Regular training for any sporting activity, especially a race is highly encouraged to keep up stamina and strength. There are limits to how much training you should do; overtraining your body can result in a decrease in performance capacity and limits the body's ability to recover from strenuous exercising.
Some signs and symptoms of overtraining are:
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling stale
- Loss of enthusiasm for running
- For women - amenorrhea (abnormal absence of menstruation)
Serious overtraining can result in sleep disturbance, immune system issues, decrease in muscular strength and changes in blood pressure. By exercising too much, too quickly and too intense will usually cause you to overtrain.
If you notice a decrease in your performance, here are a few things to do:
- Cut back: reduce your running for a minimum of two weeks. Decreasing the mileage, adding rest days and substituting cross training in your routine can help you snap out of the funk.
- Examine your program: your program should ramp up for three to four weeks and then have one easy week. There should be a building progression in the program.
- See your physician: if you are feeling nauseated, cannot sleep, losing weight or have amenorrhea, consult your physician. They can help manage the symptoms to get you back on track.
Proper recovery is the key to all training programs. With a good running program, your nutrition and rest, you will hit your fitness goals.
For training tips and plans, check out these resources: