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