Training too hard?

The Wall Street Journal published an article last week on runners overtraining, <a href="
“>Why Trainers Say, ‘Slow Down.’. It’s a good read for any runner, as it touches on various issues of interest— like 10 percent of endurance athletes are training too hard, excessive training can cause depression and exercise-related anorexia affects nearly half of women in sports such as running.

I had no idea overtraining was such a problem. Frankly I think the article over exaggerates the point a bit — like the tidbit about overtraining being a major reason 25 percent of registered marathon-runners never make it to the starting line — I’d argue undertraining is the biggest factor.

Should I be proud that I will likely never fall into the overtraining category? I don’t know how people have time for that. Between work and a kid, I’ve already got to pencil in a run.

But this line by Lynn Bjorklund (a runner who set the Pikes Peak Marathon record in 1981) struck me:

“The body responds beautifully to the right schedule of training stresses. … You need to stay in that zone of just enough, and that takes a very high tuned and honest appraisal of yourself.”

I want that balance — the happy medium of training to my body’s optimal needs. The article relates an anecdote of a runner enforcing rest days and cross-training weekly as a way to pace.

Training is different on every runner’s body. Outside of injuries, how do you judge if you are training too hard to not enough?

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