What happens when you overtrain?
Look out for your body’s warning signs, says Rob Kemp
Overtraining is common among endurance runners,” explains Dr Andrew Murray, consultant in Sport and Exercise at University of Edinburgh, and Merrell brand ambassador. “It usually occurs when total volume of running has increased significantly – either by necessity or by training error.” Fortunately, overtraining symptoms are generally easy to spot, and simple to repair.
But in some rare cases they can have devastating consequences. “I’m sure that over-reaching contributed to me being struck down with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) last year,” Rory Coleman, a coach and runner who’s completed over 1000 marathons, tells Trail Running. “Training for and racing in ultras, including the Marathon des Sables, sent my immune system into overdrive. GBS left me paralysed and in constant, agonising pain. Today I’m on the mend, but the syndrome is also nicknamed ‘Getting Better Slowly’,” says Coleman. “I’m up and running again, but not fully ‘cured’, and I value recovery and do all I can to avoid overtraining now.”