Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Tipster: Are You Over-Training?

Hello friends and happy hump day! After running on Friday morning, I felt extremely exhausted for the rest of the day. I'm sure that this had to do with the fact that I am pregnant and I become fatigued a lot faster, but it got me thinking about over-training. If you've never heard of this term, I assure you you'll know exactly what it is once I describe it.

Have you ever trained for a race and have felt extremely fatigued, tired and stressed a few weeks before race day? If you answered yes, then you have experienced over-training. When I first heard the term a few years ago, I literally laughed when my pseudo-coach (a.k.a. co-worker) told me. I didn't think it was possible to "over" train. "You either train or don't train", I thought. Well, I was completely wrong. There's no black and white symptoms for over-training and they're not easily detectable either, that's why it's important to be in tune with your body. First, let me tell you what causes over-training.

Causes of over-training

The ultimate cause of over-training is a lack of recovery between workouts. According to Competitor, there are certain training situations that make runners more susceptible to over-training.

1. Trying to achieve too much too fast. Sometimes runners want to break their personal best records too quickly. Improvement should be achieved gradually. The rule of thumb is to train at your current fitness level. You can bump your training up little by little while using your personal best record as a gauge of what your fitness level actually is.

2. No breaks between races. Many runners, myself included, tend to finish a training cycle and quickly jump into the next one. Use the following timetable to determine how many days off you should take after a race:

5K Race: 1 week
10K Race: 1-2 weeks off
Half-marathon: 1-2 weeks off
Marathon: 2 weeks off

3. Too many speed workouts. Too many speed workouts or VO2 max workouts can cause over-training. You should have a solid foundation of aerobic conditioning before implementing these intense workouts. Too many may cause fatigue and stress.

Signs of over-training

1. Increased heart rate.

2. Change in moods. Are you feeling stressed and irritable?

3. Sickness. Are you getting sick more than usual (i.e., cold or flu)?

4. Change in sleeping patterns. Are you sleeping less or waking up in the middle of the night?

Over-training remedies

Rest, sleep, recover! There's no formula for recovery, but just keep in mind that you must rest as much as possible, sleep at least 8 hours every night, hydrate properly, eat nutritious food and get a massage.

Have you ever experienced over-training?
I'm grateful for the adorable
onesie that my friend Melissa sent me.

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  1. I've experienced overtraining. About 4 years ago in training for my first half-marathon, I did too much too fast - ended up with stress fractures in both my feet. I didn't give my body enough time to rest in between training runs. I also thought since I worked out a lot in the gym (fitness classes, general weight training), I could handle 6-8 mile runs early on in my training regimen. NOPE!

    I know better now and try and incorporate more cross-training in my running routines, but sometimes it's hard not to want to try and push your body for more.

    1. Ouch! That sounds painful. Well, at least you learned something from your experience. Sometimes we have to experience things like that in order to learn from them. Hope you're fully healed!