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  #1  
Old 11-02-2011
AlMalika AlMalika is offline
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Default Overtraining?

Hi Total Immersion-Freaks,

I'm a 41-year old woman and I love swimming a lot (this should be nothing new in this forum). I swim all 4 strokes and I extended my training this year from 1 - 2 per week up to 3 per week. In June I started to feel exhausted, had problems with my sleep and felt dizzy after training. I consulted a doctor and he said I work (in my job) too much.

Then I reduced training from 3 per week to 2 per week. Two weeks ago I went jogging for 45 minutes (something I never did for the last few years). Immediately after the training I felt good and swam the two following days. After that a total breakdown came.

Now I feel dizzy again, very very exhausted, I'm short on breath when climbing stairs and suffer from an overall fatigue. My muscles (especially in the upper body - breast, arms and chest) are aching. Has anyone experienced this problem? I went to the doctor again and he said (again) I work too much and I should reduce stress. Now I'm desperated. I don't want to give up my beloved swimming.

My training pattern:
3 - 4 times per week strechting and light weight training (swimming related)
3 times per week swimming (all 4 strokes up to an hour with drill practices for every stroke)
1 relaxing day

I work in shifts in my job but I try to get enough sleep (min. 8 hours or more). In May I had a cold with swollen lymph nodes. This was treated with antibiotics and I didn't do any sports during this time.

So can anybody help? Is this overtraining?

Thanks for all replies I get.

Petra

Last edited by AlMalika : 11-02-2011 at 01:51 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-02-2011
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Servus Petra,

Back again!
How is your knee?

Sorry to hear that, you should't give up swimming, of course.
Your question: that is a bit difficult to answer. I think that amount of workout/swimming that you do is not enough to qualify for overtraining. I am 57 now and I had times where I swam every day for 1,5 hours and had no problem with it (of course working every day).

There can be physical and psychological reasons, usually the name fatigue syndrom is given. I sometimes suspect this name is given because of a lack of a precise diagnosis. I think it is good to first check for lacking of Vitamins etc. The vitamin B group, iron, etc.
Only after that I think it is useful to think of psychological stress. If your doctor doesn't find anything I would go for at least a second opinion.


But I am no doctor... Maybe you get some more substantial help.


All the best!
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  #3  
Old 11-02-2011
AlMalika AlMalika is offline
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Hi,

how are you? My knee is o. k. now. It took a long time to heal but now it's alright. I've paused for 4 days now. The symptoms are still there but it's getting better. I underwent a comprehensive blood testing procedure but all they said to my was: "There is nothing. You are absolutely o. k. Don't work that much and reduce stress".

Tomorrow I will resume swimming at a very slow pace and I will see how it works. If I don't feel good I will stop. Maybe it's a virus or something which is bringing me down in addition to training? I guess the doctors (I went to different ones) just don't have a clue what's wrong with me. That's why I'm diagnosed with depressive exhaustion.
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Old 11-02-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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You need to find a doctor who is willing to put in a little more time & effort to help you.
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USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
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  #5  
Old 11-02-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlMalika View Post
Hi,

"There is nothing. You are absolutely o. k. Don't work that much and reduce stress".

....

I guess the doctors (I went to different ones) just don't have a clue what's wrong with me. That's why I'm diagnosed with depressive exhaustion.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when a doctor says, "there's nothing wrong". Obviously something is going on or you wouldn't be asking for help. The blood tests may all fall within normal ranges, but then their response should be, "the blood test don't show any major abnormalities"

That being said, exhaustion due to depression is also a legitimate diagnosis...but if this is your diagnosis, the doctors shouldn't say or give the impression that they don't have a clue what's wrong with you (therefore it must be ...)

Your doctor may be doing all the proper tests, but you need to find a doctor who can communicate with you in a way that you understand. If your self-understanding is "They have no idea what's wrong with me" you are going to have a much more difficult time recovering, even if the true diagnosis IS depression with fatigue.
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Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #6  
Old 11-02-2011
AlMalika AlMalika is offline
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Hi Suzanne,

you're absolutely right. I am by no means a person who is seeking medical advice when it's not absolutely necessary. I hate this!

If the diagnosis is depression with fatigue - o. k.. He sent me to see a psychologist.

I'm swimming and doing sports since over 20 years now and I always had this pattern of training. I never had a problem with it. This IS THE REASON why I went to a doctor. Of course everybody is getting older but I really don't know (well I can't believe) if this is just overtraining or something else.

