Warning signs of overtraining syndrome

Getty Images

Are you pushing too hard? Tom Craggs, lead coach at Running with Us, explains the warning signs of overtraining syndrome (OTS).

When running

Lack of progression: Despite increasing the quality and/or quantity of your training, your progression slows or reverses. You’re working harder in sessions that previously felt easy.

Injuries and niggles: Constant niggles in different areas, or a persistent injury that just doesn’t improve.

Muscle fatigue and slow recovery: A classic sign of OTS is taking significantly longer to recover from hard sessions.

READ: How to cope with overtraining and loss of motivation

In the mind

Mood swings and sensitivity: Finding yourself regularly irritable and moody.

Loss of motivation: Simply no longer enjoying your training, seeing running as a ‘chore’ and fearing your hard sessions

Less concentration, resilience and focus: Finding it harder to ‘tough it out’ in hard sessions or races.

READ: Running through stress

Outside running

Weight loss or gain: Overtraining increases the likelihood of rapid and hard-to-explain weight fluctuations.

Cravings: Constantly craving sugar, caffeine or salt to perk you up.

Loss of appetite: An increase in adrenaline and noradrenaline triggered by overtraining can cause a loss of appetite.

Tiredness: Constant, or periods of extreme tiredness. A decreased ability to achieve a deep sleep phase, often indicated by an increase in movement during sleep is another sign.

Illness: Upper respiratory infections are a very common OTS indicator.

Loss of libido: Overtraining causes a reduction in anabolic hormones, which can result in reduced sex drive.

Blood deficiencies: Blood tests can reveal OTS markers such as a drop in ferritin (a protein that stores iron) and magnesium.

Heart rate: A rise in your resting heart rate on waking, or a consistent change while running at lactate threshold can indicate OTS.

SOUND FAMILIAR? Find out how to recover from overtraining.