Now the lockdown’s been eased in the UK, and the government says we’re allowed to exercise more than once a day, it’s tempting to run more often and try some runs further afield. Don’t be tempted to overdo it though, there’s a fine line between boosting your running fitness and overtraining.
Overtraining can lower your immune system, disrupt your sleep patterns, upset your hormonal balance leaving you feeling irritable and fatigued, put you at risk of injury, and even affect your running performance.
Here’s how NURVV can help you spot the signs you might be running too much.
Have you seen any spikes in your training?
The best way to increase running mileage is gradually, building up distance over time to give your body chance to adapt to the extra stresses being put on it. Just like you wouldn’t pick up the heaviest weight the first time you hit the gym, you shouldn’t run a marathon on your first ever outing.
Running is a high-impact activity, and suddenly pushing up the volume or upping the intensity and running all your runs at a hard effort, without giving your body time to adjust and recover, can lead to a stint on the injury bench.
Studies show that spikes in training lead to an increased number of athletes reporting pain or injury in the following days and weeks. And NURVV’s resident Biomechanist Dr. Grant Trewartha, says overuse and training errors, like upping your mileage too quickly or doing too many runs at too fast a pace, are the most common causes of injury among runners.
How NURVV can help
Make sure you regularly check your Running Health score. Running Health crunches the data to help you understand how sustainable and healthy your running is.
One of the key metrics, Training Load, will help you strike that delicate balance between increasing your fitness and slipping into overtraining mode.
By looking at your recent running distance in comparison to your typical mileage, Training Load gives you an optimal zone to train in, so you can progress your running gradually and sensibly. It also takes some of the guesswork out by suggesting recommended distances so you can plan your training for the week ahead.
Are you struggling to keep your pace?
Some days running just feels tougher than others, but if you’re regularly finding it hard to hit your stride, it could be a sign you need some extra recovery.
While feeling fatigued during sessions, slowing down, and struggling on runs that usually feel easy could have a number of causes – including an oncoming illness, a lack of sleep, training too hard or running too often at an intense level – it’s generally a sign you need to build some more recovery into your schedule.
Listen to your body and take a rest day, or add some more easy runs to your week. Carrying on training at the same intensity can lead to burnout and put you at increased risk of niggles and injury.
How NURVV can help you spot it
NURVV’s Pace Coach feature helps you hit a target pace by providing coaching on cadence and step length. But it can also be a good tool for discovering changes in pace on one of your regular runs.
Choose one of your past easy runs as a base and then try and run it at the same steady speed. If you’re struggling to keep up with the coaching cues or feel like it’s a harder effort than usual, it could be time to look at your rest and recovery.
Have you noticed changes in your running technique?
It might be tempting to run through the odd ache and niggle to hit your target mileage but if you notice changes in your running technique, it could be an injury warning sign. Pain can make you alter the way you run to lessen discomfort, but anything that changes your technique should be checked out. The more mileage you put through it, the more serious it’s likely to become.
How NURVV can help you spot it
Running Health lets you delve into the data around your running technique.
It looks at the balance between your left and right side as you run, and key elements of your technique, including your cadence – the amount of times your feet hit the ground a minute as you run, and pronation – the rolling motion of the foot as it lands, so you can spot any changes in your running style that could influence your injury risk.
Are you feeling demotivated?
Lost your mojo? Feeling tired or drained? Worried about your pace and times?
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and mental fatigue is a common symptom of overtraining. If you’re feeling tired, it can take some of the joy out of running. And if your mind’s tired, it’s pretty likely your body is as well, which can affect your injury risk and lead to burnout.
Do something that’s relaxing for your mind as well as your body, try a yoga session (make sure it’s an easy relaxing one, rather than anything too strenuous), practice some meditation techniques, go for a gentle walk or treat yourself to a long session on the foam roller.
If you want to work on your running, without the pressure of hitting a certain pace or distance, try some drills that focus on aspects of your technique like cadence or step length instead. Try these options from NURVV’s team of biomechanists.