How do you know if you’re pushing too hard with your training? It’s an important question and one ultra runner Ryan Sandes has been asking himself. He’s taking a break from competition to fully recover after struggling to shake off a virus. Here are Ryan’s 7 signs of overtraining.
Ryan is taking a break from elite racing until 2016. © Craig Kolesky / Red Bull Content Pool
It’s not uncommon for runners to push themselves too hard. That’s why many of us choose to work with a coach – they often stop us from overdoing it. They stress the importance of recovery just as much as training. Without recovery, there’s no improvement.
“If you get overtraining symptoms it’s important to back off,” says Ryan. “The best thing to do, is nothing, watch a whole bunch of movies to allow your body and hormones to recover and settle again.”
New features added to Suunto Ambit3 watches provide a helpful way for keeping tabs on how well recovered you are. “Set up and calibrated correctly, these features give a very accurate picture of where you’re at,” says Ryan Sandes, who uses these along with his Suunto Smart Sensor hear rate monitor.
No spring in your legs? You might be pushing too hard. © Craig Kolesky / Red Bull Content Pool
1. Beware, the grumpy runner!
When we push too hard with training it’s easy to lose motivation and wind up feeling flat or, worse, irritable. One minute you're feeling great and then the next minute for no reason you are feeling super grumpy.
2. No bounce in your springs
If you find yourself plodding through your training with legs that feel like concrete, it might be a sign you need to ease off. You should have pep in your step. There’s a difference between tired legs and legs with no spring.
3. The force field is down!
Overtraining results in a weakened immune system. With your biological force field out of commission, one virus after another can cruise in and cause illness. If you’re catching one cold after another or just feel lousy generally, then you need to rest.
4. Restless nights
If you are battling to sleep at night and then feel exhausted during the day this might be due to elevated cortisol levels from too much training and stress on your body.
5. The dreaded niggles
Overuse injuries, tendonitis and stress fractures are signs you might need to change down a gear or two. Remember, trying to bulldoze your way through a niggle often leads to full blown injury.
6. Stuck in the slow lane
When your legs are becoming chronically fatigued, it’s not surprising to find your training times getting slower. Rather than trudging on, it might be time to consider getting those legs massaged and allowing them to recover.
7. Running on empty
Loss of appetite can be another symptom of pushing too hard. This further compacts the problem by starving the body of the nutrients it desperately needs.
Main images: © Craig Kolesky | Red Bull Content Pool