Health Advice



Ready to run: What are some signs of overtraining?

Mayo Clinic Staff, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

We're surrounded by warning signs on roads, at work, and on packaging and equipment. Your body sends warning signs too. As your race date nears, it's tempting to pull out all the stops in your training. That makes this a prime time to watch for warning signs of overtraining.

Overtraining or overuse injuries are any muscle or joint injuries, such as tendinitis or a stress fracture, that result from repetitive trauma. Overuse injuries typically occur because of training or technique errors.

Runners are tenacious athletes. When you dramatically increase your training intensity, don't ignore your body's warning signs. Pulling back and slowing down may be tough. While some overtraining issues can be resolved with simple rest, others may evolve into more significant problems.

How overtraining and overuse injuries occur

Going too fast, exercising for too long or simply doing too much of one type of activity can strain your muscles and lead to an overuse injury. Improper technique also takes a toll on your body. For example, if you use poor form while running or doing strength training exercises, you may overload certain muscles and cause an overuse injury.

Thankfully, most overuse injuries are avoidable. Try these suggestions to prevent them:


•Use proper form and gear.Whether you're starting a new activity or have been playing a sport for a long time, taking lessons can help ensure you're using the correct technique. Talk with an expert about proper form, equipment and gear fit to help ensure success.

•Pace yourself.Rely on your training program, which should be spreading your aerobic activity throughout the week. Take time to warm up before physical activity and cool down afterward.

•Gradually increase your activity level.When changing the intensity or duration of physical activity, do so gradually. Try not to increase anything by more than about 10% per week. Your body needs time to adapt to the new stress.

•Mix up your routine.Instead of focusing on one type of exercise, build variety into your training program. Doing a variety of low-impact activities prevents overuse injuries by allowing your body to use different muscle groups.


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