Cross training and over training (Read 1161 times)

    Hi all, I've been off running for several months last year because of a foot injury. I started running again December 1st. One of my resolutions for this year was to do a bit less running and cross-train quite a bit. I'm trying to do three runs a week, two five milers and one longer run which I'm starting around 6 miles and increasing every week. At the same time, I'm doing two 1 hour swim sessions and one 1 hour spinning session. And I plan to always take one rest day a week. I'm currently very motivated and enjoying the variety. When I used to just run, I would monitor my mileage to avoid injury. Now with the variety of activities, I can workout much more with less stress on a specific part of my body. I think that this and the fact that I'm training other antagonist muscles reduces my chances of injury. However, I worry that I can eventually become a victim of over training. If I sum up my workouts, they currently add up to almost 6 hours of aerobic exercise and I probably will progress past 6 hours within a few weeks. I wonder if with this amount of exercise I'm at risk of over training, or if the over training cases usually happen with much more exercise. Also, you often hear "listen to your body". In the case of over training, what should I listen to? I do feel tired after a workout and sometimes the next morning, how do you differentiate that with symptoms of over training? Thanks, - R
      I'm certainly no expert in this, but I did quite a bit of cross training over the summer in addition to 4 runs-2 or 3 swims, 1 or 2 bikes.....I definitely think it wore me out. Some of my swim sessions were simple recovery swims for 30 mins or so, but I also took a class that really worked me for 60 mins. I think that the "listen to your body" means that if all of your runs, even with the spacing between them, start feeling like crap, you're working out too much between them. I tried to take at least one day off a week, but wasn't always successful with that. I think maybe taking 2 days off, and doubling up on more days, may have helped me more than what I was doing.

        Crosstraining is something I've enjoyed for about 20 years so far. I'll bike and run (or xc ski) 3-4 days a week and on the alternate days swim and paddle or lift weights. You won't overtrain at 6 hrs a week; I think you'll find you can handle 2-3+ times that if you build up a good base over time. I like alternating different muscle groups day to to because it gives them a chance to rest. My legs were pretty sore from running yesterday but that wasn't an issue swimming today; I felt good in the pool. By tomorrow morning I'll feel psyched about about running again. Overtraining can happen though when you just get drained of energy from too much working out regardless of the kind of workout; you'll know when you feel just tired and unmotivated. Not eating enough right after your workout or not getting enough sleep (my new year resolution to fix) or too much mental stress will slow your recovery too. Have fun!

          How much you can get away with before over training depends a lot on what your body is used to. Many triathletes can train 10 - 20 hours a week at their peak without over training, but it took them a long time to get there. There are plenty of symptoms of overtraining. Here are a couple of them: elevated resting HR, insomnia, frequent colds, muscles that never recover, etc. The cross training is good, but don't forget to recover. It is during recovery that your body adapts to the additional workload. Extra sleep and a balanced diet can help fend off overtraining. Victor

          Oh Mighty Wing

            Listening to your body is a simple as not forcing the issue. For example, friday I ran 10 miles (1st time ever) and saturday planned to go to the gym run 5 on the treadmill. I got 1.2 mi into the run and my whole lower body was sore. So I stopped. I tried a couple other cardio machines but none of them felt any better. At that point I stopped. I figured i might have been able to do some upper body, but clearly my body in need of rest. I think at first you have to go with what feels comfortable and then each week if you feel good try adding a little more.