6 Signs of Over Training

At least I’m not injured.

That’s what I keep telling myself.  What a bizarre week! My body just refused to complete my running workouts last week.  So what can you do?

Looking back over my training records, I can see the previous two weeks were a significant jump in intensity and mileage.  This was coupled with extra parenting duties (I hardly sat down the week he was gone!), lack of sleep (both girls got sick and kept me up for hours at a time that week multiple nights in a row) and a few emotionally taxing life events.

It was a good reminder that our entire lifestyle affects our well-being… lack of sleep, increased stress, lack of self-care or downtime… it all adds up and eventually catches up to us in some way.  Breastfeeding takes a lot of extra nutrients from my body too and I know I need to be extra careful to stay on top of my supplements, sleep and prioritize some down time.

6 Signs of Over Training

So how do you know if you are seeing signs of over training?

Here are 6 warning signs from your body…

  • Feeling exhausted, even after getting enough sleep
  • Heavy legs before, during and after runs
  • Emotional highs and lows
  • Appetite changes
  • Lack of motivation for usual workouts
  • Easy workouts consistently feel harder than usual

I can say yes to all of these.  Oddly, despite the lack of exercise my appetite has been crazy- I think it’s my body looking for energy and muscle repair and it keeps turning to food.  By paying attention to your bodies signals and backing off early, you can avoid injury and physical or mental burnout.  So that’s what I’m trying to do.

Over the weekend, I finally started to feel everything balancing out and had a decent run on Sunday so hopefully the worst is behind me!

And again, I’m so thankful that I’m not injured.  I will be lining up at Boston in three weeks, even if these last weeks of training are not what I planned!

Have you ever experienced signs of over training?

How do you know when you need to slow down?

47 thoughts on “6 Signs of Over Training

  1. I am glad you are feeling a bit better! Raising two kids and nursing is a daily marathon in itself, let alone training to run a marathon on top of it! Sometime I start to feel the onset of the overtraining symptoms so I pull back and it usually passes right away but the one I NEVER experience is a loss of appetite which I have read can be a sign. My appetite is always there lol
    meredth @Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted..Races On My RadarMy Profile

  2. I can honestly say I have had all of these signs. Have I listened? Sort of…there were times that I pushed it aside thinking that I’m in marathon training, I’m supposed to be exhausted! But other times, I knew enough to take it down a notch in intensity, focus on sleep and eating the right nutrients. You are one smart lady to rest!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Eastern States 20 Miler RecapMy Profile

  3. I’m glad to know you are taking a step back and able to recover for a bit, you deserve it! I think I’ve overtrained a few times and found myself in a similar situation…tired…lifestyle certainly affects your training too.
    Hollie recently posted..A Pain in the Butt Week 3My Profile

  4. Agh! That is annoying, BUT you realized it early enough that it is not too late. You can back off and get your body back to normal. These posts from runners connect may help you http://runnersconnect.net/coach-corner/eating-yourself-out-of-overtraining/ http://runnersconnect.net/coach-corner/overtraining-causes-symptoms-and-how-to-dig-yourself-out/

    Feel better lady, we have all been there 🙁
    Tina Muir recently posted..Meatless Monday- Healthy Mexican PizzaMy Profile

  5. I love that you addressed this. I have experienced this and it’s no fun! However, when you know the signs to look out for, you can stay healthy. I’ve limited the workouts I do, never more than an hour (unless long runs), and makes sure to eat and sleep a good amount! If I feel like I’m just not in it for a day, I take a rest day. It’s not worth risking overtraining.
    Heather @Fit n Cookies recently posted..A Blend, A milkshake, and a 9 mile runMy Profile

  6. Oh yes, I’ve been there before! In fact my 20 miler last Monday was horrendous and I’m pretty sure it was because I was celebrating my birthday all weekend leading up to it. Our bodies will definitely let us know when it’s had enough!! Good for you for listening to it and giving it what it needs. I’m sure this week will be MUCH better.
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown – Stay the CourseMy Profile

  7. Most importantly, you recognized it and acted on it, which is NOT an easy thing to do! And that’s what will keep you from getting injured, too. Really smart move, Laura, and I hope others learn from you. And I’m glad it seems to be behind you, too!
    misszippy recently posted..The week of running that somewhat wasMy Profile

  8. I don’t think I have ever experienced overtraining, but I am sure I came close a time or two! I am also glad for you that you are not injured, as it seems like you recognized this right away and dealt with it in the best way possible. You already put in a ton of hard work and will be ready for your race no matter what happens over the next few weeks!
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted..This Weekend Was Fueled By StarbucksMy Profile

  9. Rest up mama! 🙂 I have felt signs before when I just got sucked into too much too soon, but it isn’t something that comes up often or easily for me. I have to really really really be busting my butt.
    Tiff recently posted..Comfort {Food} WeekendMy Profile

  10. I don’t know that I’ve experienced over-training, but I’ve had times when life stressors have impeded my training or when I’ve experienced those symptoms in response to life events. I think it’s really smart that you are listening to your body and taking steps to feel better!
    Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen recently posted..Bayshore marathon: week 7My Profile

  11. Very wise decision and I am glad you are feeling more refreshed 3 weeks before Boston! It takes a lot of discipline and perceptive to proactively manage the warning signs of overtraining before it is too late. I think this is a great sign of a good coach!

