How do you know if you are overtraining?

Have you ever been an overtrainer?

I have.

I went through a period where I wanted to train and train, and my times got really good and I didn’t want to rest because I was worried I would lose my fitness (in one day yeah!).

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my running and my going to the gym. I have found that now I have relaxed a bit more about it  all, and am not stressing about whether I miss a run or whether I am slow – that my running and general well being has improved. I’m still pushing hard and running and doing classes but my attitude is different and I take rest days 🙂

How do you know if you are overtraining?

The way I know now from experience of overtraining now is that:

  • I am tired and lethargic all the time and it’s an effort to even get out of bed let alone to get to training
  • I find that my running times get slower rather than faster even though I am training hard
  • I get very grumpy and irritable. My poor husband cops it, although he knows now to hide and leave me alone!
  • I get sick and then sick again and always seem to feel sick and not 100% – I went through a period of training really hard but I would hit a plateau and get sick and get knocked back down again and then have to work to get back to where I was
Did you know there is actually an overtraining syndrome? There’s quite a lot of research that has been done into it and many elite athletes suffer with it as do us normal people. It’s basically defined as ‘a collapse in performance that occurs when the body gets pushed beyond its capacity to recover’, and the issue is often not a problem of too much training, but of too little rest according to Kristen Dieffebbach, PHD – an assistant professor of athletic coaching at West Virginia University.
Many of my friends and myself also have very busy lives and we fit our training in by juggling schedules and getting up at unearthly hours, so we are at risk of overtraining and not resting enough as much as anyone else. It’s an issue I have become more and more aware of since being in Australia. Fitness is a big thing here if you are into it, it’s all or nothing.
There isn’t a magic pill to take to ensure you don’t overtrain, it’s just common sense really. make sure you rest and have a good work, life and exercise balance. I don’t claim to be an expert on these matters but just go on what I have been through or witnessed.
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One thought on “How do you know if you are overtraining?

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  1. good post Zoe, and the point is we often don’t that’s why it’s important to have someone else tell us to ease back. The other thing is to plan in the odd easy week, go out and enjoy training in that week, or as Arthur Bruce used to say ‘go out and pick a few daisies’. Rest is important but it’s important to retain self belief during a rest phase.

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