Over-training: What is it and how will I know if I am doing it?

Many of you reading this article will be either embarking on a big goal or in the middle of preparation for one. Like most things in life we need a plan to guide us through the process of reaching our goal, but sometimes we can be derailed by bumps in the road and some bumps can come from lack of respect for the process of the plan or trying to rush the plan without giving it due time.

Over-training is one such thing we often see in athletes. The over-training syndrome can have some subtle effects on your training but can also cause some set-backs.

Over-training in it’s simplest of terms is simply doing too much without adequate rest. The body takes a toll when we exercise, and we need time for it to heal and recover. Training is designed to increase muscle strength and stamina so that you can continue to push your training. However, we need periods of rest to ensure our muscles, ligaments and bones can adapt and heal. Often when we continue to push our training we can end up with injuries which set us back further than if we’d just had a simple rest day in the first place!

Some of the worst injuries caused by over-training are stress reactions and stress fractures in bones. These will completely derail your goals and halt your training. However, there are some simple signs that you can be aware of to ensure you recognise if you are heading towards the potential risk factors of over-training.

Things to look out for during increased training loads that can lead to over-training include:

  • Moodiness, e.g. more cranky than usual
  • Sleep disturbance/inability to sleep
  • Compromised immunity, e.g. colds/flu
  • Increased resting heart rate
  • Decreased performance

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to reflect on your training and ask yourself the question: Do I need a rest day? And if I take one, will it affect my training negatively or perhaps improve it?

Most importantly talk to your coach, they are there for your support, mentoring and overall well-being, not just writing you a plan!


Article by –

Dr Nicole Lawler (B.Ed B.sc M Chiropractic); Family Chiropractor – Padstow Chiropractic, Sydney

About Rachel Allworth (84 Articles)
Owner & Coach - Rachel's Runners

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