Run Down? You Might Be Overtraining and Not Know It

overtraining

For serious runners, staying in training means you don’t cut corners and you don’t pamper yourself. You’ve got the will power to push through discomfort and challenge yourself each and every time you run.

But there’s peril in pushing yourself too far. Overtraining can harm your health and seriously derail your workout regimen.

Few Symptoms
It’s estimated that over half of all serious runners go through a period of overtraining. Most never know – there are very few tangible signs that you’re overtraining. Much more than simply running out of energy after a hard run, there is no pain associated with overtraining. Physiological factors like catecholamine excretion and neuromuscular patterns can be used to determine if a runner is overtraining, but for the majority of runners, it’s hard to tell if that fatigue is part of the game or a symptom of something more serious.

Overtraining isn’t just a runner’s concern. Anyone who pushes too hard in a training segment risks impairing their health.

Muscles Take A Beating
Overtraining is the result of repeatedly not recovering after workouts. Often in trying to overcome personal bests, athletes push themselves too hard. Especially true for marathon runners, the stress of training and running the race has serious impacts on your body. Studies have shown that a high-intensity training program can induce inflammation and muscle fiber necrosis that significantly impairs muscle power and durability for up to 14 days post marathon. Accordingly, it will take your muscles about 2 weeks post marathon to return to full strength.

Immune System Weakened
After hard training or finishing a big race, the body’s immune system is strongly compromised – for up to 3 days. Overtraining can suddenly see deteriorating performance despite a vigorous workout schedule. Acting to nourish and rejuvenate after a major event or workout can help prevent the depletion of health.

The Signs Of Overtraining
There are no obvious clues that you’ve pushed yourself over the limit. But if you are experiencing decreasing energy and your training is stagnant, the following symptoms might indicate you need to rest.

  • Moodiness — Overtraining can lead to a decrease in hormone production, specifically the hormone catecholamine, which can influence the sympathetic nervous system. This can lead to increased feelings of stress and moodiness. If you’re feeling increasingly irritable or stressed, it might be a sign that you’re training too hard.
  • Sickness – As noted above intense training can impair the immune system. If you find yourself getting sick more than usual, especially repeated bouts of the same virus, it could be a sign of overtraining.
  • Trouble sleeping – While many factors such as diet or changing light levels throughout the year can cause sleeplessness, overtraining can disturb your normal sleep patterns.

By educating yourself about the most common causes of overtraining and recognizing the symptoms early, you can prevent yourself from stagnating in training and setting yourself back weeks, if not months.

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