5 Signs to Spot Overtraining

While runners are constantly trying to improve their times, overtraining is common in the community and the signs pertaining to overtraining can be very subtle. It’s easy to understand that not every run will be the same. At times, you may breeze through a 5KM and other times 3KM may feel like a bad nightmare therefore as runners, we’re constantly trying to improve regardless of the distance. Here are five signs that you’re overtraining.

Mood Swings

If you’re suffering from mood swings throughout the day, this could be a sign that you’re battling the overtraining bug. Running and training in general should be inspiring, not a daily chore. If you feel yourself getting irritated easily throughout the day or all of a sudden your fuse has been incredibly short, then you may be overtraining. Take a step back, take a few days off from running and take a break! Sleep in, have a not-so-healthy meal and find inspiration again.

Lingering Fatigue

If you find yourself extremely tired after what was expected to be an “easy” run, then you may be overtraining. If your performance has suddenly decreased dramatically then chances are you are very tired. The body needs time to repair itself and running yourself into the ground will do more harm than good. To combat this lingering fatigue, rest up, get a little extra sleep and monitor your diet closely.

Trouble Sleeping


As crazy as it may sound, overtraining is linked to insomnia and other sleeping disorders. Your body needs rest and every night it wants rest, however, overtraining keeps your central nervous system awake and excited. The central nervous system will tell you if you’re overtraining and if you find yourself in a state of restlessness or struggling to concentrate then perhaps you should consider taking a break from running.

Body Aches

General soreness is fine and expected when you’re doing any kind of workout but if your body aches days after a run then this may be the most obvious sign that you’re overtraining. You may feel an ache in the shoulder, then all of a sudden your knee or back starts to pain and this creates your entire body to enter a state of soreness. If you experience this  feeling then you may be overtraining and need to take a few days to rest.

Weaker Immune System


Exercise helps build up the human immune system but overtraining will force your immune system into a weaker position. If your body is in constant recovery mode as it works to repair cells, tissue, and ligaments then your immune system cannot fight off bacteria or viruses. If you find yourself getting sick often then this may be a sign of overtraining and it’d be a good idea to take a break so that your immune system could return to normal.

QOTD: So how do you make sure you’re not overtraining?

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12 thoughts on “5 Signs to Spot Overtraining

  1. These are good points and not always something I would relate to overtraining. I generally do a pretty good job of avoiding overtraining. If my body feels achy or I’m just too tired, I’ll give myself the rest day. I try to stick to a plan but let my body decide if its right or not.

  2. My boyfriend is surprisingly good at keeping me in check. But beyond that, when my body is begging for a rest day, that’s a sign I’ve pushed too hard and too much, so I cave and rest. It makes all the difference!

  3. Great points! Never thought about being moody and I just started realizing sleep issues are related to over training. After having the same re injury again and now having it mess up another part of my body I’m realizing that after almost 2 years of this I need to re evaluate things and switch up my exercise routine. I’ll definitely be watching for these signs more.

  4. These are great reminders and I think it can be such a fine balance between training hard and then over doing it. I was feeling on the verge of this, this week after a really active/high mileage week last week. I skipped my marathon clinic Tuesday, and a double workout Wednesday, opted for more sleep, and indulged more than usual with my eating! I’m starting to learn I need to give myself some slack in order to stay sane and healthy during marathon training – it’s just so long! Haha.

  5. I’m so guilty of over training, I think I’m dealing with that right now… and haven’t slept much in two nights. Noticed it happens a lot when I’m “going hard” plus some of the other things you pointed out happen too. But it’s so hard to take rest days sometimes, definitely a fine balance and this a great reminder of how important it is to not over train!

  6. Spot on about all of these signs! I am all about the body aches. If you are training and your body continues to aches, it is such a clear sign to rest. I think runners pay the price of injury if they don’t. Thanks for this helpful info!! 🙂

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