January 23, 2018


I never had to worry about overtraining because I was a chronic undertrainer. I have always enjoyed the triathlon lifestyle but I liked racing more than training. That’s probably where my son got it . . . he likes doing 5Ks but hates training!

These days it’s sort of the opposite. I enjoy training more now but I’m on the edge of overtraining. So how do you know when your body has had enough? Here are some thoughts . . .


If you’re not checking your heartrate on a regular basis you should. One great indicator of overtraining and oncoming illness is an elevated heartrate.

Try to get into the habit of checking your heartrate either the first thing in the morning before you get out of bed or last thing at night just before you turn out the lights. Grab your sports watch and find your pulse (neck is easiest). Count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply by six. That’s your resting heartrate.

You’ll notice that your resting heartrate will be elevated when you’re overtraining or getting sick.

No Fun

If you usually enjoy your workouts but they simply aren’t fun anymore you could be overtraining. Some of you will say that it’s never fun, but you know what I mean.

If you’re training in large volumes but find it tougher and tougher to get “up” for your workouts you may be overtraining.

Sloth like Workouts

Some days your workouts may not have the “zip” that they usually do. If you find that you just can’t hit that 100-meter pace in the pool or the MPH pace you’re used to, you may be overtrained.

Sleep Problems

Most days I try to sneak in a short 15 – 20-minute nap. I’m successful at napping about four to five days a week. If you have the time and ability to nap go for it. However, if you “need” a nap because you’re not getting enough quality sleep at night you may have a problem.

When I’ve overtrained I may get to sleep easy enough but I can’t stay asleep. I’m tossing and turning for no good reason.

Muscle Soreness

So should you train when you have muscle soreness from a previous workout? In my opinion, it depends.

For example, if you’re early in your training season and don’t have any important races coming up, blow it off. On the other hand if you’re in your race phase with an approaching report I’m more likely to do the workout but either cut it short or do it with less intensity. This also helps prevent from over doing it.

When you’re shooting for a podium finish you’re going to be pushing yourself to new limits so be careful with your training. There’s a huge downside to overtraining including increased illness, injury and prolonged recovery.

When you think you’re overtraining you probably are. Back off, smell the roses and you’ll race better in the end.


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