The risks of overtraining

We as athletes-specifically runners, know that in order to get better at our sport, we must train hard. If we are not pushing our bodies to the limits, we can’t expect to improve… Right? Well….sort of. While we need to progressively train harder and harder in order to see improvements, we also have to be aware of the risks of overtraining. Essentially, overtraining happens when there is an imbalance between the physical load, and our coping capacity. OR, training too hard with not enough recovery periods. source

TOO much training can actually make you more prone to injury and/or sickness. AND, overtraining can bring your fitness to a plateau or even a DECREASE in fitness!untitled

There are two “conditions” that can happen as a result of overtraining.

1) Staleness

2) Burnout

Have you heard of either of these before? I’ve been thinking about this a lot the past few weeks because I’ve felt more tired than usual and was wondering if I might be developing one of these conditions. I don’t FEEL like I’m overtraining, but perhaps I could be… Let it be known, I first went to my doctor and had blood work done to check my iron, glucose, vitamin D, thyroid, and liver function. All of those results came back perfectly fine, so, I decided to look at the symptoms of staleness and burnout to see if I had them.

Signs and symptoms of staleness: source

  • decrease in performance level (nope, I’ve been improving or at minimum staying the same)
  • difficulty falling asleep (sometimes-maybe 3 nights a week)
  • awakening from sleep for no reason (only when my husband is snoring ūüėČ )
  • loss of appetite and loss of weight¬†(nope-still hungry all the time, and my weight has actually stablized)
  • difficulty concentrating¬†(quite frequently)
  • nausea and/or frequent colds (no, I’ve actually been quite healthy lately)
  • restless and elevated heart rate/blood pressure¬†(when I had my bloodwork done, my pulse and BP were both nice and low)

Ok, so it wouldn’t appear that I’m developing staleness. What about burnout?

Signs and symptoms of burnout: source

  • frequent headaches¬†(nope)
  • gastrointestinal disturbances¬†(nope)
  • sleeplessness¬†(not usually)
  • chronic fatigue¬†(frequently)
  • emotional exhaustion¬†(nope)
  • depressed mood¬†(nope)

Based on this, my only symptoms are that I’m tired and sometimes have difficulty concentrating…here’s my diagnosis for myself: I think I’m burnt out of WINTER! There is such a thing as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Maybe my body is just ready for warmth and sun :) In the meantime, I’ll continue to monitor myself for signs of staleness/burnout, and adjust my training accordingly.

Since it is my rest week, I am taking extra measures to make sure I’m not focusing on my distance/pace for running, or doing any bike/swim workouts. With how rigid my training is, I can see how I could get burnt out, and I think it’s important for me to have a physical AND mental break from the “pressure” of a training schedule. ¬†As for my testing this week, I’m going to go with the motto of: no pressure. It’s early in my training, and my testing has gone quite well in the past, so I will just trust that my body will “perform” as needed. :) For the next few weeks, I’m going to try and adjust my training so that I can run in the daylight hours more and try and add a little variation to my training. I think doing the marathon in a couple weeks will help with shifting my mental focus. Oh, and I’m going to sleep more :)

What about you all? Are you getting depressed from the long winter? Do you see yourself showing signs of overtraining? Better make adjustments now instead of trying to push yourself through it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *