"If you undertrain, you may not finish, but if you overtrain, you may not start."
This quote from ultramarathoner Stan Jensen really nails the dangers of overtraining. Many runners, especially marathoners-in-training, worry that they're not doing enough to be prepared for their race. But, by running too many miles at too much intensity, runners put themselves at a high risk for an overuse injury, which can jeopardize their race.
Here are some tips on how to avoid overtraining and make sure you get to that starting line:
- Increase your mileage gradually. Don't let your weekly mileage increase by more than 10%.
- Try to give yourself periodic "rest weeks" by dropping your mileage by 50% every fourth week.
- After a hard run, take a day off. Rest days are important for your recovery and performance.
- Add some cross-training activities to your schedule. Doing activities other than running prevents boredom, works different muscles, and can give your running muscles and joints a break.