Would This Be Overtraining?

by Matthew Muenzer
(Nanuet NY)

I am a senior in high school who has participated in cross country, swimming, and spring track for 5 years. Swim season has just started this winter. Our practices are normally 2 hours long for 5-6 days a week.

Would it be too much if I threw in some 15-20 minute runs before some practices along with some strength training such as squats, push-ups, core work, pull ups...etc.

I am wondering if I should add these run and strength sessions because I want to be in decent running shape when spring track starts.

Is all of this too much? Also I will be sure to adequately refuel and recover in between workouts.

Intelligent Triathlon Training replies

There is not a specific amount of training that results in overtraining. It depends on what you as an individual can cope with. Some people can cope well with training every day of the week for many weeks with only the occasional day off/easy days, whereas others would end up in an overtrained state quite quickly.

As you allude to, the key is ensuring you refuel well after training sessions and keep an eye on your recovery. Also key is how you balance your training load – in other words the intensity and volume of your sessions.

training adaptation cycle

On paper, swimming 2 hours, 5 – 6 days a week with the addition of a few short runs and some weight sessions is not likely to result in over training.

However it will depend on the intensity of the sessions you are doing and how well you balance your sessions.

If you are swimming really hard, high intensity sessions, or completing a very high volume in training every day, and then add in some hard runs (even if they are only short) plus heavy weights, you are likely to get tired pretty quickly.

This in itself is not a problem, if you then have a week or so of easier training. To recover. However if you didn’t ease up, this could lead to you becoming overtrained. Also, if you to have a week or 2 completely off because you were so tired, this would not make for effective training in the long term.

So, in short you need to carefully plan your training.

I suggest when planning where to add in your running and weights, you look at how tired each swimming session will make you feel, and adjust what else you do that day/week, accordingly. Also if your main focus is swimming, don’t do a really hard weights session the evening before an important swim session.

So for example, do an easy 20 minute run after a hard swim session, or do a harder weights session after an easier technical or aerobic swim session.

Bear in mind that swimmers tend to be more susceptible to stress fractures and stress responses in the lower limbs when starting running as their bones are not conditioned to impact. However if you have been doing running training before you should be OK, but you should still build your running volume up slowly.

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Nov 21, 2013
Much appreciated!
by: Matt

Thank you so much this was very helpful!

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