For most of us, overtraining is not the issue. However, I do see Overtraining Syndrome in folks who are starting an exercise program and who are very enthusiastic initially. Or others who are training for an event such as a marathon.
It’s hard to predict over training because everyone responds differently to exercise. Some common symptoms of overtraining are a washed out feeling or lack of energy, general aches, pain in muscles and joints, insomnia, headaches, increased colds, decreased training capacity, irritability, depression, loss of enthusiasm for the sport, decreased appetite, increased injuries and a compulsive need to exercise.
A simple method to track whether you are overtraining or not is to track your resting heart rate each morning. Any significant increase from the norm may mean that you are not fully recovered. Tracking your Perceived Rate of Exertion is another method. If there is a marked increase, that may be a sign. Wearing a heart rate monitor while exercising can also be helpful to ensure that you are exercising at the optimal intensity.
Keep a Training log of your workouts, heart rates and rate of perceived rate of exertion to monitor your training and notice any symptoms.
Recovery strategies from overtraining include: rest; this is the most beneficial treatment. Take a few days off. Proper hydration and nutrition after workouts which may mean altering your diet. Take time for a sports massage. And try cross training (doing a different mode of exercise) to stimulate other muscles and improve your mental fatigue.
It is important to pay attention to how you are feeling and to understand how your body operates optimally. It is always harder to recover from injuries than to prevent them.
Source: Medicine and Science in Sports Medicine, Congress on Applied research in sports.