Categories: Health Training
Tags: Running

Should I worry about overtraining if I’m not a pro?

July 6, 2016

Our bodies are designed for motion and physical activity. They can withstand quite a bit of accumulated stress.

Still, if intense training is combined with a stressful job or lifestyle or insufficient sleep, or if you’re simply exercising too much too soon, your body may be unable to adapt, and overtraining may be the result.

Overtraining is not something to take lightly.

Overtraining is most commonly a concern for athletes and others who train for high performance. If you’re an intermediate runner and you overreach, you’re more likely to suffer from running-related injuries than overtraining.

Nevertheless, overtraining is not something to take lightly.

How can I tell if I’m overtraining?

Listen to your body.

What do you feel like during training? Does the same training plan feel tougher than before? Do you feel abnormally fatigued during a workout? Is it difficult to find the motivation to finish a run like you planned?

You might be suffering from overtraining.

Besides looking out for these symptoms, you can also listen to your body quite literally, by using a heart rate monitor.

Your heart rate can indicate that you’re overtraining. For many people, heart rate monitors can be used as an alarm that alerts them if they’re training too hard, beyond levels that improve performance.

Your morning resting heart rate is one of the indicators of overtraining.

Your morning resting heart rate is one of the indicators of overtraining. If this before-you-get-out-of-bed heart rate is higher than usual, you may need to be concerned.

While overtraining might be one of the causes of an accelerated resting heart rate, you might also be suffering from fatigue, slightly injured, or even fighting off a fever or a stress-related problem.

Overtraining and the orthostatic test

Monitor your body with the orthostatic test

Another way to monitor your body is the orthostatic test.

An orthostatic test measures your heart rate and heart rate variability. That is, how often your heart beats per minute and how much the interval between beats varies.

Your heart is not a metronome and slight variations in the heart rate variability are normal. However, changes in your heart rate and heart rate variability may indicate disturbances in the autonomic nervous system caused by, for example, fatigue or overtraining.

Doing the orthostatic test just once isn’t enough. It’s the variation over time that tells you whether your body is recovering properly. For an easy way to do the orthostatic test, you can use the GPS sports watch designed for peak performance: Polar V800.

Combined with how you feel from day to day, the orthostatic test can be one tool to diagnose overtraining.

What can I do if I suspect I’m overtraining?

Rest is one of the best medicines a runner can use. And often, going easy for some time is better than complete rest.

Going easy for some time is often better than complete rest.

Elevated morning heart rates and decreased exercise heart rates for a standard workout are signs that your body is not fully rested and something is amiss.

Whether you’re a pro or not, this isn’t the time to take on any hard training.

Some early warning signs of overtraining are

Slower recovery in your heart rate after exercise

General signs of overtraining

Persistent colds, flu, or respiratory infections