What are the Symptoms of Running Overtraining? Recognize the Signs

by Livia von der Heide

If the body is put under too much stress for an extended period of time, or it is not given sufficient time to recover, this can lead to diminished performance in the long run. In the worst case, it can even result in sports injuries. But how can you tell if you’re overtraining

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Regeneration – the key to success

Most recreational runners know that recovery is an important part of training. However, while good in theory, many do not practice it on a regular basis. The first signs of fatigue and overtraining are often ignored, which is a common problem among runners.

Especially when training is going really well, we often want to push even harder and not slow down. Running makes us happy, euphoric and sometimes downright high — this is what makes this hobby so appealing, yet dangerous for the body if taken too far.

There’s a reason that competitive athletes see proper recovery as the key to success. In recreational sports, on the other hand, adequate recovery time is often taken to be less important. Many people have a hard time telling the difference between “a lot” and “too much” training.

Eine Frau läuft die Treppe hinauf

After a long or intense run, hill sprints or intervals, symptoms of fatigue are normal up to a certain degree. They can even be a welcome sign that you did everything right. But how can you tell if you’re at risk of overtraining?

Overtraining — the possible warning signs:

  • extended muscle soreness
  • slower and less complete recovery
  • legs feel heavy and tired
  • persistent fatigue
  • increased irritability and moodiness
  • depressive moods
  • loss of motivation
  • changes in appetite (more or less)
  • performance plateau or decline
  • problems falling and staying asleep
  • increased need for sleep
  • elevated resting heart rate

If you notice five or more of these running overtraining symptoms, you should try taking a 10-day break from training. You might also want to think about whether you can optimize your training plan in terms of recovery times and whether you should take it a little easier in general for a while.

Try these foam roller exercises for post-run recovery:

Your condition hasn’t improved much?

Then we recommend seeing a doctor. You shouldn’t take running overtraining symptoms or fatigue lightly: you are at a much higher risk of injury when your body is exhausted. And an injury can often mean having to take an even longer break from training than squeezing in a short rest day here and there.  

Our tip:

Do you want to train and recover according to a plan, but not alone? Join the running network of adidas Runners: use their wide range of training options to get through the running season injury-free and prepare for next year’s personal bests in the off-season.



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