Most runners are bound to suffer from overtraining, at least once or in their lifetime. Overtraining is widespread among runners of all classes, from the beginner to the elite. No one is spared. This dreadful condition is usually defined as a result of working out harder and more frequently than the human body can withstand.
Runners with a high drive and motivation are more prone to suffer from overtraining. This usually means running too far and/or too fast without giving the body the time it needs to recover to readjust itself between the workouts.
As a result, if you want to keep overtraining at bay and enjoy your workouts, here are a few guidelines that can help you prevent, spot and treat this awful condition.
Signs Of Overtraining
Overtraining leaves clues. It’ll not creep up on you from nowhere. In fact, it gradually builds up until it reaches hazardous terms. Fortunately, you can prevent it by learning about its most common warning signs. Here is a short list:
- Extreme fatigue both during and after the workouts
- Decreased performance
- Unwanted weight loss
- Sore muscles, especially you lower body muscles
- Feelings of dizziness and disorientation
- Loss of appetite
- More prone to headaches, discomforts and injuries
- Insomnia or suffering from unusual lack of sleep
- Apathy and depression
- Lack of motivation for the training
- Lack of mental focus
- Spiky heart rate
This is just a short list, but it’s enough to spot overtraining. If you’ve any of the above symptoms, then the chances of overtraining are high or imminent. Don’t panic. Treatment is easy.
How To Treat Overtraining
The length of recovery from overtraining varies from one runner to the next, but it largely depends on how overtrained you are and for how long. For instance, if you experience a mild case of overtraining, you may just need to take a couple days off to fully recover. On the other hand, if you’re suffering from prolonged overtraining, full recovery will require more time. The rule of thumb is the longer you’ve been overtraining, the more recovery you will need.
Here are 3 steps to help you speed up your recovery:
- Rest your muscles. Depending on how overtrained you’re, you need to take the tension off your muscle and provide them with the rest they crave for. Once you do that, your muscles will adapt to the training load, thus grow stronger.
- Ice pack your sore muscles. Use ice therapy to help you ease the pain by alleviating the swelling and speeding the recovery time. Apply ice for 10-15 minutes, two to three times a day.
- Refuel your body. A healthy diet can help you speed the recovery. Make sure to eat healthy mix of carbs, lean protein and fats—especially after a hard training session.
Resume Your Training Slowly
When you’re sure that you’ve fully recovered, you need to get back on the training wagon as soon as possible. Nonetheless, that’s no reason to rush. Make sure to resume the training gradually—as if you’re beginning from scratch. Restart with 2 to 3 days a week and incrementally add more speed, distance and days to your workout program.
The biggest mistake most runners make is trying to run too much too soon, while ignoring their bodies’ response to the training load. This what usually leads to overtraining and burnouts. Therefore, when exercising, you should always stay within your fitness zone, and train according to you own needs and skill level.
About the Author
David Dack is a runner and an established author on weight loss, motivation and fitness.
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