• How much of Overtraining is Mental?

      I remember an old topic on the Supertraining list that posed this very same question. How much of overtraining is mental?
      By overtraining, I mean the process that begins with over-reaching. It typically starts with an overactive Sympathetic nervous system, possibly unexplained weight loss, irritability, poor sleep, unusual soreness / pain, etc.
      I have long been of the mindset that a great deal of overtraining is mental. Are there physiological processes involved? Sure. But how much of it originates in the mind? How much of it is because you believe you are doing too much, etc? Reference the previous thread about the power of belief.
      Let me just say outright that I don't think I have the answer here. I'm just rambling to see if it takes us anywhere and hoping that someone else will chime in when they can.
      There are certainly physical changes that occur in the body when we do "too much" training. We can see those markers in the blood. Inflammation, etc... you get the idea. It certainly exists. The question is where does it originate? Does it originate in the muscle or in the mind?
      After reading this thread, I have come to think that it's a two way street. Some signals occur in the body and signal up the chain to the brain. Other signals occur in the brain and travel down to the muscle tissues. If that's true what are some of the implications? On one hand, it puts partial responsibility for things such as overtraining symptoms on the beliefs (or rather doubts) of the individual. On the other hand, it would suggest that at least some of overtraining is physical and not mental at all. There are eventually limitations with the human body.
      So what are the practical implications here? What should this mean to me as an athlete or a coach if I begin seeing overtraining indications? One extreme is to stop stressors and focus purely on restoration until the symptoms cease. The mentality here is that the body cannot recover from the workload and won't until stress is reduced to a manageable level. If this doesn't occur, symptoms are believed to only get worse.
      Another extreme is to ignore overtraining indications completely and soldier on. The mentality here is that most of these symptoms, whether they originate in body or mind, are something that must be pushed through. They say that the body has a tremendous capacity to recover and it will do so if it's pushed. They suggest that, like soreness, if you don't push through the symptoms, they will just keep coming back. Then your work capacity never improves, you never get asked to the prom, etc.
      My question to you all is very open ended this time. What do you think about any of this? How much of overtraining is mental? How much is physical? What should you do if overtraining indications arise? Give me your thoughts and I'll share mine.