Friday, February 15, 2013

Over Training v. Exercise Addiction

Keep that healthy love of running

The other night as I was falling asleep, you know the best time to think, I started thinking about my week and wondering how I would fit in my speedwork run on Wednesday with everything else. I normally run while O is in pre-school but had volunteered to help in class and naptime was out due to a meeting about a potential job opportunity. I started thinking about all possibilities and how Thursday might also be a tough day to fit the run in. I was getting anxious and all of a sudden I had this moment of "is something wrong with me? can I not workout?" Here I am only 4 weeks in marathon training that will be the main focus for the next 8ish months and I am already anxious.

"Am I over training?" or "Am I addicted to exercise?" Is that a real thing? So I starting searching Medline and sure enough it is. The two are very different things but both with complications.

Over Training
According to Pfitzinger over training happens when you workout too hard too frequently not allowing your body time to recover resulting in decreased performance.

Signs of over training which can vary per person

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Frequent colds
  • Increased resting heart rate
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased racing performance
  • Slow recovery
  • Loss of enjoyment from running (or sport)
How can you identify over training? Rest for 3-5 days, eat properly and see if fatigue improves with no signs of illness. A second method is to monitor the resting heart rate, if the resting heart rate (taken first thing in the morning) is 5+ beats higher then normal this may be an indication of over training.

How to prevent and recover? Work to listen to your body and reestablish the healthy pattern. Look at you nutrition, hydration and sleep patterns and make sure they are adequate. You may need to cut back on intensity or quantity. 

Exercise Addiction
The literature is lacking but is out there and agrees this is rare, the main point is exercise has crossed the line from healthy commitment to unhealthy which alters and negatively impacts all other aspects of one's life: social, physical, financial, medical. The motivation tends to be more intrinsic and lack of exercise can result in extreme withdrawal symptoms (Terry, 2003). 

6 questions to identify possible exercise addiction I'm not sure I agree with all of these...Each are rated 1 (strongly disagree) -5 (strongly agree) There is a lack of agreement on what the results mean, but this can give a brief screening to determine possible problems. (Source)
  1. Exercise is the most important thing in my life. 
  2. Conflicts have arisen between me and my family and/or my partner about the amount of exercise I do.
  3. I use exercise as a way of changing my mood (e.g. to get a buzz, to escape, feel different etc.)
  4. Over time I have increased the amount of exercise I do in a day.
  5. If I have to miss an exercise session I feel moody and irritable.
  6. If I cut down the amount of exercise I do, and then start again, I always end up exercising as often as I did before.
Look at # 3- haven't we all done this? You are stressed or upset and a run provides the time to think and improve your moods. #4- isn't this going to be yes? I can't imagine anyone who is training and wouldn't somewhat meet this. #5 - Maybe not one workout but any runner who has ever been injured knows this feeling all too well! 

How to keep exercise healthy:
  • Make it a part of your life but not the focus
  • Be okay with skipping a workout for a fun social event
  • Have other interests besides exercise
  • Let yourself eat the indulgent foods
  • As always listen to your body and stay healthy
With all this I think my anxiety was a slight moment of being overwhelmed with the craziness of this week. I currently feel better then I have in a long time and don't feel over training is a concern. I am happy and loving where I am and what I see in the future. I am enjoying my days home and learning to be a SAHM. Yes I have over trained in the past (more then I want to admit) and have experienced much of the symptoms and frustration.

Remember running (and exercise) is our gift to enjoy and share with others, keep that joy alive
RUN!
Source

Happy Friday everyone and have a great weekend. Any fun weekend plans? Stay healthy and enjoy the run! Don't forget to enter the ENERGYbits Giveaway which ends today. Linking up for Fitness Friday






26 comments:

  1. Oh yes some of those addictive qualities I definitely have lol! But I know I am in the healthy range of it. Great post Jen!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too, it is such a range! I found some of the questions unrealistic to someone training since it is such a huge piece of life.

      Delete
  2. It can be hard though - if you've mentally committed to a training plan, deviating can be stressful! I don't think of it as addiction per se, just my natural inclination to follow through. Especially because running makes me feel better, worrying where I can fit in my me time does stress me sometimes :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, training does take focus and makes up a piece of who you are. I don't think these are qualities of addiction like they suggest but I guess it all depends on how far it reaches.

      Delete
  3. I had to just take a down week to ensure my body was getting some proper rest! Also .. Totally agree that running is a gift Nd we should respect it as such! This weekend I'm going to a fundraiser dinner with a prom theme and get to dress up in an old prom dress!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a fun event, have fun! Not sure I'd want to be seen in my old prom dress :)

      Delete
  4. I love this -- I needed a down week (2 actually) after my marathon and I was thankful for it. Life is meant to enjoy -- and running + CrossFit make it way more fun! Gifts we get to enjoy :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have yet to try CrossFit but would love to give it a shot, sounds like a fun, great workout :)

      Delete
  5. Great reminders! I know I have a tendency to overtrain, especially with goals I am working on right now. Coming off a series of injuries which forced me to cut back a little the past few months has opened my eyes to changing my habits and adding more rest and cross training in 2013!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is unfortunately the injuries that make us look at what needs to change. Glad you figured it out and have a great 2013 :)

      Delete
  6. Important reminders, Jen. It's always good to put running in perspective and make sure our training is not taking over family, social life, etc... but it becomes a tough balance when in marathon training! Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does become a tough balance at times but I think as long as that balance isn't always focused against family, etc then things are fine. We all know the need for training focus at times :)

      Delete
  7. Not addicted the exercise as an end of means, for sure, anymore anyways. Much, much smarter with aging, injuries, overtraining times and simply life:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Overtraining and age do make us smarter. I used to run hard 7 days a week and thought noting of the connection between that and many injuries, but am now a little smarter :)

      Delete
  8. Wow! I think I hit almost all of the signs of exercise addiction. But what if exercise is your therapy? ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right! Running is my therapy too, I guess we just fall on the "safe" end of the spectrum. Not sure I think those are the best questions.

      Delete
  9. I guess there's a fine line between exercising to stay off anti-depressants and exercise addiction. Luckily I like rest days (and beer) and it only takes a few miles a few times a week to stay sane. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like my wine so I figure I am safe :)

      Delete
  10. I learned the hard way about over training when I first started running. Occasionally, #s 3 and 5 still creep up on me :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it does to many of us, we think we are doing the right thing then all of a sudden learn we did too much and suffer.

      Delete
  11. I never knew that about the resting heart rate. Very interesting. I'm not so sure I agree with the questions for the exercise addiction either. At one time or another I could answer yes to most any of them. If you're training for some sort of event, it's hard not too. And,yeah, why wouldn't you use exercise to give you a pick me up?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right, isn't changing your mood one of the reasons to get out to run? At least that is my coping method for stress

      Delete
  12. Awesome post, there was a time when I was seriously obsessed. Luckily I was able to work myself away from that! Thanks for sharing this great reminder on what signs to look out for, really helpful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great job listening to yourself and backing down :)

      Delete
  13. I have experienced 2, 3, 4, 5 at certain points in my life. I would say every runner has used running to change a mood and has gotten cranky when they have to miss a run. I bet the people who determined this test aren't runners:) Great post Jen!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true! I think this is another case of research being done by those who don't fully understand!

      Delete