Monitoring training in athletes with reference to overtraining syndrome

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Jul;30(7):1164-8. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199807000-00023.


Purpose: Overtraining is primarily related to sustained high load training, often coupled with other stressors. Studies in animal models have suggested that unremittingly heavy training (monotonous training) may increase the likelihood of developing overtraining syndrome. The purpose of this study was to extend our preliminary observations by relating the incidence of illnesses and minor injuries to various indices of training.

Methods: We report observations of the relationship of banal illnesses (a frequently cited marker of overtraining syndrome) to training load and training monotony in experienced athletes (N = 25). Athletes recorded their training using a method that integrates the exercise session RPE and the duration of the training session. Illnesses were noted and correlated with indices of training load (rolling 6 wk average), monotony (daily mean/standard deviation), and strain (load x monotony).

Results: It was observed that a high percentage of illnesses could be accounted for when individual athletes exceeded individually identifiable training thresholds, mostly related to the strain of training.

Conclusions: These suggest that simple methods of monitoring the characteristics of training may allow the athlete to achieve the goals of training while minimizing undesired training outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaerobic Threshold / physiology
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Morbidity*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Sports / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Syndrome


  • Lactic Acid