2,018 in 2018 Week 7 Update
There is a perfect apex for running, in which you can run the perfect number of miles for maximum fitness and recovery. I’ve been on both sides of this apex; I’ve undertrained and overtrained. It’s difficult to know when you’ve crossed over that apex into the overtraining zone. It’s easy to have the mindset that more is better, but that’s no always the case. It’s also challenging because the number of miles and amount of time running varies greatly by person. Some athletes can put in a ton of miles with no problems and others can do great within minimal training.
In the case of this week, I crossed over the threshold into overtraining. I ran 66 miles this week, which is the most I’ve run this year in a single week, possibly the most ever.
By the end of the week my legs were extremely tired and slow. I also started the week with a faster than usual pace, which I felt great about. By the end of the week, I wasn’t even able to maintain my usual “slow” pace. The other challenge is that I ran on Sunday last week, meaning I haven’t had a day off of running since Sunday, February 4. That’s 13 days straight of running and it’s taken a toll. I also need to cut myself some slack since in 2017 I was running 2-3 days a week and now I’m running 6 days a week.
Here is my mileage breakdown this week:
Monday, February 12: 15 miles, total 16 miles
Tuesday, February 13: 7 miles, total 8.5 miles
Wednesday, February 14: 10 miles, total 11.7 miles
Thursday, February 15: 12 miles, total 15.2 miles
Friday, February 16: 10 miles, total 12.06 miles
Saturday, February 17: 12 miles, total 12.33 miles
Keep in mind that most of these runs were broken down into two runs a day, not run all at the same time.
The signs of overtraining are important to know so you can make sure you know if you’ve taken your training too far. You can check out this article on Men’s Health about the signs of overtraining, which explains it better than I can. Keep an eye on feeling overly fatigued, having insomnia, increase in injuries, decreased strength and excessive thirst.
The problem with overtraining is that you actually don’t gain any strength or fitness improvements because your muscles never get a chance to recover. You are just re-tearing muscles that are already torn.
Next week I will scale it back. I am running the Disney Princess Half Marathon on Saturday, so it will be important that I don’t go into that race overtrained. I also plan on taking a rest day tomorrow.
Have you ever overtrained? How did you recognize the signs?