So let's take a look at this warning signs of over-training:
- Exercise performance - you stop improving or start declining in performance
- Increased rate of perceived effort - your workouts just feel tougher and not because you are going faster, longer, or stronger
- Increased fatigue
- Increased moodiness or agitation levels
- You aren't sleeping well
- Your appetite is waning
- Your motivation is lacking
- You feel depressed
- Your muscles feel sore and don't seem to be recovering with rest
- Elevated resting heart rate - If you have a Fitbit like me, this is easy to monitor but in itself, it is not a good clue. I'll get back to that later.
That goes for most of these signs. In themselves they do not mean you are indeed over-training. They can be signs of other things. Like depression.
The popular signs of depression are:
- Excessive fatigue
- You are easily irritated
- Your sleep is disrupted with you sleeping more....or less
- Your eating is disrupted and you may lose your appetite or turn to carbs for support
- You feel achy
- You lose interest in things....kinda like losing motivation
- You may get harder on yourself
- You have problems concentrating
- Things may get messier around you and you don't care
- You feel numb
There is quite an overlap between those two lists, isn't there?
So how do you know what is going on and how to properly interpret what your body is telling you?
This can be tough especially if you do suffer from depression and turn to running and cross training to help keep your depression under control. You see, you don't need to experience all the signs for either over-training or depression to be present. Just some of them. And the one that seems most grounded on actual metrics, resting heart rate, does vary especially for women along with their menstrual cycle.
But you can still look at the trends and try to discern what is going on. Perhaps give yourself a rest day or two and see if you are feeling better...or worse. If you feel refreshed, then over-training was probably your issue. If you aren't bouncing back, perhaps it is leaning more towards depression but this isn't 100%. Nothing in life is guaranteed but I strongly suggest if you are feeling in the rut and a couple of rest days isn't helping, check in with your doctor. They are in the best position to guide you and help you. And on that note, I am a strong proponent of annual physicals and monitoring your blood panel.