Running too much is very easy for a motivated person to do (as most triathletes probably are). We’re always told to take it easy and slowly in building up mileage, because there are some serious health risks to running more than your body can currently handle.
If you’re only just about to start running, your level of fitness will be lower than that of someone who has been running regularly for years – the average runner runs 20 miles per week, including recovery days and easy hour-long runs. And it will be markedly lower than that of elite runners who may average 120-150 miles in a week with three or four quality/intense sessions.
Runners also follow something called the 10% Rule: total weekly mileage should increase by no more than 10 percent every week for three weeks. The fourth week should be a recovery week, with mileage decreased by 10 percent. (Increases can be lower than 10%.) As conventional wisdom holds, this should help decrease injury risk because it give the body enough time to adjust and increase fitness and strength to take on the gradually increasing demands on it.
Is it safe to run daily? This depends on the individual runner’s needs; if you’re injury-prone, haven’t trained in a long while, or have arthritis, it may be more prudent to run every other day and do cross-training like swimming, cycling, strength training, and yoga on other days to help you recover.
Additionally, varying the intensities of your run workout will help reduce the risk of burnout. You don’t need to set a new personal best every time you run, and a well-designed training plan will give you the variety your body needs to develop as a well-rounded runner.
Signs of overtraining may vary between individual runners. However, there are common symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disruption, changes in appetite, elevation in morning resting heart rate, slowing down of performance despite training well, and of course injury and illness.
Muscle aches and niggles can also be tiny whispers we need to listen to. When foam rolling your legs, soreness and discomfort can be a sign of building inflammation.
Manage overtraining with rest days and pulling back your training intensity and mileage, as well as getting advice from a credentialed coach. However, prevention is better than cure so here are ways to avoid overtraining.
Patience is always the key when trying to elevate your running game. Progressing gradually over time and allowing your body time to respond and recover is what will ultimately reduce the risk of injury, help keep you running, and make you a better runner in the future. Plan ahead, listen to your body, and eventually you will break through your limits!
(Featured photo by Capstone Events on Unsplash.)
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