Overtraining can occur when you work out without allowing enough recovery time between sessions. After a certain point, too much running & workouts can be harmful to your health and hinder your results, especially if your workouts are intense and you do them more frequently than the recommended limit.
Overtraining syndrome (OTS) can lower your fitness level, negatively affect your performance, and cause injuries.
Avoid overtraining by working out within your limits and allowing enough recovery time between two workouts. Be sure to fuel your workouts so you have enough energy to sustain your training, and take care of yourself after each training session.
Read on to take a closer look at some of the signs of overtraining as well as ways to prevent, treat, and recover from OTS.
Signs and symptoms of overtraining
1. Not eating enough : Runners who maintain an intense training schedule may also cut back on calories. This can negatively affect health and performance. If your body consistently draws from its energy reserves, you may develop nutritional deficiencies such as anemia. More serious conditions can arise that affect your cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and endocrine systems.
2. Soreness, strain, and pain.
Pushing yourself past your limits during an intense workout can lead to muscle strain and pain. Overstressing your body can cause soreness and injuries. You may experience micro-tears in your muscles as well.
3. Running too often can lead to overuse injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, and plantar fasciitis. Other overuse injuries include joint strains, broken bones, and soft tissue injuries.
High impact running such as speed training leads to more stress and wear & tear on your body. If you have an injury, take a break from all types of training to allow it to heal.
4. Fatigue : It’s somewhat normal to feel tired after exercise, but fatigue happens when your body repeatedly doesn’t fully recover after you work out. You may feel excessively drained, especially during or right after workouts.
5. Extended muscle soreness and injuries that don’t heal are also signs of overtraining. You may have chronic injuries or nagging injuries that linger for a long time. The rest between workouts is vital to your recovery. It’s harder for your body to heal when too much stress is placed on it
6. A decline in performance : Overtraining can cause your performance to plateau or decrease rather than improve. You may find you have less strength, agility, and endurance, which makes it more difficult to reach your training goals. Overtraining can also slow your reaction time and running speed.
7. Workouts feel more challenging :
If you have OTS, you may feel like your workouts are more difficult, like they take more effort to complete. This increase in your perceived effort can make you feel like you’re working harder even though your body is working at its usual rate.
8. Disturbed sleep : When your stress hormones are out of balance, you may find it hard to relax and let go of tension at bedtime. This cuts into the crucial time your body needs to rest, repair, and restore itself during sleep. Lack of quality sleep can also lead to chronic fatigue and mood changes.
9. Decreased immunity or illness : Along with feeling run-down, you may find you get sick more often.
10. Loss of motivation : You may find it difficult to stay motivated to work out. This can be due to mental or physical exhaustion, the feeling that you’re not achieving your fitness goals or lack of enjoyment. Either way, try to make positive changes so you can feel inspired again.
When to take a break
Take an extended break from training if you have any injuries that need time to heal completely or if you’re experiencing burnout. During this time, stay away from any high impact or intense forms of exercise. Give yourself time to make a full recovery.