Overtraining in running: 10 symptoms of insufficient recovery

Overtraining in running: 10 symptoms of insufficient recovery

“Recovery is the most important part of training. This is what helps your body become stronger and faster. This is what makes you a better athlete” – it is an opinion of Dan Stanley, a UK athletics trainer. Many athletes of various fitness levels share this point of view. Everyone understands the importance of post-workout recovery, but in practice, we tend to forget about it.

In pursuit of results, victories and personal records, athletes pay more attention to training, trying to make the load more intense and varied. Often the body does not have enough time to recover and starts giving alarming signals.

Symptoms of insufficient recovery in most cases are subjective. Any person should be able to listen to their body and notice all changes.

In this article, we will share 10 most obvious symptoms of insufficient recovery after intense workouts.

Your body signals

  1. Painful sensations in major joints. This pain is usually a sing of prolonged tendon-muscular overload without lack of proper recovery. The symptom is very disturbing and may lead to additional injury.
  2. Aching pain in the muscles at rest may also indicate a lack of recovery. It is not about pleasant fatigue and the feeling of burning muscles immediately after exercise. This refers to prolonged muscle pain or aches. It causes serious discomfort, distracts from daily routine, and interferes with normal sleep.
  3. Inversion of hunger and drinking regime. This sign manifests itself in shifted taste preferences and diet restructuring. The appetite varies greatly: from its complete absence to uncontrolled food intake. All this can also indicate that the body has not recovered well enough and cannot understand what it needs now.
  4. Severe fatigue suggests that a person is under prolonged stress and cannot recover normally. At the beginning of physical activity, drowsiness appears, blood pressure may fall. Power and speed characteristics are significantly reduced. The body is doing its best to stop your activity and get back to rest.
  5. Violated thermoregulation without any disturbing external factors. Typically, body temperature rises in response to ingestion of foreign bodies, viruses or bacteria. When the temperature rises are idiopathic, and there are no symptoms of body intoxication, this is a terrible sign. There may have been prolonged hypoxia of the brain due to prolonged physical exertion, heat stroke or overheating during exercise or competition.
  6. Change in heart rate. It may be the result of chronic, prolonged overtraining and insufficient recovery. Such changes are very dangerous and usually lead to serious consequences.
  7. Sleep disturbance. The reason for this can be a long, inadequate load on the body. Waking up in the morning becomes hard; there is a feeling of drowsiness or weakness during the day. It also may transform into insomnia or anxious sleep.
  8. Headaches. Pain attacks may start in the morning and intensify in the evening. Short-term pains that occur spontaneously at different times of the day can also be alarming. Together with other symptoms described, such pains may indicate insufficient recovery after heavy exertion. In any case, frequent headaches is a possible sign of many diseases and failures in the body, so you should consult a specialist.
  9. Unstable psycho-emotional state. It manifests itself in frequent mood swings for no reason. This is especially noticeable in experienced and professional athletes, who are usually have a stable emotional background. Previously they were able to control emotions, gather their efforts at the right moment and concentrate on the task. However, under the conditions of heavy loads and insufficient recovery, the psychological portrait of such people varies greatly.
  10. Loss of motivation. The reluctance to work out, the lack of interest in sports goals, loss of pleasure from the process of playing sports - all this can speak not about laziness, but about overtraining or insufficient recovery.


In order to avoid such symptoms, it is important to correctly adjust the load and include necessary recovery methods and adequate rest time in the training process.

If you have grown out of light morning jogging, and it’s time to set ambitious sporting goals - this is an occasion to consult a professional coach. Let the specialists create your individual training plan with a reasonable load and control your body systems recovery.

However, even in this case, you may experience the symptoms of insufficient recovery described above. First, tell the coach about it and consult a sports doctor. Sports doctors have enough experience with athlete’s physiology and are able to ask the right questions (about training level, cycle, preparation stage, etc.). They can recommend consultations at specific doctors and provide valuable comments and recommendations.

It is advisable to undergo a full medical examination every 6 months. Monitor the cardiovascular system, hormones, blood composition, watch the level of the lactate threshold, and evaluate the overall body performance.

Today’s sports recovery is almost impossible without additional methods. Every year people improve results, break records, increase the time of their training process - all this affects their physical and psychological condition. Modern methods are designed to help recover before the next workout or after a hard start. Now this industry is actively developing, there are many training techniques in the form of physical therapy including certain muscle groups in the work.

Thus, the body recovers faster and does not reach a state of overtraining. This reduces the risk of injury, heart muscle overload and contributes to the adaptation of the autonomic nervous system. As a result, it leads to performance free of barriers and detrimental effects on the body. Sports improve human health only in case of proper recovery. This way physical activity makes life richer and adorns it with bright victories.

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