QT: Identifying Overtraining Syndrome in Runners


Overtraining syndrome is, in my opinion, one of those things that lurks in the shadows of the running community.

It doesn’t get talked about as much as it possibly should, and I’d wager it’s far more common than many of us realize.

Myself included.

Overtraining Syndrome Examined

What comes to mind when you hear the term overtraining syndrome as it relates to running?

Hmm

For me, it used to be pretty straight forward: too much running.

More recently, my understanding of overtraining syndrome has evolved quite a bit.

No longer do I think of overtraining syndrome as simply a case of logging too many miles.

Instead, it’s an imbalance between the work to recovery ratio.

Simply put, if you’re not recovering adequatly for an extended period of time, there is a very real chance you’ll be on your way to a case of overtraining syndrome.

Symptoms of Overtraining

What are some symptoms of overtraining syndrom that you should be aware of?

  • Increased fatigue
  • Increased hunger
  • Elevated resting heart rate
  • Muscle/joint soreness
  • Moodiness
  • Lack of enthusiasm to run
  • Reduced level of performance
  • Increased sugar cravings
  • Tired all the time
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Regularly sick
  • Increased levels of stress

One of the frustrating things about trying to identify overtraining syndrome is that it’s usually something that sneaks up over the course of weeks/months as opposed to something that can be identified right away.

The other tricky thing about overtraining syndrome is that many of the symptoms are things that you’d expect to experience as a result of consistent training.

So how do you know if what you’re feeling/experiencing is normal or is actually a case of overtraining syndrome?

Are Runners Stupid?

The number of symptoms and how long the symptoms linger.

If you’re just noticing one or two of the symptoms, and they seem to resolve in a day or two?

Odds are that’s just your body responding to the usual demands of training.

But if your list of symptoms is growing? And they never seem to resolve?

More than likely, you’re in overtraining territory.

And that’s not good.

The Recovery Process

Think you might be dealing with overtraining syndrome?

How do you work through it?

Just run less, right?

Don't Think You Need a Running Coach?

Just like the cause of overtraining syndrome isn’t as simple as running too much, working through overtraining syndrome isn’t as simple as just running less.

Next week, I’ll break down some ways you can balance the work to recovery ratio and work through a case of overtraining syndrome.


How do You Know if You’re Overtraining?

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