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3306 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Mar 24, 2008 5:35 PM by ellenoire
joesgonnatri Amateur 7 posts since
Feb 29, 2008
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 13, 2008 6:45 PM

What's your opinion? Overtraining or just good hard work?


Here's my situation.  I haven't been doing any sort of focused training for the past 10 years.  I just started exercising again about a month and a half ago.  I went quickly(over the course of about a week and a half of jogging every other day) from struggling to jog a mile to now jogging 5 miles after about a half mile in the pool.  My duration and distances have been increasing dramatically since I started, and for the first time this week I've actually started feeling sore.  I was never an endurance athlete(when I was in HS I was a very competitive wrestler), and the experience of "soreness" was a good thing for me to continue working through.  Which leads me to uncharted territory; now that I'm most definitely NOT in high school anymore, and I'm training for endurance-which is a completely different type of competition than what I've done before, how do I recognize if I'm putting myself at risk for overtraining?  I've been following a loose interpretation of Friel's training bible, and if I maintain the durations of workouts it looks like I should be pacing myself against, the next couple months of Bases 1 and 2 are going to huuuuurrrrrt.  I'm willing and able to put in 12 hours a week when the time comes, but right now I'm feeling the pain of walking up stairs at only 9.5 hours/week!  So my question is this;  How do you personally gague where to draw the line in regards to overtraining?  And please don't say "when coach says so" 'cuz I'm cheap and sure not going to pay for a personal trainer 



PS if it makes any difference I'm training for my first ever tri; Olympic distance at Chicago/Accenture!!!  which means I still have 5 months to go...



  • mrsgoodly Amateur 9 posts since
    Jan 23, 2008


    The method I use to determine if I'm overtrained is the heart rate check.



    I take my heart rate every day when I wake up, but do not yet get up out of bed.  I do this for 5 days to get a baseline "wake-up" heart rate.  On the sixth day, I take a heart rate immediately upon getting up from bed and compare with the base line.  If the heart rate upon getting out of bed is 10% higher than the baseline, it is time for me to ease off.






  • niemsco Legend 189 posts since
    Sep 24, 2007

    Recovery from workouts and overtraining are two different things. For overtraining you check a few things like the resting HR which was mentioned. Others are:


    1) Actually not being able to get your HR up. Do a run or bike in the morning, does it seem difficult to get the HR into zone 2 and 3? Some athletes misinterpret this as fitness, but its not. A fit athlete can actually raise there HR during a workout without an issue. If you are cranking on the bike for 20 minutes and can't get out of zone 1, its a problem.

    2) Are you moody

    3) Lose of appetite

    4) Can't sleep at night


    These can all be factors, probably a few others. The recovery issue sounds like you are overloading your body and are headed for potential injury. You may be doing more than what your body can recover from. As your fitness improves, you should be able to recovery from the hardest workouts within a day or two. So you may just be overloading the volume which can be a danger, but it doesn't mean you are overtraining.

  • Trihardist Amateur 27 posts since
    Jul 18, 2007


    Niemsco's right; when you're training for triathlon, you always walk a fine line between overloading your body enough to stimulate greater fitness and overloading your body too quickly and causing damage.  I read a quote this week that said, essentially, that it's better to be undertrained 10% than overtrained 1%.



    Here are some other signs of overtraining:


    • Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy

    • Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains

    • Pain in muscles and joints

    • Sudden drop in performance

    • Insomnia

    • Headaches

    • Decreased immunity (increased number of colds, and sore throats)

    • Decrease in training capacity / intensity

    • Moodiness and irritability

    • Depression

    • Loss of enthusiasm for the sport

    • Decreased appetite

    • Increased incidence of injuries

    • Compulsive need to exercise



    I have a horrible time with pushing myself too hard and becoming overtrained.  I always feel like a lazy bum when I break out of my schedule to take a few days off.  But better to be slightly undertrained than overtrained.  It takes some experience to know when to push through the pain (or the washed-out-I-don't-wanna-practice feeling) and when to listen to your body.  But you'll figure it out.



    And here's one of my references:






  • itri Expert 48 posts since
    Sep 13, 2007


    I agree with the previous posts.   Did you choose a Novice or Begginer Plan out of the book?  The work load difference between this and an intermediate or advanced is significant.   I would definitely suggest a bigginer plan for your first race and then you have a good baseline in all three diciplines for your next attempt.  Also, you then progress physically and are more ready for to go to an intermediate, etc.  A begginer plan will have you ready to complete the event comfortably. 



    Lastly, when you are loosly following the plan, are you making sure that you are taking suggested off/recovery days and are you making sure to reduce/step back  your work load every third week or so per the plan?  Just asking because these are critical.  Good luck!!



  • ellenoire Amateur 13 posts since
    Mar 21, 2008


    6 years of racing and overtraining taught me and my boyfriend that training smart rather than too hard makes all the difference.



    I am new to this site so I cannot speak to the training programs on here, but for years we have been using and just copy the free training programs.



    Find one that fits the number of hours you have to train and the distances of the race you are working toward and follow the training times. I felt like an idiot on the first few weeks with the low times they suggested, but the ramping up, the planned rest days and the scheduled bricks worked perfectly.



    Now I race, I finish and I improve every season.



    AND I am not always in pain.



    Go to for great swim info and for great running info. They both have books and videos for triathletes.



    Good Luck.






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