We interrupt my regularly scheduled Running 101 blog post to bring you some fun stuff from this last weekend and a discussion that I think we all need to take a minute to stop and have.
Obviously we’re going to start with the fun portion. This weekend I went in to Philly to meet-up with some girls that I met on the Internet. Scandalous, I know. But actually, these girls are amazing. I have been getting together with them at least once a month for the past couple of months to do a workout and grab some brunch. What started out as 25 girls meeting in a random training center on the border of Pennsylvania has quickly grown to over 100 girls getting together in a massive gym to get our sweat on.
I went in a day early to help set-up and run some errands ie. getting massive balloons filled and stuffed into my car. Insane size of balloons documented below.
And after a long night ballooning and finishing up some last minute surprises for the next day, some girls and I had a sleepover which was more fun than I’ve had in a long time.
And finally, the day came where I got to workout with 100+ amazing girls and sweat to my hearts content which was beyond awesome. I can’t even begin to explain how much fun it is to get together and do this. I’m a firm believer that working out with friends is 1,000,000x better than working out alone. Nothing like suffering together to really make you push yourself.
I loved the workout and was so sweaty by the end, but I hadn’t burned all that many calories. Usually, this would have me going to the gym to finish up my workout later and make sure it really “counted”, but I didn’t do this this time because I’m really trying to catch myself and stop overtraining.
I’ll be the first to tell you I have a semi-addictive personality. When I do something, I do it all or nothing and that is no different with working out. There can also be intense pressure to make sure you keep up with your workouts and keep pushing yourself with the advent of social media. Just because someone went to the gym for two hours today and burned 1000 calories does not mean that you do too! And you know what, they’re probably doing more harm then good.
This brings me to the topic of overtraining. Overtraining is when a person has decreased performance when a certain level or training load exceeds their capacity for recovery. So basically, your body is working too hard and stressing itself out too much to full recover and make advancements.
Every time you work out, you’re stressing your system and making tiny tears in your muscles. The longer you workout and the higher the intensity, the more you need to repair those muscles after. If your muscles don’t get a chance to heal and repair, you risk injury and creating muscle imbalances because of it.
So, what are some symptoms of overtraining? Muscle fatigue, injury, change in sleep patterns, elevated resting heart rate (this is a good way to track it. If you have a HR monitor, track your resting heart rate over a couple of days and see if anything is out of wack), lowered immune system (never get sick and now you’re always feeling under the weather? alert.alert. you’re probably overtraining), mood swings/irritability, hormone imbalances, increased water retention, and burnout.
These aren’t all the systems in the world, but these are some good ones to be aware of. The main take away is that you don’t have to train hard every single day of the week. More often than not this can be more detrimental than anything. Listen to your body and for the love of God, take a rest day.
If you do not take a rest day at least once a week, you’re doing it wrong. I don’t care how much you feel you need that extra workout, you don’t. You need time for your muscles to heal if you want them to get stronger. It’s just a fact. Give yourself that break, take a breather, and you will come back swinging even stronger.