Signs and Causes of Overtraining

How to Avoid Overtraining

The dreaded O word – that no athlete who loves their sport wants to hear.

What is over training? What are the signs? How can it happen? And how can we avoid it?

What is overtraining?

Overtraining happens when more training is done than an individual’s body can recover from, to the point where performance declines. Signs of overtraining include fatigue, poor sleep, low mood or depression, muscle soreness, loss of motivation, irritability, change to heart rate (abnormally slow or fast), heavy/sore/stiff feeling in muscles, inability to concentrate and increased illness or injury.

How can overtraining occur?

Overtraining can easily happen when training hard for events, when there’s a heavy training load, doing more than your body is able to recover from.

It is important to remember that training isn’t the only thing that can cause stress for our bodies. Work, study, relationships, family life, pressure to perform (from self, and from external sources, such as team mates and sponsors) can all play a varying role in how stressed we feel on a day to day basis. If you are doing similar training to what you would usually do but struggling to cope, it may very well be due to something that is happening outside of your training that is impacting your performance.

How do I avoid and manage overtraining?

Over training can be avoided by ensuring to incorporate adequate recovery into your training plan. Working with your coach to determine this is a good idea, otherwise taking note of including rest days, listening to your body, and taking it easy is imperative.

On top of this, being mindful of where other stress may be coming from in your life, and keeping on track with healthy nutrition and hydration strategies can expedite recovery, keep your body healthier, and as such, help you perform at your best.

Featured photo credit: Vladislav Muslakov via Unsplash

Chloe McLeod
Chloe McLeod
Chloe McLeod has had a keen interest in nutrition from a young age due to food intolerances as well as a realization about the important role food plays in an active lifestyle. She has a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition & Dietetics, a master’s degree in Public Health, has received Sports Dietetics training through the Australian Institute of Sport, and has earned qualifications for ISAK Level 1, and is a member of DAA, SDA, and PINES. She is a two-time marathoner, avid trail runner, and also enjoys staying active through snowboarding and Pilates.