TIART: How to (not?) overtrain

It’s Take it and Run Thursdays over at the Runner’s Lounge. Today’s topic is the peril of over training: how it happens and how to avoid it.

Oh, it all sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Just follow these simple rules and you will never over train or risk overuse injuries.

1. Listen to your body

2. Don’t increase weekly mileage or push yourself too fast

3. Take care of your body

4. Get plenty of rest (rest days)

Yes, I know that these rules apply to me and that I cannot receive special exemption. Yes, I know that by pushing too hard I do more harm than good. (Did I not learn anything from my piriformis injury prior to Boston?)

Yes, yes, yes… I hear you.  It’s just so hard to actually do it. I love my training program. I love writing down my miles everyday in my running log and totaling them up at the end of the week. I love seeing my times drop and I love the heady rush and exhaustion that comes after completing a particular long run (or hard workout). With all those great feelings, with all that sense of self worth and accomplishment that comes from running, it can be so easy to over train. But sadly, there can be too much of even the best things.

So, I have a few cardinal rules that I never ever break in the hopes that these will keep me healthy and strong and uninjured.

1. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. If I’m not sleeping well or enough it shows. My runs suffer. I’m irritable. I recover more slowly. Sleep is my good friend and I just wish we had more time together.

2. Always take 1 rest day a week – no running, no cross-training.

3. Eat good, whole foods.

4. There’s no shame in cutting back on a workout. If I’m scheduled to do a long run and I’m just not feeling it, I’ll cut it short, call it a day and try again the next day. Sometimes you gotta know when to push it and when to take it easy on yourself.

5. Vary the workouts. I find the easiest way to get injured and overtrained is to do the same kinds of workouts (long, slow miles) over and over again. Speed work is a must.

The challenge is in following all the rules, all the time!


About heatherdaniel

I'm a runner, writer, eater and traveler.
This entry was posted in running, Take it and Run Thursday and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to TIART: How to (not?) overtrain

  1. Good advice heather…I think I’m in the same boat. Loving the speed and the miles too much during training. I can do four of the five things you suggested, but asking me to cut short a long run is really really difficult. Nice post.

  2. Marvin says:

    Hey Heather,
    Great set of rules. I agree with almost all except for one. Rule #5 needs a little tweaking. You want to keep an even balance of varying workouts and repetition. It’s in the repetition that builds strength and speed. You are correct that too much repetition is bad, but too much varying workouts will not yield the results you want.

    Also the long slow runs are not the culprit for injuries; it is actually the speed work, the high intensity interval (repetitive) training that will get you injured. A proper warm up is required before any speed workout.

  3. heatherdaniel says:

    I totally agree, Marvin. I should have been more specific. The long slow runs are crucial. However, in the past I’ve been guilty of doing ONLY long slow runs without any interval, tempo or hill days! So for me, I need to emphasize short and fast along with my strong base of long slow days.

    Thanks for the tweak!

  4. chefsy says:

    Thank you for sharing all these! 🙂

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