Anyway....... Thank you Suzanne.
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  #7  
Old 11-03-2011
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlMalika View Post
...
I'm swimming and doing sports since over 20 years now and I always had this pattern of training. I never had a problem with it. This IS THE REASON why I went to a doctor. Of course everybody is getting older but I really don't know (well I can't believe) if this is just overtraining or something else.
...
Yes, everybody is getting older. That starts right after we are born ;-)
As it is said, age is just a number. 41 is not a big number. My mother is 91. She is old, yes. But she still plays tennis. She loves it. One of her neighbours is 95. Amazingly fit.
The highest age group in masters swimming is 100-105.
And 41 is a great age anyway. You are not so young anymore (in a good sense), you are not so naiv anymore, you collected some experience, some wisdom, you are physically fit (ought to be!), supposed to be in good shape. A great age.
Just rule out age. That's ridiculous.
And rule out overtraining. That's ridiculous as well.

Depression, yes. If you are used to be physically active and this doesn't work anymore - that alone is a reason to get depressed. Additionally running around with the feeling that something is wrong and not being taking seriously, especially by the doctor - does not make it better. And the days are getting shorter (For you Trans-Atlantics who are known for their competence in Geography (just joking): Germany is latitude wise located somewhere from around the border between Canada and the US (49. lat) up to somewhere in the north of Canada. In the wintertime here you get up and it's dark, you go to work, it's dark, you come back from work - it's dark again (working shifts might help here) ). So at some point a diagnosis of 'depression' will inevitably and ironically become correct.
But it doesn't help you. And the psychologist will not help either.
One of my own experience with being depressed is that physical activity helps. It's unlikely that the reason for your state is depression.
In the small town where I am living is a psychosomatic clinic. A friend of mine spent three months there. The usual suspects of Depression and co. She is of that kind that always psychologizes everything, that Therapeutic kind of person. In the beginning she enjoyed not having to work and being cared for, in the middle she started to find it ridiculous and in the end she was rather bored and found it completely absurd. And felt a bit guilty that the health insurance paid three months of tralala for her.
One way to overcome depression: get bored with it.

Anyway, I would go for the physical part of it. From what you are describing it is very likely that there is a physical reason. Try to get a better doctor, definitely, Doc Sue made a good point there. I think that is the most important. Don't let them tell you there is nothing. There is something, you know it, you know yourself (the advantage of having collected a few years in this body :-) Working shifts is known not to be the best for your health, particular the sleep can get bad: But I think you know if that is the reason or not. Of course, if you can change it would be good. But maybe this is not possible. Got to wait until you are old to get off shifts ;-)
What you are describing sounds a bit like a CFS (chronic fatigue syndrom), but that is a diagnosis found through exclusion. It has the big disadvantage that there is no general proven treatment. You still end up with checking individually about what to do. You got to be a little stubborn with your doctors, unfortunately something you might not feel like at all.
I would also check for dietary supplements, vitamins and vital substances. What modern medicine thinks is sufficient can already cause you substantial symptoms.
You can try it out. Change you diet, e.g., try whatever, something other than you usually do. Check the web. Old-fashioned Dr. Bircher-Benner could be a good try.
And try Vitamin C. The usual minimum dosis per day is a complete joke. Also Vitamin B12 and co is always a good bet. But don't use chemical ones, get natural ones. A lot and for a longer period. There are only few vitamins that you shouldn't overdose.
Unfortunately our food these days gets less and less nutritious.
On this website some gathered a lot of information about food supplements (sorry, it's in German).
I don't know if that is of any help. But you got nothing to lose, don't you ?
And I think it is good to do something about it.
There is a reason, and it is possible to find it.

All the best and hang on in there...
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  #8  
Old 11-03-2011
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Hi, Sorry you are feeling less than perfect.

I do not think that depression would account for the dizziness. And if you love swimming then find a way to keep going. Maybe your therapy could be to get a water MP3, fill it full of debussy or similar calm yet powerful music and just enjoy the lengths and the water in a dolphin like way.

I get dizzy sometimes after training, or used to and concluded there were three factors.

Overdose on health food and not enough sugars and fats.

Dehydration - Most of us drink much less at poolside than we would on bike so I try to load up at least 1.5ltr of water an hour before my swim and accept the need for a comfort break mid training.

