The Runner who Overtrains
(Quoted from PowerBar)
Athletes push themselves in order to improve performance. Generally, [training programs] require that you stress their muscles to the point of fatigue. The goal is that after a period of recovery, their muscles will then adapt to the training load and their performances will improve. But sometimes the stress of training can be too much and an athlete doesn’t bounce back. Instead, they remain fatigued for an extended period of time. This condition, if it persists, is called overtraining syndrome.
Athletes who repeatedly overload their bodies without allowing adequate recovery time will eventually reach a point where they have to rest. The length of that required rest period is one difference between overreaching and overtraining. With functional overreaching, full recovery may take a day, or even two to three weeks, depending upon the training overload. But with overtraining, recovery can take weeks to several months!
Overtraining is a little too common amongst us runners. We get so excited about running, push ourselves to the limit and beyond, and then our body is unable to handle the stress. We get sick, moody, tired, sluggish, but still manage to push through some mediocre workouts. Why can’t we just stop and take a few days off to allow our body time to repair itself? Recovery is part of training. Period. And if we neglect this very important part of our training, we set ourselves up for bad performances, injuries, and more colds than normal. When you know your body needs a few days off, try something new to challenge your body in a new way. Bikram Hot Yoga, HEAT, and CrossFit are excellent ways to keep your fitness level up while giving your muscles time to heal. Your body (and running) will thank you.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,