How do you know the difference between training well and overtraining?
This is a great question and one that so many athletes struggle with! It is also a question that is multi-faceted and does not have one answer. As a runner and a coach, I have found that one of the best ways to track your training and build confidence in the work you are doing is by working with a coach. Training issues are something I guide my athletes through frequently. By keeping detailed training records and reviewing them as you prepare for your upcoming miles or race, you can work to build up confidence that you have trained sufficiently and don’t need to go into a panic at the last minute and try to squeeze in an extra long run or two and risk injury or fatigue on race day. Athletes, and often runners, imagine that more and harder are always better. But, sticking with a solid training plan helps prepare runners for the distance they are aiming for and hopefully minimizes the risk of injury or burn out.
My specialty as a coach is in helping runners improve their confidence as they prepare for races, longer distances or whatever their personal running goals may be. In my practice, I find my athletes are often plagued by negative self-talk or doubts about their own abilities. This is where I jump in to highlight the way in which self-talk and self-esteem impact athletic performance as well as the overall quality of life. Studies have shown that overtraining increases cortisol and other hormones in the body and lowers overall performance. By having confidence in the miles you have put in and using positive self-talk as doubts arise, athletes are better able to focus on getting in good miles and getting the reward of those miles by integrating those positive feelings into a paradigm of improvement, resilience, and growth. Knowing when to take a day off by listening to your body is an excellent way to prevent the risks of overtraining. But, just like you build your leg muscles and your lungs, you need to build your capacity to listen to your body and be confident in your decisions. Runners get so focused on miles that building the mental stamina often is an afterthought. But, by sharpening your focus on the positive aspects of your training and working to build skills that sharpen your resilience, help you listen to your body and trust your training, you can gain confidence in your training. Ultimately, your mindset, ability to overcome challenges and positive outlook plus a solid and safe training plan are the most important things you bring to a starting line on race day.
For more about my approach to coaching, you can check out my website at innerdriveathlete.com. Come visit me there for a free consultation!