Normal people need to do a lot of training to take on the challenges in endurance sport. But many endurance athletes often go from a lot to too much and end up with injuries or bad results. How can you recognise the signs of overtraining and avoid them before they happen?
Having a structured plan is always a crucial part of training for all athletes. You can look at our article on how often I should train as a basis. A good training plan will consider the risks of overtraining and help you avoid them but even the best plans can’t stop athletes from pushing too hard over their limits sometimes.
Once you are overtrained, you can experience injuries and major setbacks. Fortunately, there are some tell-tale signs of overtraining that can help you prevent yourself from going too far. Try to notice these issues and adjust before it becomes a problem.
Increased Recovery Time
Let’s say that you normally recover completely from a hard effort after two days, but bow you don’t feel back to normal until after more than a week. Your body may be telling you that you are going too hard. For 2PEAK athletes using the battery to indicate training recovery levels, when you are constantly adjusting this down, it might be a sign you are overtraining.
Increased Perceived Exertion
One big sign of overtraining is when you notice that you have to exert yourself a lot more to achieve the planned training. This is particularly visible for athletes on easier days. Assume you have a basic endurance session that requires you to just do an hour at zone 2. But you feel like you really have to work hard just to get into zone 2. Sure it is normal to be tired in heavy training blocks but this could be one of the first signs of overtraining.
Inability to Complete Hard Sessions
In quality sessions and interval work you are not able to get to or hold the efforts planned. This can happen to anyone from time to time in training, but it becomes a problem when it is a regular occurrence, This is especially troublesome when you have been able to do this in the past and have no reasonable explanation for what changed.
Increased Heart Rate
An increased heart rate is a major symptom of overtraining. You would notice this not only in the analysis of your workouts, but everywhere in life. An overtrained athlete will have an increased heart rate at rest.
Motivation levels are also impacted by overtraining. Do you often have thoughts of cutting a training short or skipping it all together for no real reason? This is one mental symptom of overtraining. Decreased motivation is often accompanied by a general bad mood and some athletes find they don’t enjoy things that they did before.
This is a vicious circle because overtraining can decrease sleep quality and bad sleep quality exacerbates all of the other symptoms of overtraining. Sleep is always a crucial part of recovery and therefore training. An athlete suffering from overtraining.
How to Avoid Overtraining
In addition to noticing the signs of overtraining there are a few precautions you can take to avoid them all together.
- Have a training plan
- Log all of your sessions
- Analyse your workouts (including easy sessions)
- Listen to your body
- Prioritize and monitor recovery
- Eat enough calories and get all the required nutrients
- Reduce stress
- Give yourself enough time to sleep
A 2PEAK training plan can help you do several of the items on this list above. 2PEAK is specifically designed to listen to individuals needs and provide the best plan. If you aren’t using it already, you can try 2PEAK free for 21 days.