Running is a healthy exercise for many, but running too much can have the opposite effect.
Do you constantly feel fatigued? Has your performance been slipping recently? Chances are you may be experiencing the overtraining syndrome (OTS). OTS occurs even in the best athletes if they don’t take proper rest from their rigorous training routine. It’s a maladapted response to excessive exercise and it can affect both your body and your mood.
What are the Symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome?
- Increase in Resting Heart Rate
Track your heart rates when you wake up in the morning, when you’re running, and when you slow down. If you find your rest heart rates higher than usual, it’s a sign that you’re overtraining.
- Lethargy and Muscle Soreness
If you feel drained even after 8 hours of sleep and can’t seem to recover, you’re probably running too much. Sometimes you may even find lingering muscle soreness that just won’t go away – that’s a warning signal of excessive training.
Believe it or not, overtraining can make you moody or irritable. If you find yourself snapping at little things or feeling depressed, it can be an early sign of overtraining. In this regard, your friends or partner might notice your mood swings sooner than you do.
- Loss of Appetite and Sleep
Overtraining syndrome can feel like a flu. You can experience a loss of appetite, insomnia, and even a decrease in your immunity.
How Can You Treat Overtraining Syndrome?
If the above symptoms sound familiar to you, pause and get yourself out of the overtraining rabbit hole. Taking a proper rest is the most effective treatment for overtraining syndrome. Here’s what you can do to help recover from overtraining:
- Stop Running
Stop running and exercising for at least a week. If you have severe symptoms, it can take at least 3 – 6 weeks for your body to recover from all the damage. Go watch a movie or hang out with friends instead of running.
- Get a Massage
Treat yourself to visit a massage therapist. It’s relaxing and it can help speed up the recovery process for your sore muscles.
- Cross Training
If you’re slowly recovering, you can try to mix in other forms of exercises so you’re not overworking certain muscles. For regular runners, you can practice yoga for flexibility or do crunches for core strength training.
How Can You Prevent Overtraining?
Many of us are overachievers who want to see results. However, rest time deserves as much attention as your running activities. Every runner has a varying limit. Based on your own capacity, schedule a balanced training routine that involves recovery days. Make sure you hydrate enough and have a healthy diet to complement your exercises.
The beauty of running lies in having the patience and endurance to carry yourself through a consistent, responsible training schedule. You need to rest for the purpose of running faster and better in the long haul.