When OVERREACHING becomes a bad thing for your running

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When does ‘overreaching’, that necessary stress required for adaptation, turn to the not very helpful and downright destructive ‘overtraining’? How do you spot the warning signs? And what can you do to prevent it, or dig yourself out of the hole?

Find out more on this episode by listening or reading below.

Timestamps of What You’ll Learn

[00:00:22] What I love about summer.

[00:03:18] Ignoring signs of overtraining.

[00:07:18] Building a rock-solid aerobic base.

[00:12:08] Rest vs. sleep

[00:14:42] Avoiding bears and managing stress.

[00:17:51] Gaining weight while training.

[00:22:00] Risk and reward in training.

[00:25:29] Footwear is huge.

[00:27:00] Training for endurance sports.

[00:31:11] Heart rate variability and health.

[00:33:12] Training stress balance and fatigue.

Warning signs of overreaching.

Warning signs of overreaching can be observed in both physical and mental aspects of an individual’s well-being. In this podcast transcript, the hosts discuss the importance of pushing one’s body to adapt and grow stronger through training, but also highlight the dangers of overdoing it.

One of the warning signs mentioned is illness. When an individual pushes their body beyond its limits without allowing for proper rest and recovery, their immune system weakens, making them more susceptible to illnesses. The hosts mention cases of athletes who have experienced upper respiratory sinus infections after intense training sessions. This is a clear indication that the body has been pushed too far and is unable to fight off germs and infections.

Injuries are another warning sign of overreaching. Ignoring minor discomfort and continuing to train without addressing the issue can lead to more serious injuries. The hosts mention cases where athletes have pulled hamstrings or developed Achilles tendonitis due to not allowing their bodies to rest and adapt properly. These injuries are not sudden occurrences but rather the result of prolonged strain on the body.

The hosts also touch on the mental aspect of overreaching. They mention the mindset of “too much of a good thing” or the belief that if some training is good, more must be better. This mentality can lead individuals to constantly push themselves beyond their limits, disregarding the need for rest and recovery. This can result in burnout and mental exhaustion, which are warning signs that the body and mind have been pushed too far.

To prevent overreaching, the hosts suggest the traditional 10% rule, where training intensity or duration should not increase by more than 10% at a time. They emphasize the importance of gradually increasing the workload to allow the body to adapt and recover properly. They also stress the need to listen to one’s body and address any discomfort or pain before it develops into a more serious injury.

(While 10% isn’t perfect for everyone it’s a great start for new runners)

Recovery is essential for training.

Recovery is essential for training. This is a key takeaway from the podcast transcript, which discusses the importance of giving the body adequate time to rest and heal in order to avoid overreaching. Overreaching refers to pushing the body beyond its limits without allowing for proper recovery, which can lead to negative consequences such as illness, injuries, and mental exhaustion.

The podcast hosts emphasize the need to find a balance between pushing the body to adapt and allowing for sufficient rest and recovery. They highlight two common mistakes athletes make when it comes to recovery. The first is not knowing when to stop or top out. It is important to recognize that there is a limit to how much stress the body can handle before it becomes detrimental. Pushing beyond this point can lead to overreaching and potential harm.

The second mistake is fear. Many athletes are afraid that taking a break or listening to warning signs of fatigue or injury will cause them to lose fitness or hinder their ability to complete an event. This fear often leads them to push through pain or discomfort, rationalizing it as necessary for improvement. The hosts specifically mention Ironman athletes as being prone to this pattern, but note that it can happen to any athlete, especially those new to long-distance training.

Over-training can lead to burnout.

Over-training can lead to burnout. Burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged and excessive stress. In the podcast, the hosts discuss the various causes of over-training and the symptoms that can indicate an athlete is in the midst of overreaching.

One of the main causes of over-training mentioned in the podcast is inadequate recovery. Recovery is essential for allowing the body to adapt and repair itself after intense training sessions. Insufficient sleep, poor nutrition, and high levels of stress and anxiety can all contribute to inadequate recovery. When an athlete does not give their body enough time to rest and replenish, they can experience symptoms such as decreased performance, increased fatigue, and a higher risk of injury.

Identify red flags and prioritize recovery.

The podcast discusses the importance of identifying red flags and prioritizing recovery when it comes to training. It emphasizes the need for athletes to listen to their bodies and be aware of signs of overtraining or pushing themselves too hard. By paying attention to these red flags, athletes can prevent injuries and burnout and optimize their performance.

One of the key points mentioned in the podcast is the importance of monitoring heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat, and it can provide valuable insights into an athlete’s recovery and readiness for training. By tracking HRV, athletes can identify when their body is under stress or not fully recovered, allowing them to adjust their training accordingly.

Another important aspect discussed in the podcast is the role of external factors in indicating overtraining. The podcast suggests that having a partner or someone in your life who can call you out when you’re pushing yourself too hard can be beneficial. This person can act as a barometer and help you recognize when your mood is off or when you’re exhibiting signs of fatigue or illness. By giving this person permission to call you out, you can prevent yourself from pushing beyond your limits and risking injury or burnout.

Holistic training for endurance sports.

The podcast also discusses the holistic approach to training for endurance sports. This approach, advocated by Phil Maffetone, emphasizes the importance of considering the whole person and their overall well-being, rather than just focusing on physical training. Maffetone’s protocol includes strategies such as low heart rate training, managing stress levels, and ensuring adequate sleep.

Low heart rate training involves training at a lower intensity to build a strong aerobic base. This approach allows the body to improve its ability to utilize fat as fuel and improves endurance. Managing stress levels is crucial because stress can have a negative impact on training and recovery. It is important to find a balance between intense training and restful activities to avoid burnout.

The podcast also highlights the importance of sleep in the training process. Adequate sleep is necessary for the body to recover and repair itself. Each individual may have different sleep requirements, and it is important to listen to one’s body and prioritize getting enough sleep.

Additionally, the podcast mentions the significance of proper footwear in preventing chronic injuries. Choosing shoes that fit well and provide proper support is essential for preventing injuries and maintaining optimal performance.

In conclusion, the warning signs of overreaching include illness, injuries, and mental exhaustion. It is crucial to strike a balance between pushing the body to adapt and allowing for proper rest and recovery. Following the 10% rule and listening to one’s body are key strategies to avoid overreaching and maintain optimal performance and well-being.


Functional Overreaching