Running Too Much? Complete Guide to Symptoms, Causes & More
More and more research suggests that there may be a point where running starts to hamper your health. But is this the case with running too much? Can it affect your health in the long term?
In this article, we discuss how much science suggests we should do. We also help you understand the signs and symptoms of running too much.
So, how can you prevent this from happening? And what is the ideal amount of running you should do each week? Continue reading to find out more.
Running Too Much – Complete Guide
Even though increasing your mileage usually improves your fitness and results, pushing things too much can often result in physical and mental health issues.
Even though the red line of running too much can vary between people, everyone has a breaking point. Generally, runners push training to the limit in hope of reaching slightly below the threshold level of injury and fatigue.
Being able to handle the training load just below this red line is one way to see maximum results and fitness. However, this limit differs between people, as people’s fitness levels, body, and background are different.
Someone that has been running for years will be able to handle more running (or training load) than someone new to the sport.
However, it is not easy to define what someone’s red line is.
So this is where science comes into play. According to the University of South Carolina, the average runner only logs around 20 miles per week. This includes recovery days and runs that are no more than 1 hour in duration.
While this may seem low for the average competitive runner, the Heart and European Heart Journal reported that people that ran more than 20 miles in a week were more likely to die sooner than those who run less.
However, when it comes to overtraining the runners that log more than 20 miles per week can usually push the level between volume and recovery more than a less experienced runner. However, bear in mind that other factors like running style, and lifestyle can also play a part in all of this. Regardless of how much you run.
Running Too Much Symptoms
Overtraining symptoms differ from runner to runner, but the key is to pay attention to your own body and listen to what it’s telling you.
Typically, overtraining symptoms differ from person to person. However, there are some common signs that you may be running too much. These include:
Most people that are doing too much running, will at some point experience some of the above symptoms. However, one thing most have in common is the drop in fitness, even when you are training more. This is largely due to the fact that the body hasn’t time to recover properly, which can result in fatigue and loss of form.
Other factors like resting heart rate with increase and sleep will be affected for some people. Alternatively, others may be dealing with recurring injuries and fatigue. Either way, these are all sure signs that you are training too much, paired with not enough recovery.
However, most people that experience this will bounce back with some week’s rest and they will see their form return to normal. However, if you push the line too close between training and recovery, you may end up with chronic fatigue or more serious overtraining that can put you out for months.
Injuries From Running Too Much – What Should You Know?
Unfortunately, if you run too much you aren’t guaranteed to pick up a certain injury, as everyone is different. Some people may not experience injuries at all, but experience fatigue and muscle soreness instead. However, most people that do too much will end up with an overuse injury. Some of the most common injuries from running too much include:
– Stress fractures
– Shin splints
– Plantar fasciitis
– PFPS (Runner’s knee)
– Achilles tendonitis
– Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome
Most of the above injuries are from overuse. However, poor running technique or the wrong shoes can also play a part in it.
If you are experiencing any of the above injuries it is important to rest and recover. You have pushed the body past the red line, and it needs to recover. However, this is not always bad, as you will learn to understand how much training your body can handle. this is important when it comes to building your training plan for the season.
If you are someone that consistently ends up injured or fatigued, talk to a qualified running coach. they can help decipher your past training and see if the increase in mileage or intensity is causing an issue, or if it is something else.
How Many Miles Should I Run A Week To Stay Healthy?
If you are not a competitive runner and do this for health reasons, there should be no reason why you need to clock 100-mile weeks (or anything near that).
One research paper found that out of 52,000 runners tracked over 30 years showed they had a 19 percent lower death risk. However, the previous study we quoted, showed that people that ran more than 20 miles a week saw these gains diminish. Meaning that running more than that each week, ends up being actually worse for you.
The same study found that the sweet spot ended up around the 18-19 miles per week number. They also found that the average speed of this was between six to seven miles per hour.
However, that doesn’t mean they only ran a few days a week to hit the 20 miles per week, their runs were actually spread across 3-4 seasons per week. Showing that most of these people ran around 5 miles during each run.
Over the past 30 years, runners that followed these guidelines have generally gained the most health benefits from running. The death rate also dropped by 25% according to the journal Medicine & Science in Sport and Exercise.