Teetering on the Overtraining Fence...


By Jason Crisp

As a health & wellness professional, personal trainer, and endurance sports coach i feel I must share my recent struggles.

As many of you know I’m training for Ironman Lake Placid on July 25 with the ultimate goal of qualifying for the world championships in Hawaii. This takes extreme amount of commitment and energy. However ones energy is limited. We need it for all areas of our life from family obligations, work, social, etc plus to handle other daily stressors.

The last few weeks I’ve had my blinders on and have been putting in some serious hard training. Nothing different from the past however I’m busier than the past so safe to say this past weekend put me over the edge of that energy balance. Original symptoms were edginess, lack of focus with daily things, slight performance decline, plus Sunday I verbally just said I can’t take any more. With that all said I should’ve backed off this week but continued to train hard mon-Wednesday all the while I started having anxiety/panic attacks in the middle of the night that didn’t allow for much sleep. These increased to happening during the day doing simple tasks. Fortunately yesterday I went and saw a great doctor (former endurance athlete who himself has experienced overtraining syndrome). He talked about the physiological reason things are happening to me. Basically with the mix of work, home life, constant stimulation from screens, and hard training my adrenal gland/hormones are out of wack causing sudden surges of cortisol & adrenaline hence the middle of the night anxiety attacks. Trust me it’s not a fun thing....

 Through a low dose anxiety drug plus talking with my support crew of family and friends today I already feel somewhat better. I know I’m on a fine line so will be taking at least 4 days off training then will come back with very light training leading into Lake Placid on the 25th. My goal is to be healthy enough upstairs to race and have fun with family & friends. If I’m not healthy enough then I’ll be their cheerleader. Long term physical and mental health is priority!

With all this said I know many of my Facebook friends are endurance athletes. With over 20 years of endurance racing & training I know how easy it is to keep pushing because we crave that adrenaline high we get from it. Please listen to your body and mind. It’s smart and will tell you when you need to back off for a few days. I saw/felt it coming but was stubborn and kept pushing. Remember sometimes the best thing you can do is rest or do some light activity outside or your primary sport.

Lastly to help me recover, I’ll be signing off Facebook and greatly limiting screen time. If you can relate or feel like you’re teetering on that overtraining fence reach out to someone within your support crew. They’ll most likely be able to see the signs.

Take care and strive for balance in your life!