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Signs that You are Over or Under-Training

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

Signs of Overtraining

For those of us who are focused on improving our performance, reaching our limits, or accomplishing the next PR, that means that we have to push the limits with training. But when are we doing too much leading to our bodies breaking down and becoming weaker rather than stronger?

Here are a few signs to look for:

  1. Decreased motivation to run or decreased enjoyment with running

  2. Slower paces with all runs, but especially with speed training and long runs

  3. Aches and pains last longer

  4. Feeling fatigued for longer periods of time (multiple days vs just for the rest of the day)

Signs of Under-Training

There is A LOT of focus on overtraining, but under-training is likely a more common concern than overtraining! So, how do you know if you are under-training?

  1. Are you running enough to lead to the adaptations needed to complete the race? The longer the race is, the more miles you are going to need to put in so that you can complete a race distance without getting injured or so that you can perform well. So, for example, if you are training for a half marathon, maxing out at 6 miles for a long run will not be as effective as maxing out at 10 miles.

  2. Are you running frequently enough? The longer the race distance, the more frequently you want to run so that you do not over stress your body on race day. Our body can handle only so much repetitive stress in one day, so if we do not train it to manage the stress, then we are much more likely to get injured on race day. What this means it that if we run 5 days a week when training for a marathon, we are creating 5 days of repetitive good stress to our body that it can adapt to vs if we just train 3 days a week.

  3. Is your training specific to your race? If you are doing a long ultra-marathon with a lot of vertical gain, then you want your weekly training to include a lot of slow uphill hiking/running and downhill running. If you are doing a 5k on roads, then you want your training to mimic this by doing shorter runs on flat paved trails.

  4. Are you training consistently? Doing 3-4 weeks of solid training for a long race unfortunately is not going to cut it if you want to do well or avoid getting injured on race day. Your training doesn’t need to be perfect but getting enough weeks of consistent training in before a race is going to give your body the time it needs to adapt to the stress of running.

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