How to Avoid Overtraining

You’ll need to train hard to be fully prepared for the Virgin Money London Marathon, but it’s also possible to push your body too far and overdo things. Find out more about overtraining and how to avoid it here.

When does training go too far and become overtraining?

The amount of training that’s right for you depends on many things, like your age, sex, training history, life style and genetics. There’s no clear boundary for when training becomes overtraining because it varies for each individual.

The best thing you can do is keep check of how your body’s responding to your training programme. Below is a list of warning signs that you may be overtraining – if you spot you’re suffering from them, try easing up on your training:

  • Your fitness has stopped improving with training. In fact, training is starting to feel like it’s doing more harm than good.
  • You’re not performing as well as you used to during training sessions.
  • You’re finding it harder to recover after training sessions.
  • Your pulse rate is raised first thing in the morning.
  • You’ve got irregular sleeping patterns.
  • Your appetite has changed.
  • You’re easily injured during training.

How can I avoid overtraining?

Follow these simple rules to avoid overtraining:
  • Set yourself achievable achievable goals and train sensibly to reach them. Although your goals need to be challenging, if they’re too far out of reach you’ll find yourself overtraining and pushing yourself too hard in your attempt to meet them.
  • Make sure you rest after a race or big event. Your body will need time to recover after a run, so it’s best to ease up your training programme for a while.
  • Make a change to your training routine now and again – a different route, running pace or type of exercise can be stimulating and refreshing. Try something less intense like walking or yoga to give your body a break.
  • Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Little and often is ideal to replace fluids and avoid dehydration.
  • Remember to eat well, including carbohydrates, because your energy stores will be used up during your training sessions. Another good tip is to time your meals so you eat no later than 30 minutes after training – this will ensure you store less food as body fat and more as muscle glycogen.
  • Although your training will take up a lot of your time and energy as you prepare for the Virgin Money London Marathon, don’t let your training programme rule your life. If training becomes stressful and starts to feel too much like a chore, you may be overdoing it.