How often do you hear them say about fighters, "He had a 102 degree temperature yesterday but he's here today. Wow, what a warrior."
I notice them say that all the time. Can anyone say, "overtraining?"
Now, I read in an article from Sherdog, "When you add in the fact that, according to people close to Ortiz, he was hospitalized for dehydration just over a week before the fight while fighting off an illness, it just makes you appreciate, even more, the dedication he has always shown to the sport."
I don't know for sure if Ortiz was overtrained, but it's a darn good candidate.
So, my question is one of volume. How do you balance sparring, drilling, S&C, ect. so as to not overtrain?
This is the question that gets asked over and over in every discipline. It's completely individual. Each person will be able to handle different amounts of work, and that amount of work will vary even for them from week to week and month to month.
The key I think is keeping accurate records of training, nutrition, sleep, bodyweight, body comp, etc. so you can actually go back and analyze what's happening. Too many times people make wild adjustments to their training every 2 weeks, but it's based on nothing substantive, just shots in the dark. If you have records, you can see correlations between feeling like shit and a given volume/intensity/type of training, poor nutrition, poor sleep, etc., and make intelligent changes to compensate.
As Greg mentioned it's going to be different for everyone. It's not overtraining....it's "under recovery". So things like nutrition, gut health, sleep, muscle repair, etc are a huge part. A day/week off could do wonders for someone.
One of the commentators (Joe Rogan? Randy Coture?) mentioned that Tito has a serious problem of over training, hence the frequent back and knee injuries and apparently the occasional cold. He is obviously a driven and hard working guy but it's vitally important to show up on game day recovered. I've talked to Eva T a bunch about her competitive skiing and she mentioned that people who trained less than she frequently did better in competition because they were not over trained.
That said some interesting studies of elite judo players showed they were virtually ALWAYS over trained. The key was tapering for competition and allowing for some super-compensation to elevate your game. Tough stuff to do and more voodoo than science. I think this also illustrates a place in which performance, health and longevity part ways. Chronic inflammation, pain and soreness are NOT conducive to health and longevity but appear to be crucial for elite performance. We should get Brad in on a micro-array company that estimates potential over-training...
in my experience. . .
I seriously over trained (for my level of recovery tactics) for my last fight. I consider it one of the primary reasons I lost it.
For me it started with beginning heavy training 12 weeks before the fight. Our whole team peaked right around 6 weeks after starting (duh.) and then injuries, burn out, and lack of motivation started to take a toll. We tried to rally the last couple of weeks before the fight, but I don't think we succeeded.
Greg mentions records and tracking. That is pretty damn important. Also, establishing a baseline (that is different for every athlete). This will set the 'normal' schedule, and provide the 'spring board' for the rest of the training.
Everyone's balance is a little different, but your "day to day" training should include a little of everything, spending time focusing on your weaknesses. The key here is that you should be able to maintain your baseline indefinately. There might be mini surges to help overcome stagnation and plateaus, but the average should be either slighting increasing in training time/intensity (at the beginner/intermediate phases) or staying about the same (at elite/professional phases).
Endless articles have been written about ramping up for an event (articles written by people a lot smarter than me). From what know about the fight game, a good stategy is to try and get at least 8 weeks notice for a big event. The first 3-4 weeks should involve a lot of sparring and fighting at high intensity. There is a higher possibility of injuries when doing this (if not, you aren't going hard enough) so you don't want to do it within 4 weeks of the event. I also like to use fresh sparring mates to train my fighters as much as possible ("fresh" as in not tired. They are much less likely to injur the primary athlete than partners that are just as tired or more tired). The more 'fresh' partners with experience per session, the better. This is a luxury that many people don't get (unless you come from a fairly large group, and only a few people are training for the next event).
Depending on the baseline conditioning, S&C should take a back seat to just sparring. Right now it is the time for the coach(es) to take notice of strengths, weaknesses, and to develop strategies and tactics.
The next phase is to bring back some more S&C and lighten the sparring intensity. The primary 'workout' portion should be happening outside of the matches to minimize the risk of injury. This should also leave more time to devote to drills, and to fill in any gaps or develop new skills.
The last phase (usually the last two weeks) is the time to hone in on skills and drills, and really use the S&C to make sure that the athlete is ready on that front. Freestyle sparring should only be done in a very controlled environment (if at all). Depending on the athlete, some people take a few days off entirely before an event, some train right up to, it all depends.
Which brings me to my next point. . . if it is possible, it is a good idea to 'mock' events for athletes who don't have anything scheduled for a while. This is easy to do with 'teams' of fighters because the guys who aren't scheduled to fight can practice ramping up and training for a fight along side of their teammate. This experience can be huge, and teach the coach and the fighter a lot about how that particular athlete will respond to the training.
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