Possibly one of the worst words to hear for a runner, overtraining is the most common causative agent for athletic injuries. It is estimated that roughly 61 percent of all runners will stumble upon the dark phase of overtraining a minimum of one time during their careers. Now the question on most minds is what exactly is overtraining, how do you spot it and what can you do to prevent it from happening?

What is Over Training?

Overtraining is not as physical an injury like one might suspect. There hardly exists a scale of measurement that tells you exactly how far you’ve over trained and how bad the consequences are going to be. Overtraining, or what some might like to call ‘the overtraining syndrome’ is essentially a plateau or in some cases, a sharp decline in a runner’s performance once the athletes body reaches or is pushed beyond its capacity to endure rigorous physical movement.

The word over training in itself is a bit of a misnomer, for it implies that this condition might have something to do with a runner’s training, where in fact the problem lies not in the runner’s training but the runner’s body. Physiologically speaking, overtraining occurs when the muscles of the body fail to adapt and fully recover from the damage endured during training. This leads to a hormone induced rebellion causing the nervous system to go into a stressed state.

How Do You Identify Over Training?

The phenomenon of over training has been labeled a syndrome, rather than one specific ailment. Which means, overtraining is essentially a collection of various kinds of indications instead of a single specified sign. When viewed in isolation, no particular symptom necessarily indicates overtraining. However, a collection of symptoms just might be the warning you need to slow yourself down a little.

There are no definitive test(s) that are able to pinpoint and identify over training. Doctors, researchers, and overall running enthusiasts have identified over a hundred various symptoms of the overtraining syndrome. There are physical symptoms, as well as psychological or emotional symptoms that categorize overtraining in athletes. Here is a list of the common symptoms to look out for while training:

Physical Symptoms
  • Sudden decline and constant poor performance times during training sessions
  • Easy fatigue and exhaustion
  • Alarmingly elevated heart rate and palpitations
  • Consistent feeling of tiredness and lethargy
  • Aching or sore muscles – most common
  • Persistent stiffness in muscles
  • Dehydration
  • Recurrent headaches
  • Loss of weight
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of libido
  • Lack of sleep
  • Frequent upper respiratory infections or cold and flu
  • Generalized clumsiness or lack of coordination and balance
Psychological Symptoms
  • Severe lack of motivation and enthusiasm to run
  • Terrible mood swings with consistent, unshakeable irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Social isolation

This Is Where ChiRunning Comes In

Chi Running is a running technique devised specifically to ensure that your training is smooth, pain and injury free. While regular running techniques focus solely on speed, Chi Running focuses on running methodology that makes sure your race is lighter, less stressful before it builds on gaining distance and momentum. Chi Running allows a runner to maintain a lighter stance, which decreases the gravitational pull on the body, as well as reducing the load on the legs. A mid-foot strike, a solidly strengthened core and a lean stance of the body decreases the weight that falls on the kneecaps, hence enabling the runner to maintain a proper biomechanical base.

A runner that is aware of their capabilities and limits works efficiently towards improving their technique first. So to avoid overtraining, here’s what we suggest. Train differently. Try the Chi Running technique and work towards improving the mechanics of your footfall and stride. Then focus on your breathing and balance. When you feel you have that in control, steer your training towards distance and speed training.


When your body is unable to keep up with what your mind wishes to accomplish, you suffer from a setback as severe as the overtraining syndrome. So relax, take it easy, train continuously, but prepare effectively. If you are one of those runners verging on the edge of overexerting yourself, it’s time to stop, reflect and maybe give ChiRunning a chance. It’s a tried and tested technique, who knows, it might even work for you.