easy and there is less chance we get sick. Drinking anti-oxidant rich drinks like tart cherry and pomegranate juice gives an added boost.

Rest:

I know, we got goals! We can power through anything! No matter how strong you are, you need rest. So what is rest? Here are some examples:

  1. Getting off your feet and reading a book.
  2. Baking some cookies. ( you earned it).
  3. Watching a movie.
  4. Going to eat with friends.
Whatever you do, no training. Just don't overdo it.
Sleep:
Sleep is so crucial. Especially training. This is where all the training you have done gets put to work. Your muscles get repaired. Your brain is reset and every morning, you get to wake up excited about your training.
Soak:
This is such a treat. There is nothing quite as nice as ripping open a fresh bag of Dr. Teal's Epson Salt, pouring it in a steamy tub of water as hot as you can stand, lighting candles, and taking a nice long soak. You lay there listening to Jill Scott while inhaling the relaxing scent of grapefruit with charcoal. It is great for your mind and eases sore muscles.
Stretching:
When you get out of the tub, this is a great time to stretch your muscles. During any training, you will get aches and pains. Stretching a warm muscle will keep your muscles pliable and with the right tension. This season, I'm going to pay extra attention to this one. Not stretching is where most injuries happen. If you don't know what to do, you tube has many stretching and yoga videos.
Foam RollIng:
This is the foam tube that you see at the gym propped against the wall in the trainer's station. Most people look at this tool dumbfounded. Basically, you lay on the roller in various positions to hit your muscles at the right pressure points. It perfectly assists stretching to keep you without injury. You can use one at your gym, but you can buy your own for about $25 to $75 at stores like Academy, Amazon, or Target.
So, let's set some goals and plan workout and recovery in our training. It's easy to get lazy, but with practice, we can form good training habits.


A little yoga in your life

Yoga tips, part 3: Sleep like a baby

Here are a few yoga poses that will help you ease into a restful night and sleep like a baby. Right before you go to sleep, begin your practice with the combination of these poses and deep breathing to calm the mind, your body will begin to release physical tension. This combination activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps counteract stress.

1) Restorative child's pose:

To come into the pose: sit on your shins, knees together (however if you are putting a pillow under tummy, spread the knees to insert pillow. Lay forward in Child's Pose resting the body over the knees or pillow. Arms can rest forward or behind, the head should take equal time being turned to each side. If needed, make sure you have enough space under the belly, to not strain the back. Hold this pose between 20 seconds and 2 minutes.

2) Supine Twist:

There are many health benefits to supine twist. Here are just a few. Help release lower-back,

Opens tight shoulders, elongates the supporting spinal muscles, improves digestion, and quiets the mind, just to name a few. To start this pose lay on your back. Hug your right knee into your chest. Take your left hand to your outer right thigh and guide your right knee to the left. Reach your right arm out to the right on the ground. You can stay with a neutral neck or, if it feels good, look to the right. You can keep your left hand on the ground.

3) Supta battakansana:

This is also known as reclining bound angle pose. Lay on your back on the floor. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet together. Lie back on your bolster and support your head with a blanket, so that your head is above your heart. Allow the knees to open and relax into the props. Hold for about 30 seconds up to 2 minutes. You also want to remember to breath 20-30 breaths during this time period.

4) Savasana:

This is also known as Corpse pose. You want to end your sequence with this pose and hold for either 3-10 minutes. Lie back, letting your legs and arms relax. Bring your attention to your breath and notice which nostril is clearer. To come out of the pose, draw your knees in toward your chest. Instead of automatically rolling to your right side, roll onto whichever side feels comfortable.

Try these 4 positions to help you fall asleep faster and get a restful night of sleep. A huge thank you to Nathalie Kosman who helped me throughout the yoga series. You can catch her at The Preserve, Fit Athletic Club and Equinox for private and group classes! Also on Instagram @Nathalie_kosman

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