Is It Overtraining or Under Planning?

Jul 25, 2022

I had a comment on the site from a coach who was worried about overtraining athletes by doing lower body work and speed work on the same day. As I started to lay out the logistics of what we do I found myself writing the statement that became the title of this article.

Don't worry about overtraining, worry about underplanning!

This does not mean that overtraining is not real, or doesn't happen. It just means that careful planning and thoughtful progression should help to avoid overtraining.
Our entire summer program is written out at the start of the summer. In my younger days when I was less sure of myself I actually had a column for totals yards of both sprints and conditioning. I was very careful not to increase yardage by more than 20% in any week. I tried to stay to 10% but that was unrealistic beginning in low volume weeks.

In addition, I tend to not increase running volume ( as measured by diatnce run in yards) at all in transition weeks. Our first hard conditioning workout might actually be 600 yds ( 4x150 shuttle) even though the previous week might have been 1000-1400 yds of tempo. Volume drops significantly as intensity increases. And then begins to build again. This avoids overtraining.

Our plyo volume stays nearly the same all summer. We increase intensity by making the jumps more difficult but, we stay at in the 15-25 foot contacts per day range all summer.  The key for us at MBSC is to pre-plan everything.  That is why if you look at our summer program it doesn't change much from year to year. I feel like we have come up with a formula that works. It really is nothing more than the progressive resistance exercise concept applied to everything.

Sprints- We do a very low volume of sprints, usually 6 sprints two times per week. We begin with 5 yard starts and then progress to ball drops in phase 2.  Ball drops tend to be 5-7 yards but have a little competitive aspect. They are also very self limiting. We finish with chase sprints in phase 3- and 4 from various start positions..

Jumps- We start with a low volume beginning with jumping up to decrease eccentric stress. There are no rebound type jumps until phase 3. We do approximately 15 foot contacts per day, 4 times a week, progressing difficulty instead of volume.

Conditioning- is done four times a week in the summer. In other words we condition every day.  We have two running days and two slideboard days. We start with tempo runs and build some volume in the first 3 weeks. We then switch to shuttles in week 4 and build volume by 150 yds per week.

It's all in the planning. Know your numbers, know your volumes and you will be fine.

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