17:34 PM

Some Olympians struggle with overtraining syndrome. What is it?

Today.com discusses the diagnosis and treatment of overtraining syndrome and includes guidance from Marci A. Goolsby, MD, sports medicine physician at HSS.

According to Dr. Goolsby, "[Overtraining syndrome] can come with a variety of symptoms, but it's essentially where you can't recover and it sort of lingers on, so it's not just like feeling really tired after a hard workout but then by the time you go to your next workout you're fine.”

She continued, “It's where you get this progressive loss of energy and a performance impact and there can be a variety of other symptoms that people will get physically.”

Overtraining syndrome is more likely to affect elite athletes. She explained, “It can be really difficult, because there's a very fine line. You're constantly trying to push your threshold to improve, but sometimes you accidentally dip into the more negative side of that spectrum and that's when people start to have problems and the unfortunate thing is once it happens, it's not a quick easy fix.”

When diagnosing overtraining syndrome, Dr. Goolsby said, “Overtraining is what we call a diagnosis of exclusion, so we don't want to miss any other medical reasons that people may be having their symptoms. We will look for other things, including viral illnesses, nutritional and vitamin deficiencies, that kind of thing."

When the athlete returns to training, Dr. Goolsby underscored the importance of easing back into it. “When we do start back to training, we'll start at a much lower level, in terms of mileage and intensity and volume, than you did when you developed the symptoms. We'll slowly build up and really closely monitor to make sure the athlete is tolerating it appropriately.”

Dr. Goolsby suggested, “Taking general good care of yourself can hopefully decrease your risk of having these issues come up. Make sure you're getting good sleep and that you're fueling appropriately. ... We can't forget all three components: Training, sleep, and nutrition. ... all of those components are really important for your training, not just how many miles you run in a day. All of that needs to be taken into account when we're looking at treating and preventing overtraining."

She added, “Part of sports and training is being strong, always being strong, and so being able to recognize and verbalize to others when you need to have accommodations isn't always as easy as it sounds."

Read the full article at Today.com.