ORA Physical Therapy: Avoid Overtraining for Your Next Race

ORA Keeley

The Quad-City Times Bix 7 is just around the corner. Whether you are participating in this race or plan on signing up for a different fun run this year, it always feels exciting to hit the ground running and dive into a training regimen. However, even the strongest athletes can experience a few setbacks.

While runners can get into trouble if they do not train enough before the race, it can be equally problematic to overtrain. We spoke with ORA Physical Therapist, Keeley Knobloch, to learn more about how you can achieve your running goals and look out for symptoms of overtraining before you arrive at the starting line.

A healthy balance is the key to a successful training program.

“When preparing for your race, no matter the distance, dedicating yourself to a training program is critical to your success,” shares Keeley. “However, too much training can be just as harmful to your muscles, joints, and state of mind.”FM Keeley

Keeley notes that like with any training program, the goal of your workout should be to condition your body in a healthy way so that you continue to build and strengthen your muscles as you train. Overdoing it may hurt your progress and even force you to put your training on pause.

“It is important to remember that you do not improve your running or get stronger simply because you train,” explains Keeley. “Athletes get stronger by eating right, getting an appropriate amount of sleep, and allowing their muscles time to recover. A healthy balance is vital to your success.”

Keeley reminds her patients that resting is as necessary as training, explaining when you push your body to its limit you may experience fatigue and increase your risk of injury. If you do not know if you are training too hard, Keeley shares a few signs to look out for as you approach your next race.

Warning Signs for Overtraining

  • Prolonged Muscle Soreness: As you train, it is natural to experience sore muscles and body aches. However, if your pain is persistent, progressively intensifies, or feels focused on one specific joint or muscle group, it is most likely a symptom of an overtraining injury.
  • Fatigue and Sleep Patterns: Exhaustion after a long run comes with the territory of race training, but extreme tiredness throughout your day may be a sign to slow down and let your body recover. Similarly, difficulty sleeping through the night is another issue. Overrunning can affect your circadian rhythm, which disrupts a healthy sleep cycle.
  • Increased Heart Rate: If notice your heart rate feels too high as you remain at rest, the amplified stress you are feeling may be a reaction to overtraining. Monitor your resting heart rate during training. A standard resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute.
  • Mood Changes. If you feel discouraged with your training or start to dread your daily run, it may be a good time to take a break. Take a day off to rest or adjust your regimen. Instead of running, try cycling or swimming to keep your body active and your energy levels up until you are ready to hit the pavement again.

If you begin to experience one or more of these symptoms as you train for your next race, your body may be telling you that you are doing too much too soon. “Remember to balance your race training with rest, proper hydration, and healthy eating,” shares Keeley. “Giving your body the time it needs to recover will benefit your training and allow you to move forward without increasing your risk of injury.”

If you experience a sports injury or have continued symptoms of overuse, the sports medicine and physical therapy specialists at ORA Orthopedics are here to help. From diagnosis through recovery, our goal is to help you quickly return to your favorite physical activities at top performance levels.

For more ORA Health Tips, click here.

ORA Keeley
In cases of injury, Keeley shares that taping may help runners reduce pain and continue to exercise while their injury heals.