By: Matthew Taub
Published: July 2017
Overtraining in athletes and amateurs alike is one of the most common things that can lead to injury, performance decrease and total lack of motivation. So often, people push themselves to a points that are just not sustainable, and then keep pushing. When it comes to overtraining, there is no such thing as “no pain, no gain”. In reality, that pain often is your body’s way of saying “Hey! Slow down.”
So, what is overtraining and how can you prevent it? First off, overtraining occurs when your workout is putting stress on your muscles and tearing them down. After training your muscles need time to recover. Not giving your body time to repair enhances that breakdown.
How do you know you’re overtraining? For runners, overtraining shows first in lower performance. Your body just does not want to or is not able to push you to where you normally are.
Next, there is exhaustion. Your body is trying to work so hard to recover you are constantly in a state of repair with nothing being gained.
Thirdly, there is a lack of motivation. You find yourself being lethargic about what you usually love to do: run.
Lastly, injuries. Overtraining leads to injuries. You cannot keep working out the same muscles and expecting them to get stronger and repair without giving them time to recover.
The key areas to avoid overtraining:
- Take a break. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting change is the definition of insanity. Why would that be different for your body? Give it a break. You won’t change things if you don’t take a break. You need it. Your body needs it.
- Listen to your body. This is a big one. Your body knows what it can and can’t do. If you wake up in the morning 2 days after your last big run and you cannot get out of bed or you feel like its going to be a tough one, don’t force it. Your body is talking to you.
- SLEEP!!! This is a huge one for everyone. Your body repairs while you are sleeping. If you’re a morning runner, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. 8 -10 hours is ideal. The same goes if you’re running later in the day. You will probably be up a little later due to the stimulation the training causes. Make sure you wind down properly to fall asleep and sleep long enough.
- Keep your recovery runs. Don’t push your limits on your recovery days. They are critical to avoiding overtraining.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!!! That should be self explanatory.
The bottom line is this: overtraining does not help you. Overtraining, in fact, will do the opposite of helping you. Do not get to a point where you notice the signs and symptoms of overtraining. Your body is your best advisor. Listen to it.
Matthew Taub is an international fitness presenter, Beachbody Live master trainer, FitFluential Ambassador, husband, and father of three boys with a serious passion for helping others live to their full potential by creating healthy habits in their daily lives.