The Mistakes that Lead to Overtraining and How to Avoid Them

Hi guys! Remember how I talked about treating acute injuries? Now it’s time to have a look at injuries caused by overtraining, those that come sneaking just when you think you’re doing great.

2016-Anne here. I’ve dug out another post from a long time ago, that deserves some airtime on this blog too. Here we go:

Unlike acute injuries, which occurs suddenly – often when tissue is placed under more stress than it can handle in an isolated event, overtraining occurs when tissue is repeatedly placed under more stress than it can tolerate. This can be from many small acute injuries below your pain threshold that your body didn’t have time to recover from.

By the time you are able to feel the pain, the injury has already been there for a while, and the pain will continue to increase gradually if you don’t react. Often you will start to feel the pain after your workout, then if you don’t rest and treat the injury, the pain will start to stay for a longer period of time. You’ll start to feel pain even at rest, but it goes away when you’ve warmed up, just to come back afterwards. If you haven’t already, this is usually a good time to seek professional help.

What goes wrong? The typical explanations

To put it short: overtraining happens when you do too much too soon.

Here’re some of the explanations that physiotherapists, doctors and other people treating overtraining injuries hear again and again.

From the beginner

The beginner’s problem is often that they think ‘No pain, no gain‘. Yes, it is normal to get sore when you start out, but you should get less and less sore after each workout. For beginners the quality of their gear might also be a problem; not everybody is going to buy a brand new set of running shoes that fits their running style if they are not sure they are going to keep running.

Your motto should be:

No mild discomfort and decreasing soreness after working out, no gain!

(I hope this catches on)

From the average active person

The average active person is over the beginner soreness and has been exercising for a couple of months, maybe more.

They’re starting to see results: they’re able to run faster or lift more.

And now they want more.

They increase the  intensity, duration, or frequency faster than they should. It can also be from practising with a friend or in a group, and wanting to keep up with them instead of listening to their body.

From the ambitious fitness enthusiast

The fitness enthusiast is no newbie – they’re full of ambitions and goals.

They could be  training towards their first race, a bikini fitness competition or similar. They found a program online or made it themselves.

And they’re sticking to it because they are determined to get results.

Sounds great, right? Well, not when they forget to listen to their body. Sometimes your body needs more rest than you planned. Sometimes things you can’t control (trouble sleeping, getting sick, family or relationship trouble, stress at work) affects your body, and you need more rest. Ignoring this can lead to serious overtraining, and can take a long time to recover from.

You might not relate to any of the above-mentioned types – you might not enjoy exercising enough to ever come close to overtraining, or maybe you risk doing it another way. But the thing about overtraining is you might not release that you’ve fallen into the trap before it’s too late. Knowing these common pitfalls will put you in a better position to avoid overtraining in the future.

You can’t think away an injury – but it’s important to think about why you got injured.

I’ll admit that I belong in last category, or at least I used to. I really love training. If I could spend all my days running  and throwing weights around, I’d be so happy. But I can’t – my body can’t (so instead I spend most of my time thinking, reading and writing about fitness – at least until I recover ).

Mind over body doesn’t always apply.

You can’t think away an injury – but it’s important to think about why you got injured.

What went wrong?

Did your body send you signs you should have listened to?

Have you ever had an overtraining injury? What made you realise something was wrong? Let me know in the comments below!

Take care of yourself,

Gif that says lots of love, Anne xx


  1. Christian Neergaard and Bente Andersen (red.): Sportsskader – Forebyggelse, behandling og genoptræning. (Munksgaard 2008)

Since you made it to the end, you may as well follow me on Instagram – but their algorithm is a bit of a mystery, so you can sign up to the newsletter to not miss out on the best posts! ✨

The Mistakes that Lead to Overtraining and How to Avoid ThemThe Mistakes that Lead to Overtraining and How to Avoid Them
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.