Are You Overtraining?

I picked up a new book at the library: “Fast Track: Training and Nutrition Secrets from America’s Top Female Runner” by Suzy Favor Hamilton.

While the book I got was a tad dated (I think 2004?), I wanted to share some great information I got from the book. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be overtrained. [pg 94]

*Slower running times



*Achy joints

*Lack of motivation

*Frequent colds or flus

*Lack of energy

*Poor recovery after workouts

*Poor concentration


*General lethargy

*Chronic injuries that won’t heal

Remedy Overtraining

Simple Solutions to Overtraining [pg 95]

To get back on your feet, try the following remedies:

1. Take a week off from running.

2. Bump up your caloric intake. Eat more everything, including protein, carbs and fat.

3. When you resume running, consume a protein shake right after you exercise.

4. Try to nap whenever possible.

5. Take a daily multivitamin/multimineral supplement.

6. Take a whey-protein meal-replacement powder once a day.

7. If you still feel tired, take another week off from running and repeat the steps above.

Have you ever felt Over-trained? Or are you currently burned out from exercise?

When I start to feel over-trained, I take a rest day. So far, that remedies that. I usually split my rest days up during the week (I prefer a Tues/Thurs rest). If one rest day doesn’t cut it, I take two rest days in a row. That’s done the trick for me so far.

I guess the hard part is figuring out if it’s over training or just something that can be remedied with a few days off.

Knock on wood, I can’t say I’ve ever been over-trained to the point where I needed to quit for an extended period of time. Some books suggested taking off an entire month of exercise–especially after the Racing Season ends.

Recently I participated in the Reach the Beach bike ride (55 miles). Michael and I had been training every single weekend for over a month in preparation for that day. The hard work paid off! But at the same time, I also haven’t been on the bike since May 15th. Partly because of the weather, but also because I lacked the motivation to get on the bike for 6 hours. I no longer had a goal I was super focused on, and it was kind nice to switch back to focusing on my running.

Other resources had suggested keeping a training log. Record all exercise and when things aren’t fun anymore, scale it back. I keep track of my exercise on my Google Calender. I force myself to take 2 days of rest each week–NO MATTER WHAT.

In the past, I have definitely over-trained. There was a period of time a few years ago when I hit a plateau in my weight loss journey and for the LIFE of me I could NOT lose any weight. Why not?! I was counting my calories and exercising like a freakin’ fiend. Seriously–I worked out in some form or another for 28 days straight. 28 days of activity without resting. This is when I established the rule of “2 Rest days a week no matter what.”

The idea of taking an entire month off this fall to “rest” sounds frightening to me. Of course, I have my own baggage where I worry that if I stop exercising I will A) Gain back 110 pounds and B) Lose everything I’ve gained with my training.

Question for all you runners: Have you taken a full month off from running after the official “season” is over? Did you see benefit in it? Please share your stories with me!

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

13 thoughts on “Are You Overtraining?”

  1. I tend to get run down when I exercise too much. Colds and sore throats start to come on, and I’ll feel extra fatigued. When that happens I take more rest days, and stick to gentle walks and yoga. I like to go for one rest day per week.

  2. I have overtrained a couple times. I was lucky enough to catch it early to back off so it didn’t turn into full blown overtraining.

    I now know as soon as I start to not to want to work out, then I am close to overtraining!

  3. I’ll tell you what NOT to do.. don’t stop for that long!

    Twice I ran the Chicago Marathon, trained each time for 7-8 months, then as soon as it was over, I stopped…everything!!! The marathon was in October, and then I would do nothing until the following Feb. and then it was like starting all over again. My stamina was down, it took a while to build that up again, and the after the 2nd marathon I did the same exact thing!

    I think if you have built up a fitness level, but want to take a break, certainly take rest days, but maybe walk a day, or have a light bike ride just to stay in the game.

    But, if you stop for a little bit, you won’t gain everything back that quick! Listen to your body and you will know what to do

    1. Thanks for the advice! I don’t think I could ever just stop everything. If I took a month long rest it would be from running. I’d still swim and do everything else. Ah, who am I kidding? I doubt I could stop running all together…

  4. I really needed that post. I am at that point now. I am not running as much as before (only about 22miles a week) but I am also cross training 3 days a week. I am tired, grumpy and getting achy. I actually have stopped my monthly cycle (TMI, I know) since February. It is time to scale back, but it is really, really scary to me.

    1. 22 miles is a lot! I do between 8-10 miles a week and cross train. Wow!

      Can you supplement more cross training and less running for awhile? I know the fear and anxiety you have though…

  5. This is very good advice. I’ve experienced this first hand. Taking time off in general is a must and if you don’t, your setting yourself up for failure.

    I personally cross train between running, biking and swimming with a brick or two in there as well.

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