We’ve all been there. Over-working, going that extra mile, putting in 110%, doing just that little bit extra… Be it at work, in sport, at school. In this post, I’m going to focus more specifically on the sporting aspect of things, but it remains relevant for everything and everyone. I’m no expert, but these are the top signs I notice in people who over-train and need a break.
Loss of motivation
Can you no longer be bothered to train? Have you lost your “why”? Do you simply no longer enjoy it? But you STILL push yourself and force yourself to get out the door and do it. If you’re nodding your head to any or all of these, then it might be time to take a break. If you lose your luster and feel indifferent to – or put off by – your sport, then it’s a clear sign that you’ve been going at it a bit too hard.
It becomes a chore…
This follows no nicely from the last one. Because you’re meant to enjoy it. And at the end of the day, if you no longer do, then it’s high time for a change. My ebook is titled “When passion becomes obsession” for a reason (click here to buy)! When the joy is taken out of the equation, it becomes a number game. It’s no longer a hobby but an addiction.
But you’re dependent on it
As with all addictions, along comes dependency. Even though you no longer enjoy it, by the same token you can’t imagine a life without it. If you stopped it, then who would you be? What would your purpose be? These are toxic thoughts that point to a detrimental relationship with your sport – and indicate a break would serve you well. Because if a day doesn’t go by where you’re not thinking about and practising your sport, then there’s clearly an issue here.
You hide how much you do
If you’re no longer (or never were) honest about your training to your friends/ family/ coach, then deep down you probably know you’re doing too much. Think back to the last time you completely abided by your coach’s plan. Without adding an extra mile here or there. Without rounding 35 minutes up to 40, 50 minutes up to an hour. I know what it’s like, because I’ve been there. Trust me, I get it. I really do. But this is a red flag. If you can’t be honest with others, how can you ever be honest with yourself? And how will you ever overcome your battles without self-honesty?
You define yourself by your sport
“I’m a runner”. “I’m a swimmer”. “I’m a tennis player”. We’ve all said it. It’s a perfectly normal thing to say. And it’s good to take pride in what you do. But if you take your sport out of the equation, do you still know who you are? Can you recognise yourself without the sport? Because let me tell you, you are SO much more. A break will allow you to reconnect with who YOU are. To catch up with old friends and make new ones. To discover new hobbies and interests. To become best friends with yourself again. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be ready to start again.
You’re constantly getting niggles (or worse)
This is by no means meant as an accusation. But if you’re always nursing a niggle or developing more serious injuries – like me last year – then it’s a clear indication that something isn’t quite right. All sports involve a certain degree of risk, sure. Some sports are higher impact – and therefore more injury prone – than others. However, getting injured once a month is not normal. It’s not fair on you, mentally or physically. An injury isn’t a sign of failure, it’s (typically) a sign of overuse. Too much volume and/or intensity, not enough recovery. Leading to your body breaking down (quite literally speaking). Listen to your body’s signals before it’s too late.
I hope you’ve found this post eye-opening. I know it was probably quite difficult to read for some of you, but if you think it applies to you – no matter how deep down – acknowledge that. Speak to a professional or someone you trust. Address your issues and work to become a healthier, happier, stronger version of yourself.
I’m right here for you.