Overheating - What is your pool temperature? Hot pools and swimming caps can cause my head to really overheat

hope you feel well again soon.
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  #9  
Old 11-03-2011
AlMalika AlMalika is offline
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Thank you to all who are trying to help me. Especially haschu33. You are great.

Dehydration is out of the question. I had this problem a few years ago when I felt even more spinning around than today. I started drinking a lot before and after training. Since then it's better. My pool temperature is 26° C. In fact to hot for fly and speed training. Sometimes I go to another pool which is even warmer (I think 28° C or something). There are only these two pools close to my hometown. All the others are crap (please excuse this word...)

Well...... I hope slow pace training will help. Today I was in the pool for 40 minutes. My regular pool time is minimum 1 hour. I enjoyed every stroke (all but fly - I just feel too weak for that) but I was damn slow. A child would be faster.

Now I check my diet and on Monday I will go to another blood test. The last one!! If there is no result and the doctor just tells me the reduce-stress-thing I try to find another one. There is a proverb in Germany that says:

Help yourself and you are very well cared for.
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  #10  
Old 11-03-2011
FrankJ FrankJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlMalika View Post
Thank you to all who are trying to help me. Especially haschu33. You are great.

Dehydration is out of the question. I had this problem a few years ago when I felt even more spinning around than today. I started drinking a lot before and after training. Since then it's better. My pool temperature is 26° C. In fact to hot for fly and speed training. Sometimes I go to another pool which is even warmer (I think 28° C or something). There are only these two pools close to my hometown. All the others are crap (please excuse this word...)

Well...... I hope slow pace training will help. Today I was in the pool for 40 minutes. My regular pool time is minimum 1 hour. I enjoyed every stroke (all but fly - I just feel too weak for that) but I was damn slow. A child would be faster.

Now I check my diet and on Monday I will go to another blood test. The last one!! If there is no result and the doctor just tells me the reduce-stress-thing I try to find another one. There is a proverb in Germany that says:

Help yourself and you are very well cared for.
Hi,

I also have similar symptoms to the ones you described and I have another friend who does. My exercise regime consists of swimming on average 2 times/week, 30 minutes each time, leisurely. Immediately following exercise, I feel good. Usually, but not always, the day after I have symptoms including mental fogginess and exaustion. One of the ‘official’ names used to label this is ‘post-exertional’ malaise. You will find a lot of stuff on the interent, for the most part confusing and an inconclusive waste of time.

Regarding the cause, I have no clear response. As it has been pointed out here, post-exertional malaise is one of the hallmarks of CFS, but then, this is not really of any immediate practical use. I don’t think vitamins will make a difference. In developed countries, nutrition nowadays is much better than it has ever been-sure we eat a lot of trash, but I believe you won’t find manifest deficiencies and it doesn't sound like it would be your case. And I’m sure we all know people that regularly exercise without experiencing similar issues, in spite of eating a lot of crap. Also if a vitamin deficiency was the primary cause, you wouldn’t have developed these symptoms unless you changed your diet, which I understand it is not the case.

A good friend of mine is an experienced consultant specialised in neuromuscular diseases. She the symptoms may be the manifestation of different possible conditions, including late-onset disorders of muscle metabolism, the causes of which are not always easy to pin down. However, she suggested some tests that can be informative, I don’t know if they can be of any interest to you, but just in case, they are: CK (creatine kinase), basic chemistry panel (electrolytes and glucose), plasma lactate, plasma pyruvate, plasma amino acids, urine organic acids, free and total carnitine, acylcarnitine profile, VLCFA (very long chain fatty acids), basic urinalysis (to check for ketones). These, she tells me, are typically run for patients that will present with symptoms of excessive fatigue following exercise. It might also be appropriate to check for problems with the heart and the thyroid.

For the time being, in the absence of a clear solution, the way I deal with the problem is to manage carefully the duration and intensity of the work. For instance, I limit my swimming to 2-3 times/week, 30’ moderate intensity each time. Thus, as a temporary measure, you may want to try and carefully calibrate the frequency and intensity of your exercise sessions. In the meantime, you could ask your Dr if it wouldn’t cause him too much post-exertional fatigue to prescribe you the above or other tests for you, as they offer at least a slight chance to give you an indication of what is going on - certainly a better chance than the one you get by being told that there is something wrong with your head.

Please PM me if you would like to talk more in detail, there is not much help I can offer but maybe something at some point can be figured out.
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