Overtraining Full Recovery

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  • #54933

    I made the classic training mistake of not paying attention to several back to back days of dead legs. I did take it easy and really reduced volume, but them I had a big goal planned for the weekend and went ahead and did it anyways. Even halfway through the effort I could tell I had messed up. My legs had no spring to them and by the time I got back to the car they were done.

    Looking back at my training log, I realized that I was probably feeling signs of overtraining the week before and that I had way overdone it with the weekend effort. That next week my legs were totally dead and I had trouble climbing the stairs short flights of stairs.

    I stopped all training and rested for three weeks until my legs felt recovered– no longer had trouble climbing stairs and they had their spring back.

    Over the past two weeks I’ve slowly reintroduced short and easy aerobic efforts and it seemed like things were going well. My legs weren’t going back to that dead-state, and it felt like I was recovering.

    However, the past two nights I’ve had serious trouble sleeping. I’ll wake up at 2am, be wide-awake and not be able to go back to sleep for 3-4 hours. I’m worried that even though my legs feel okay, the poor sleep is a sign that I’m not as recovered as I thought.

    My question is when you’ve over-trained, how do you know when you’re fully recovered enough to begin to pick it back up again? Going solely how by my legs feel, I feel good, but it seems like I might be missing something.

  • Moderator
    Thomas Summer, MD on #54934


    I think you did a great job and stopped to dig your hole deeper very early!
    How you describe it, it sounds to me that the overtraining was not too severe and you did a good job with resting. Looks like you are feeling good now in your daily life and with training!? If sleeping is the only problem now, I would question if it is still from too much training. Poor sleep can have many causes.
    I would continue to build easy volume. Monitor how you feel. But don’t worry too much;-)


    trinity124 on #54938

    Thanks Thomas! Just what I needed to hear!

    Anonymous on #54941

    I agree with Thomas. It sounds like you recovered well and did the right thing.

    A general rule of thumb is one short, easy day of training for each day that you were off. So if you were sedentary for three weeks, it will probably take at least that long before you start feeling “back in the game.”

    sgw on #54985

    Sorry for a bit of thread-hijacking, I don’t have a real answer here but want to share an experience I had last week (and I also try to determine if and when it’s over):

    after a winter with ~5 months of doing the running training for a 50k (out of the book), with up to 80k per week, lately my activities focussed more on sportsclimbing, some road cycling and runs inbetween, some trailruns, and/or speedy hikes. So less mileage in running, but still quite active.

    Last week I did a hike up a local mountain, ~15k/1200vert/2:56h … quite nice IMO, as I was only 12mins in Z3, the rest below. Felt fit, had the feeling that I was in control. Fast, but not racing, ran downhill the last half (to make it below 3hrs …): nice. No issues after, did some stretching in the evening. Next day climbing, good also, not especially tired or so. It was hot, so I came home in the afternoon, took a nap, and in the evening I decided to do an EASY run of around 8k flat, and hop into the river on my way back.

    Did so: after 6k down to the river, went in for ~10 mins, then (without drying: no towel) returned home. Later some stretching, felt a bit stiff, but no pain or so.

    At 3am in the morning I wake up with pain in my right knee, could’t find a position to fall asleep again. Over the next hours also my left ankle started hurting, so I basically had issues standing up and walking that day. I can’t remember a specific accident or any twisting or something … very strange. It took 3 days of rest to get this back down, tried easy cycling for a test and to loosen up things. I still feel a rest of that in my ankle, the knee is silent again …

    I can’t remember such a “delayed” reaction, does someone have an idea what my body went through here? For sure I somehow did too much, at least that’s my explanation.

    Now I am warned in a way and take it easy. High temperatures help to keep the ball low, did some cycling in the morning to test and recreate.

    And a swim in the evening, just too cool down and regenerate.

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