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Is Overtraining Syndrome to Blame?

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Keri-Lee Schwiderson

Dr. Amy Miller Bohn, M.D.


UM Medical School

Sports Medicine,



Dept. of Family Medicine


If you are an athlete, you know the great rewards of hard work: perhaps you’ve just shaved ten seconds off your mile time if you’re a runner, you’re leading your basketball team in assists, or you just broke a record for most pass receptions in a football game. But what if you reach a point in your training where your performance has “hit the wall”, you feel exhausted, and other parts of your life are starting to suffer? Should you spend even more time on the track, court, or field perfecting your skills to perfection, or could cutting back a little bit on your training regimen be even more helpful? The answer may lie in whether or not you have a condition known as overtraining syndrome.

Although fatigue and a decrease in athletic ability are quite normal after a series of heavy training sessions, you should bounce back to normal after a few days of rest or lighter training. If, however, you still feel sore, tired, and your performance still suffers after a period of rest, you could have what is known as overtraining syndrome1. Since these symptoms could be indicative of other medical conditions, it is important that you talk to your team or personal physician to rule out causes other than overtraining syndrome.

Overtraining syndrome is often treated with a period of complete rest with the length of time dependent upon the amount of overtraining. Proper nutrition and relaxation techniques such as massage and yoga are also likely to be encouraged to help speed the healing process.

But remember – overtraining syndrome CAN be prevented by incorporating regular periods of rest and recovery into your training regimen! These recuperation periods are vital in order to allow your body to perform at its peak ability. Maintaining a training log may be a helpful way to keep track of your new training regimen and to ensure that your body is getting the rest it needs and deserves. Good luck!!


1.Hawley CJ, Shoene, RB. Overtraining syndrome: why training too hard, too long, doesn’t work. The Physician and Sportsmedicine. 2003;31: 47-48.



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