people are always talking about being carefull not to overtrain, and the amount of exercise someone can manage safely and effectively varies from person to person. But i have found that trying to get good milage in for the swim, bike and run, plus time in the gym (weights), it all adds up and there is a lot of training time per week, I havent got a problem with this, and i actually quite enjoy it, but i cant help but think that its not being that beneficial to me, or i'm very close to injury through overtraining. What would you guys say are the symptoms/signs are which let you know you need to do less?
I mentioned in another discussion to schedule in recovery weeks where you cut your workouts in half for that week. One sign of overtraining is a change in sleep pattern such as the inability to fall asleep at night. I've found as I increase my training I want to sleep more. It's pretty much routine for me to go out on a long training ride and then come home and take a nice hour or two nap.
From what I have read, the symptoms can be quite subtle--increased fatigue, early exhaustion, lack of expected improvement. The best advice is to be aware of how you feel during, immediately after and in between workouts. Breaking up your workouts can be the easiest way to prevent overtraining and still get the time/miles for each discipline. Running in the morning for 45 min to an hour (or more/less depending on your current level of fitness) and biking in the evening gives your body time to recover from one workout before starting another. Early in the season, keep your brick workouts front loaded (e.g. a long bike followed by a short run). I know it is tough to find time for a short nap after work, but 30-60 minutes of sleep/deep relaxation before your second workout can do wonders for recovery. And as always, be sure to have some carbs and a little protein within 30 min of ending a workout--if you don't give your body the nutrients it needs to recover, it will take them from places you don't want to lose (i.e. muscle).
Remember that your workouts don't make you stronger. Done properly, they stress your body enough to tell it to build more muscle, blood supply, etc during the recovery periods. Deprive your body of the recovery periods and all your efforts will be wasted.
The best and easiest way to tell if you are over training is through the use of a HRM. I can tell with my Polar 720i day to day what my average HR is. I download the data daily to my PC - If I put together too many hard days it show up pretty clear, telling me my HR is higher than it should be in a daily run for example. Seeing that it is maybe 4-5 beats higher, and I am maybe 20 seconds slower on my daily 9-mile run is a sign that I need a recovery run the following day.
Train smarter - not harder.
What would you guys say are the symptoms/signs are which let you know you need to do less?
How's this for another simple answer: You haven't yet reached the point of being overtrained. Maybe you are one of the genetically gifted folks who can put in long miles and not suffer too many of the ill effects. Or maybe you aren't training at a high enough intensity. I would say that if you are still enjoying your training, you're probably not overtrained.