Over-training is the most common cause of poor performance, a common cause of injury and the most common training mistake.
Over-training is doing too much too soon. To think that you must have increased your workout or mileage is misunderstanding the term. You can over-train at any level of activity.
Training is conditioning your body to stress or exercise. Stress must be regular enough and strong enough to stimulate adaptations. If you are exercising too strongly or frequently you are over-training.
Rest is the phase during which adaptation takes place, and it is just as important as your workout.
To Avoid Over-training
Use the following techniques to avoid over-training.
1. Hard Day/Easy Day
Instead of doing the same workout each day, vary your routine. It takes 48 hours to adapt to (recover from) exercise.
2. The Four 10's
These guidelines may seem conservative, but they are based on sound training principles.
a. Establish a 10-week training base of endurance work before doing any competition, speed work or all-out efforts.
b. Increase by 10% per week. That means if you're running 30 miles a week, increase to 33.
c. Think in terms of a 10-year plan. It takes years for your body to adapt and achieve the most it is capable of.
d. Make only 10% of your weekly training plan speed work or competition.
3. Morning Resting Pulse
When you wake up, rest in bed for 5 minutes, then take your pulse. Any day your pulse is up you haven't adapted to your previous day. Take it easy, or take a day off.
4. Massage and Bodywork
Massage and bodywork when applied by a professionally trained massage therapist, reduces the severity of injuries, reduces recovery time, and, when used regularly, actually decreases the likelihood of injury.