Warning Signs You’re Overtraining

Whether you're struggling when out running or taking the hit at home, overtraining could be to blame.

Wesley Doyle |

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.

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.

Outside running

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

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.

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.

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.

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