Exercise is a wonderful thing. It’s great for your health and well-being, both physically and mentally. However, it’s always possible to have too much of a good thing. That’s what happens when a runner is overtraining.
Overtraining occurs when a particular workout (or exercise in general) is performed way too much. In such instances, the body cannot adequately recover, meaning the excess exercise does more harm than good. Here are the seven major signs you might be overtraining.
It’s perfectly normal for your muscles to hurt some after a run, particularly if you pushed yourself hard. However, soreness should normally resolve within a day or two. If it doesn’t, your body has not properly recovered from the strain it underwent. Soreness that regularly lasts for over 72 hours is a strong indicator of overtraining. Aches and nagging pains that seem to never go away are also a warning sign.
Although it might seem paradoxical, training too much can easily result in lowered performance for a runner. The body (especially the muscles) requires plenty of rest to recover from exertion; if you push yourself too hard too often, you won’t be at your best physically. If you are repeatedly failing to complete normal, ordinary workouts, you may have overtrained. Watch for any other drop-offs in performance as well.
You’re getting sick more often
Overtraining puts a massive strain on the body. This can weaken the immune system, putting you at greater risk for illness. However, an increased occurrence of sickness should never be taken as clear proof of overtraining. The immune system can become compromised due to many different factors, including bad diet, anxiety, and poor-quality sleep.
A constantly elevated heart rate
A raised resting heart rate could indicate that your body is stuck in recovery mode. When the body is recuperating from a run, it must send oxygen to the tissue to facilitate healing.
If a runner is overtraining, their heart may have to pump at an elevated rate simply to get enough oxygen to damaged tissue.
Exercise make you feel terrible
After a workout, you should feel pretty good. While you’re likely to feel somewhat tired physically, you should not be utterly drained and exhausted.
If instead you feel dead on your feet and unhappy with your performance, you may be overtraining. In fact, chronic physical fatigue is one of the biggest signs for overtraining.
Running should be a positive experience, so be concerned if your motivation drops and you start to dread training.
If a runner is overtraining it can put great stress on a runners nervous system, in turn making it harder to reach the state of relaxation needed for quality sleep.
Problems associated with excessive weight training, such as difficulty focusing and feelings of restlessness or overexcitement, are particularly likely to disrupt sleep.
However, since there many different potential causes of insomnia, trouble sleeping can never be definite proof of overtraining.
An increase in injuries is one of the biggest signs of overtraining, especially if the same injuries are recurring.
When you are overtraining, you aren’t allowing your body time to truly recover from each punishing workout. As a result, the body remains in a weakened, injury-prone state.
Minor, nagging injuries may never get a chance to fully heal, and the risk for more significant injuries is increased.
If a runner is overtraining this is something that they should be concerned about. Besides diminished performance and the threat of injury, overtraining can completely sap your willpower and motivation.
If exercise becomes a miserable experience, sticking with your workout regimen can become almost impossible.
Luckily, it usually isn’t that hard to solve an overtraining problem. The thing to do is simply to cut back on your running, since overtraining represents an imbalance between exercise and rest. Try switching a few training sessions for swimming, this will be easier on your body, but swimming can have a very positive effect on a runners performance.
In fact, taking a whole week or more off may be wise. Giving the body time to truly recover is important. A change in mindset is probably necessary too; just remember that with exercise, less can be more.
If you simply listen to your body and take any signs of overtraining seriously, you should ultimately be fine.