    I think I finally learn to appreciate those warning signs too. While it was a tough decision, I am glad I was able to recover and reduce the intensity before the soreness/stiffness that I have experienced mid Feb turned into something more serious. Again, beyond the physical signs, I was juggling other obligations outside of running… It doesn’t make it easier to see my Boston packet pick up info in the mail, but I know I will be back.
    May recently posted..An Overdue Update…My Profile

  12. Hmmmm, can you feel all those things even if you’re not working out at all?! Because that’s how I feel lately too! I’m so glad that you’re not injured and that you were able to stop and listen to your body. /you had a lot going on for sure. Glad that you are feeling better.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Finding Your OKMy Profile

  13. I have definitely experienced these symptoms at one time or another. I know that after the half marathon, I am going to take some off while on Nantucket with my family. It will be the perfect time to nourish, recharge, and relax. Have a great Monday friend! XOXO
    She Rocks Fitness recently posted..I LOVE Oats…My Profile

  14. I agree — at least you’re not injured. I’m really listening to my body as I ease back into running after having baby #2. I’m pushing myself a little more, but if I wake up and feel tired in the morning after a good 8 hour of sleep, I know that’s a sign! I can’t wait til I’m running more and may have a case of heavy legs. It’s been a long time!!
    Marnie @ SuperSmartMama recently posted..Back to Running + Meal PlanningMy Profile

  15. i’ve had these signs and sometimes i’ve listened and sometimes i haven’t. i think i’m learning to lighten up on myself and force workouts less. i want running to be something i do for the long haul and cultivating a relationship that involves as little dread as possible is important.
    kristin | W [H] A T C H recently posted..SUNDAY MORNINGMy Profile

  16. Yes!!! I have always been able to work through it too…but not to long after my fall marathon I had it BAD! I think I tried to get back into running too quickly after my marathon. It felt fine at the time so I went with it…but it caught up to me. I had several days where my legs were SO heavy and 9 min+ pace was feeling hard and I was so unmotivated. I ended up taking 6 days off and it was exactly what I needed! I found myself in a place I had never been before with running and wasn’t sure what to do so I told myself to take a week and re-evaluate and by 6 days I was wanting to run again. My body had just said NO MORE 🙂
    Jen@milesandblessings recently posted..Oh Happy Day!My Profile

  17. I’ve had this a few times. We get so excited about training for something like our first marathon or just about running in general, that sometimes we fail to listen to our bodies. I am kind of going through this right now. Although I’m not over trained, I did do too much too soon and I am paying the price with injury. Great tips Laura.
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..How to Stay Motivated When You’re in a Running RutMy Profile

  18. I’m glad you’re starting to feel balanced and had a good run! It’s the smart but not easy thing to rest up when we need it. I haven’t overtrained yet in actual race training, but there were a couple times back when I was a raceless runner that I probably pushed myself too hard for too long. Listening to our bodies is so important, thank you for the reminder!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted..Life Lately and St. Louis Go! Half Marathon Training Week 6My Profile

  19. Marathon training is so hard mentally and physically that I think sometimes it is hard to know when we are doing too much and need to rest/ hit the refresh button. This training cycle for me has been very hard and my best and longest run happened on Saturday. I came home euphoric and then got a call that our daughter is engaged! Best weekend in a long time!
    Pam and Christine recently posted..Running Bloggers & Training PlansMy Profile

  20. I’m sorry the last few weeks have been hard! I hope this week brings you some refreshing days! I know I’m overtraining when I am dreading a run. I feel drained before I even start…and not just from not sleeping! Rest up and you’ll rock Boston!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..Monday MotivationMy Profile

  21. Lately my normal tired has morphed into more but I feel the need to keep trying to run mega miles. Yesterday I think I reached a breaking point and plan to back off a lot this week in all areas of life.
    Hope you are feeling better after taking it a little easier!
    Kim recently posted..Mixing It Up Again (3/22 – 3/28)My Profile

  22. Sounds like you need a break! Good for you for listening to your body. I usually know something is up when I have more than 2 days in a row of sluggish/heAvy legs and/or it’s really hard to get out of bed for more than a couple days. Then I take a rest day or two and rearrange my workouts to focus more on recovery. So important!
    Nicole recently posted..Zion Half Marathon Race Report – 12 weeks pregnantMy Profile

  23. Good for you listening to your body! Especially with breast feeding which takes so much out of your body. You are doing the right thing.
    I hope you feel better this week and that you get lots (and lots) of sleep 🙂
    You are going to have a great race in Boston – you’ve done the hard work!
    PS: Yay for no injury!!!
    Natalie recently posted..Weekend RecapMy Profile

  24. I think most people go through this, at some point or another. It is important to recognize when it is happening and do something about it! I cut back on mileage a few weeks ago and I think it was necessary. Now I’m ready to keep tackling my 50K training.

    Hopefully you are feeling better soon!
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman recently posted..Fools Trail Run 25K Race RecapMy Profile

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  28. You are a smart cookie to listen to your body! I always know when I’m at the tail end of a really hard week or two in a training program when I’m cranky and irritable *after* running or working out! It’s funny, even though I’m reading my plan and looking ahead as well, it never really occurs to me when I’m in a high intensity week, but I always love the following easier week. 🙂
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted..Fit Mama Friday – Meet MelissaMy Profile

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