Over training 7 days straight

Hi, just wondered how easy it is to over train? Do you think it is sustainable to do 7days a week for a short while?
I had a nasty virus and have had 3-4weeks of taking it easy. This week I was starting to feel better on the bike and done 7 fairly easy days and seem to be coping well. I was on a mid volume plan doing 5 rides a week and 2-3 were tough 90minute ones. This week I have been on Zwift and doing a harder group ride of about 40mins than the following day a gentle z2 ride and was thinking of trying this for a couple of weeks to get my fitness back. Can anyone see any potential issues with alternating a shorter harder day followed by a gentle spin the next and just alternate?

Yes, you never give your body time to really rest. Also, it’s really easy to make your really easy day’s, too hard. Z2 endurance is not rest!

I’ve had some health issues in December and January and looking back at it I think it was overtraining. Looking back it’s still baffling how I felt the strongest I’ve ever been on a bike, to not worth anything on a bike within a week. It can really hit you like a hammer. Word of advice it to be really careful with your body. Two months of the bike hurt a lot more then 2 rest days a week. (which are actually good and the days you get faster).

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You need easy days but there is nothing wrong with training every day - provided some of them are really easy…zone 2 isn’t easy - especially north of 90 mins but you don’t have to have a day off - spinning at 50-60% FTP may actually make you feel better. That said we are all an experiment of 1 so it’s what works for you. I tend to do something everyday - ride/run/weights but keep an eye on how I feel.

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That’s what I’m debating normally I’d just do some stretching on my 2 rest days. However doing a 60% effort for 60-75mins has had me feeling really good this week. So not sure if it’s sustainable I guess the only way to find out is to try it, but would’ve liked to have heard how others had got on

I dont have any real answers…but after years of workouts feeling brutal, experiencing burnout at some point every year, and fitness stagnating…I’m reversing my approach this year. Not necessarily reducing volume…but i am going to err on the side of too easy, too little intensity every week this year.

I dont know how long it takes for me to dip into overtraining…when it happens, or what it feels like. All I know is that consistently, and inexplicably…I just cant complete workouts anymore, or certainly not without a supreme effort. I’ve sort of arrived at this through process of elimination.

If I’m pulling out all the stops and digging deep to finish any interval than the last one of a workout, the intensity is getting dialed back. I’m setting my FTP by feel, rather than ramp test (though I’ll probably do a few to check progress over the year). Already dialed back FTP by 23 watts…and things feel much more manageable now.

Anyway…this is a long way of saying…I’m starting to believe the benefits of flirting with overtraining isnt worth it…the risk/reward proposition should push one firmly towards being conservative here. I think…

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Why, it will only make you weaker?

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Is not overtraining.

You will not get overtrained by doing 7 days straight. But you might ‘overreach’. That being said, you likely shouldn’t do too many high intensity intervals (which it seems you aren’t).

Remember, that you become stronger when you recover from overloading the body. I am not sure the final word is said whether non-functional overreach can be useful in driving adaptions. Personally, I’d err on the cautious side.

Overreach and overtraining:

  • Functional overreaching is the when the training load eventually leads to improvements in performance after recovery.
  • Non-functional overreaching occurs when the balance between training load and recovery is insufficient and performance gets worse.
  • Overtraining is simply a verb to describe continued training load which is too high and/or when recovery is insufficient.
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In terms of how “easy” it is to overtrain - it is very hard. Most recreational athletes simply cannot overtrain due to a lack of time. Overtraining syndrome, or OTS, is continuous non-functional overreaching. It takes a tremendous volume and intensity of training to get into the OTS territory, and if that point it reached, it may very well be career ending. The term “overtraining” gets thrown around a lot, but it’s not a state you just slip into once in a while due to a lack of rest days. It takes an extreme training load, often coupled with undernourishment and insufficient rest for long periods of time before OTS becomes a concern. Recovering from clinically diagnosed OTS is extremely hard, and it is very probably that one may never return to the same level of sport/fitness.

With this said, training 7 days a week can get you into non-functional overreaching, which just means you’ll be doing a lot of training for no actual benefit. You can do the training, but you don’t really improve. Alternatively, you really take your easy days easy, and maybe your life isn’t very stressful at all, so 7 days a week may work just fine for a while. I, for example, typically do blocks of 9-13 days between rest days. I recover just fine, my life outside of training is not stressful, I eat plenty, sleep plenty, and my fitness trends upwards quite rapidly at the moment. There is no magic in a 7 day week, but at some point, given that you train with some sort of intensity, your body will need more than 20-23 hrs to recover between workouts. Take some time to experiment - if you like longer training blocks - then go with it if your life allows for proper recovery.

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I “train” pretty much everyday but at least two sessions / week I take it really easy (short z1/2 ride or just walking and some yoga). I feel like taking a complete day off of any physical activity makes me feel worse than doing at least something.

But as others have mentioned, you really can’t do proper workouts every day. Doing some planned overreaching periods are fine but in.the end your body takes what it needs (rest) - one way or another.

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