How do I determine when I've done too much? How do I make sure I don't get overtrained?

What is it? - Overtraining occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual's exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. Progress is ceased and loss of fitness and strength is a possibility.


Who can it happen to? - Anyone at any level however, it occurs more readily in individuals that are simultaneously exposed to other physical and psychological stressors, such as jet lag, ongoing illness, overwork, menstruation, poor nutrition etc.

Symptoms are usually emotional, behavioral and physical.

Warning Signs
1. Increase in heart rate during training or at rest.
2. Decrease in the quality and quantity of sleep
3. Cold and flu like symptoms
4. Dizzyness before, during and/or after physical activity
5. Sudden weight loss due to decrease in appetite
6. Mouth sores and/or sensitive teeth and/or skin blemishes
7. Swollen and tender glands (neck, groin and underarms)
8. Clumsiness, moodiness and irritability

9. Loss of motivation

10. Decrease in sport specific performance


Rest - the longer you have been overtraining the more rest required
Water – drink lots of it

Massage – helps flush and rejuvenate muscles

Cross-Train – must be easy and using off muscle groups

Tips to Avoid Overtraining
1. Follow a training plan and monitor your heart rate
2. Train YOUR schedule. You know your body, do what works for you don’t copy others.
3. Set realistic goals. Be conservative at first.
4. Keep a detailed log book.
5. Eat properly – more natural foods (fruits and vegetables) and less processed food.
6. Sleep – the amount and quality is important do not under estimate sleep.
7. Stress – recognize it, manage it and adjust to it.
8. Stretch, Ice and Massage
9. Get a physical – check iron, calcium and electrolyte levels
10. REST, take an extra day if you need it. Recovery happens during rest.


Reality – endurance training involves fatigue but also requires rest.


Balance is the key.  Follow a progressive training plan and aim for consistent workouts and incorporate a rest week (usually every 2-3 weeks) to allow the body to rejuvenate itself.


JJ Neely is an Associate Coach with NRG Performance Training and can be found training and coaching with the Mississauga Triathlon Club and the Kelso Open Water Swim Club