When it comes to getting the most out of your running program, overtraining should be avoided at all costs. This awful condition is very common among runners of all classes. And it leads to a myriad of performance and health troubles. This dreadful condition can also lead to more than injuries, it can impinge on your mental performance and your overall enjoyment of life. Therefore, if you want to stay overtraining-free, here are a few training guidelines that can help you spot, prevent and treat this condition.
What is Overtraining?
Overtraining is usually defined as doing too much too soon without providing the body with ample rest for recovery and adaptation. For runners, it means running too far too fast while taking inadequate rest between workouts. Many runners believe the best way to boost performance is to do more intense work with the minimum of recovery. This is a big mistake, more running is not always better. In fact, if you boost distance or intensity—such as with interval or hill running –too quickly, you’ll actually decrease your running performance and instead increase the likelihood of overtraining. Get this: Your body has its limits. You need to train within your fitness level, while at the same time gradually growing your strength and skill level.
The Signs of Overtraining:
Luckily, overtraining does not occur overnight. It incrementally builds up until it reaches perilous terms. Here are some of the most common overtraining symptoms which can help spot this nightmare before it gets any worse:
- Extreme fatigue both during and after the workouts
- Loss of appetite
- Undesired weight loss
- High frequency of pain and injuries
- Low energy levels
- Decreased physical and mental performance
- Spiky morning rested pulse
- Lack of motivation for the training
Of course, some of the above symptoms can be the results of other ailments. But it’s the dose that makes the poison. A combination of these symptoms usually means that you’re either suffering from overtraining or the likelihood is imminent. But no need for panic, treatment is usually easy and hassle-free.
How to Treat and Recover From Overtraining:
Take ample recovery
The time you need to fully recover depends on how overtrained you’re and for how long. For instance, if you’re suffering from a mild case, a couple days off the running can do the trick. Nevertheless, prolonged overtraining needs more time (1-3 weeks or even more) to achieve complete recovery.
Ice your sore muscles
Ice therapy can assist you in alleviating pain and swelling, thus speeding up the recovery period. Make sure to ice your sore muscle for 10-15 minutes, three times per day
Eat for recovery
Make sure to incorporate valuable nutrients in your diet. Aim for healthy mix of the good carbohydrates (for replenishing your energy tanks), and lean protein (vital for muscle tissue rebuilding and recovery), and fats. In addition, you should keep your body well hydrated throughout the day.
Resume the training slowly
When you feel fully recovered, don’t be eager to swiftly jump into the training. Otherwise you may suffer from another round of overtraining. Instead, resume the training slowly and increase the time and intensity gradually. Restart with a beginner’s mind. As the training progresses forward, add more time, distance and intensity until you’re back to previous training intensity.
Here you have it! Make sure to incorporate these training strategies into your training program. And most importantly: remember to listen to your body and stay within your fitness level. That’s all that matters.