With a little extra time on your hands, it can be easy to fall into over-training. Running is a great stress release, but it is possible to do too much of it. So how do you avoid fatigue or over-training?
It is important to note when your energy takes a dive during training. There are small things you can do, like eat a snack with high carb levels thirty minutes before a run. Stretching and warming up before a run can also help your muscles from fatiguing in addition to a good cool-down and stretch at the end of a run. Keeping a running journal can help you make sense of your running goals, the time you spend training, and how your body is reacting during and after each run. Over time, you’ll develop a sense of what it looks like to best prepare and cool-down based on your individual needs.
Here’s the thing. Right now we are in a season of extremes. Some of us are extreme couch surfers who need a little extra push back towards our running goals, while others have dived in full force to over-training with the extra time that they have. Neither extreme is optimal. A balance of rest and training must be found in order to hit your goals and stay healthy and fit.
If you are finding that you are over-training here are a few things to change that will help you find your balance.
Sleep as much as you need. If you are working from home, use your lunch break for a nap or your previous commute time to sleep in another ten or twenty minutes. As a runner, sleep is vital. Adequate sleep will help you reach your full potential and achieve optimal performance. Sleep will help you regulate your hunger and boost recovery. All of your training does not happen in running shoes, some of it happens by turning off the alarm and snoozing just a little longer.
If you are struggling to get the sleep you need, read 10 Best Practices to Improve Sleep Quality for Runners.
Don’t run too often
To reach your goals, you want to Run Smart, not more often. It’s important to set goals during this time but those goals need to include recovery time and the reality of the new stresses you are facing.
Everyone reacts differently to stress. Some of us turn to running or working out to manage our stress. Right now, stress is high for many due to COVID-19 and the complications that have come with our new reality. The problem is that overtraining can cause injury and keeping our bodies healthy and strong is essential.
You need to make sure you take care of your body. In addition to your runs and getting plenty of sleep, spend time meditating, and focus on eating healthy, well-balanced meals. Read books about running, listen to podcasts, spend time with your partner and children, do art therapy, write letters, and make phone calls to friends.
Your body needs to take breaks. Listen to it and treat it kindly.