how to know if you’re overtraining and an epic philly weekend.

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.


running 101: getting that form down.

Counting down the minutes until this weekend!  So excited because I get to hang out with some of my favorite girls and get our sweat on.  Which is also exactly how I spent last weekend, but I’m not complaining.

I had the privilege of joining two of my friends at City Fitness in Philly for a Thrive Training Class as part of the #MyCityMoves campaign.


The Thrive Training session focused on training to prevent injury while also building functional strength.  We started with 10 minutes of foam rolling and stretching which really helped to activate our muscles and get the synovial fluid going in our joints.  Then we split up into groups and moved on to a series of circuits.  These circuits ranged from box jumps to speed ladder work to push-ups with shoulder taps.  We completed each of these circuits 3 times before moving on to another set of circuits that revolved around goblet squats, overhead presses, and bear crawl taps.

Then came the piece de la resistance: 6 minutes of kettlebell swings where we focused on perfecting our form and making sure we were actually doing the exercise correctly which was a huge help since I had always wondered if I was doing them anything close to what they were actually supposed to look like.  Turns out I wasn’t far off, but good lord was I feeling it the next day.

The coolest part about the workout and the #MyCityMoves campaign in general is that they gave us a MyZone heartrate monitor that tracks your effort level in real time compared to those you are working out with.


Your heart rate is calculated based on your age, height, weight, and effort exerted and it was so motivating to watch your percentage change on the big monitor.  Biggest takeaway for me is that I have a really low resting heartrate.  Like slightly concerning, but I’m not worried about it quite yet.

All in all, it was an awesome workout and I have been wearing my MyZone belt religiously since Saturday.  The best part is that it takes your effort levels and gives you MEPS (MyZone Effort Points) based on how long you are in a particular zone and compares it with your friends.  So, it levels the playing field which is awesome.

I’ve been using my MyZone belt for my runs as well and it’s been super nice to be able to see my HR percentage right there on my phone.  On my Polar and on my Garmin, it will tell me my HR, but won’t tell me what Zone I’m in so I have to calculate it myself.


But you’re probably not here to listen to me blab on about my MyZone belt.  Let’s get down to Running 101 business.  Let’s talk about proper form.

Running is a full body workout.  You’re going to be using more than just your legs and the sooner you realize that, the better.  Your upper body and core play just a big of a role as your legs in running successfully, so let’s break it down:

  • Look straight ahead: You want your gaze to be ahead of you and your neck and shoulders to be relaxed and not tense.  This will keep you more at ease and will make your run more enjoyable.  This also helps your breathing because it creates a good, open airway.
  • Engage your core: Your core is the part of your body that keeps you upright and keeps your body balanced.  It is getting one heck of a workout when you’re running especially if you are running on less stable surfaces like trails.  Make sure you are standing upright with a slight forward lean while maintaining good posture when you’re running.  (Helpful hint: throw in some planks as part of your training, you’ll thank me later)
  • Keep your arms bent and close to your body with relaxed fists. Your arms are really helping you when you’re running even though you may think they’re just along for the ride.  Try and keep your hands loose so that your body isn’t spending energy on making your muscles contract.
  • Try to keep your stride on the shorter side.  No need to prance like a gazelle when you’re running.  Longer strides use up more energy and are less efficient.  Aim for a cadence of 180 (count your right foot strikes for 20 sec. and then multiply by 6).  This will help make sure your stride is the appropriate length.
  • Aim for a midfoot strike. There are many conflicting ideas about how you should land when running, but most experts agree that you should aim for a midfoot strike or landing just below the ball of your foot. I personally tend to land more forward towards my toes and that works for me, but each person is different.  In general, it is good to avoid heel striking or running too forward on your toes as these are both less efficient than the midfoot strike.

Here’s a helpful diagram to give you an idea of what to focus on when you get out there.

  • form


Running form is KEY to getting the most out of your workouts.  Once you figure out the proper way to position yourself, your runs will get much easier and you will avoid injury.